Bitmap Bureau have spent the last few years bringing quality titles like Xeno Crisis into our lives. Anthony and Adrian once again caught up with Bitmap’s Design Director Mike Tucker to get the lowdown on their recent release Final Vendetta. Check out this trailer and get HYPED.
Good to have you aboard with us again Mike. What’s been cooking over at Bitmap Bureau headquarters?
Hey guys, it’s a pleasure to talk to you again! Well since we last spoke we released a title for modern consoles called “Battle Axe”, which was a joint effort between ourselves and Henk Nieborg this time. We also spent a couple of years developing our latest title, “Final Vendetta” and have taken on more staff so that we can tackle our next projects!
For Bitmap Bureau newcomers, who are you guys and what do you offer to the gaming public?
Most of our team have been involved in the games industry for over 25 years now, so we have a great deal of experience in developing games in multiple genres across just about every significant gaming platform you can think of. In recent years we’ve been developing our titles not only for modern platforms but also retro platforms such as the Sega Mega Drive, Neo Geo and Dreamcast. We like to think of ourselves as specialists in 2D game development working with some of the best pixel artists and musicians around the world to create genuine retro titles with our own personality.
What was the overall response to Xeno Crisis like? And in particular, it being made available on multiple platforms including Mega Drive and Neo Geo?
We had a great response to Xeno Crisis – it was developed purely with the Mega Drive in mind and we think we did a very good job in making it look, sound and play like a top-tier title. Of course we already had modern ports in mind, and the game was very well received on those too.
Tell us about your current project “Final Vendetta”
We’ve tried to add our own touches and flavour to the genre though without deviating too much from what made those classics so engaging. It’s a classic kidnap setup with the protagonists needing to battle their way through the streets of London against the Syndic8 gang.
What inspired you guys to focus on this particular genre?
I’ve been hooked on beat ‘em-ups and versus fighters from a young age having grown up playing titles such as Kung Fu Master, Yie Ar Kung Fu, Target Renegade, Double Dragon etc, so it’s always been a genre that I wanted to tackle.
Developing a beat ‘em-up requires at least a couple of very talented and prolific artists though, and we were lucky enough to come across one such person in the form of Jabir Grant a couple of years ago. Without him the project could never have happened, and he’s done an amazing job in creating not only the characters but also the thousands of frames of animation.
Additionally, being a Neo Geo fan, it surprised me that there was never a truly great beat ‘em-up for the system, with efforts such as Burning Fight being mediocre at best. So we wanted to change that, especially given our recent experience of developing Xeno Crisis for the Neo Geo systems.
How do we get our hands on Final Vendetta?
Final Vendetta is available for Switch, PS5, PS4, Xbox and Steam in three different editions.
And Numskull Games have a list of sites that European customers can order from.
Will it be available on retro consoles as well?
We’ve spent some time working out which other retro consoles Final Vendetta might work on with the obvious one being the Sega Mega Drive, but even that will require us to rework all of the art assets and make some concessions too, so right now we can only confirm that it will be coming to Neo Geo AES and MVS – sadly the Neo Geo CD is out of the question because of the huge number of sprite frames and background art exceeding the system’s memory.
Is there any scope for Final Vendetta DLC?
Yes it certainly could – we’d love the chance to add a new playable character or a new area with new enemies to take on. That’s largely dependent on how well the game is received and how much time we have available, but it’s a possibility. Saying that, we have a lot of ideas that we could put in a sequel! 🙂
What’s next for you and Bitmap Bureau?
Well we’re already working on a couple of new titles but they’re under NDA so we can’t possibly talk about them, but I think it’s safe to say that our audience and indeed retro gamers in general are going to be very surprised and happy at the eventual announcement!
We’re also gradually expanding so that we can take on more projects and potentially more complex games.
Thanks for allowing us to interview you once again, Mike! Any words of wisdom for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
I would say that you need to be extremely dedicated and willing to take a risk to make it in the games industry, particularly as an indie developer. Luck certainly plays a part too, but you have to be persistent (and consistent), as just one or two poor releases can be enough to finish you off as an indie.
Working for a “AAA” or “AA” studio will give you better job security, but you’ll likely be working on a smaller part of a game, and landing a role in the first place is extremely tough as there’s just so much competition.
But if you feel like you’re destined to work in games and can’t get your foot in the door somewhere then making games yourself is certainly worth pursuing – just don’t expect to be an overnight success, and always have a “plan B” in case things don’t work out!
Adrian & Anthony