I’ve said much about my trip to EGX in September – and while the exhibition isn’t totally suited to retro gamers one thing it’s excellent for is trying new indie games. The retro-inspired MODSORK instantly caught my eye – so here’s my chat with its creator David Canela so he can tell us all more about it.
David, excellent to have you here at Arcade Attack!
Glad to be here!
Congratulations on getting Modsork greenlit on Steam! Can you tell our readers a little bit about the game and what it entails?
Thanks. MODSORK is an arcade game where you control two abstract dots in an arena, each with one stick from your game pad. Then grumpy geometric shapes start to spawn and you have to dodge them while trying to clothesline them with a laser beam that you can create between your two dots to score. Many game elements are syncronised to the music, which in turn adapts to gameplay events. There will be various game modes, including local co-op.
How did you come up with the idea?
I was playing a lovely game called Brothers: A Tale of two Sons. It’s a completely different kind of experience in most aspects, but it has this control scheme where you move both main protagonists each with one stick. It was challenging to get to grips with these controls, but it also felt very rewarding once I got better at it. So I tried to take these controls and turn them into an arcade game. MODSORK really is all about the controls and the satisfaction of improving your mastery of them.
We love the retro look and feel of the game – it reminds us of games like Defender and Asteroids. What games (if any) have inspired Modsork?
Apart from Brothers, Geometry Wars was also a big influence, as well as Super Hexagon to a lesser degree. Some design principles at the core of the game hark back to older “retro” games. For instance, the game’s progress is tied to the player’s real skill, rather than grinding. It’s also a game that’s not afraid to challenge the players and has faith in their tenacity and ability to persevere.
I had a go on the game when we met at EGX – the two stick control takes a bit of getting used to but is ultimately a lot of fun. What was the general feedback from players about the control system and the game in general?
People generally seem to enjoy the unique controls and the challenges they present. The game can sometimes make you feel like you’re losing control, a bit like Surgeon Simulator, and that can be weirdly amusing both for the players and their friends watching them play. When (if) you manage to regain control, that’s a nice feeling of relief after the preceding tension. There’s of course players that feel put off by the somewhat steep learning curve in the first couple of minutes, or who simply don’t enjoy that kind of game, which is totally fine. I have to admit it’s always very rewarding to see some players struggle at the very beginning but push on and hitting “retry” again and again as they gradually get better and start to pull off cool moves like the various special abilities in the game.
There’s a lot of “clotheslining” in the game – are you a big wrestling fan? And if so, who’s your favourite wrestler?
Hehe, not really, though a rather rustic kind of wrestling is a national sport here in Switzerland. My personal interpretation of what happens in the game is still that two buddies are giving their grumpy friends energy hugs to make them burst with joy. But the term “clotheslining” maybe describes the gameplay in a more understandable fashion.
Of all the gaming expos you’ve been to, which is your favourite?
Gee, that’s a tough one, they all have their charms. For retro gaming and arcade fans I can definitely recommend the Stunfest in Rennes (France, which is taking a break next year). EGX had an amazing line up of indie games in the Rezzed Zone and the Leftfield Collection. A MAZE in Berlin and Screenshake in Antwerp have unique indie flavors.
What’s next in the pipeline for you and can you give us a sneak peek?
In the next couple of months I will get the game ready for Early Access and publish it there at the end of year or in January. That will include a lot of unspectacular work such as game menu functionality, online high scores and just a lot of under-the-hood-preparations so I can keep new features coming at a good pace once it hits Early Access. But there will also be some new content until then, of course.
When do you hope to finish the game and what have been your biggest challenges so far?
My goal is to have a final PC/Mac release for the game in Q3 of 2017. But if everything goes well, that will not be the end of the project and I’ll move on to create console versions and updates.
The biggest (on-going) challenge so far is trying to do so many different things at the same time. Every time I switch from, let’s say, programming to creating audio, to marketing etc., it takes a while to adjust. Also, balancing marketing efforts with development time is difficult, because you really need lots of both, but every time I do a gaming expo, that’s easily a week or more where there’s no development progress at all.
Thanks for your time David! Was great to hear more about MODSORK! Readers, if you want to keep up to date with David’s efforts please keep an eye on the MODSORK official page and follow him on twitter @modsork and facebook here!