When I first saw screenshots of this game I thought that Mev Dinc was up to his old tricks but then realised he’s busy with the current gen Samurai game, so here’s Okinawa Rush from Sokaiken instead! A great looking title I’m sure you’ll agree. I caught up with head dev Steve Miller to get the details.
Your indie project Okinawa Rush has us intrigued. Can you tell us a bit about the game and the story behind the game’s title.
When I first came up with the idea for Okinawa Rush I was playing “speed-run” type games and was really interested in that dynamic (of beating a game or a particular stage in the quickest way possible) so, I set about making my own “time-attack” style game and as an avid fighting-game fan of course it became a brawler!
Each stage will have hidden shortcuts and in the playable demo of Oki there is a section of ground that can be smashed right through; revealing a huge short-cut that skips the Red Ninja mini-boss.
The game has evolved over several years, with a deeper fighting engine than I originally intended. Tekken being a big influence on me; borrowing the “just frame” input; some moves in Oki can become super variations if the command is hit at exactly the right time.
Setting the game in a mythical, fantasy version of Okinawa seemed a natural choice – as the root of Karate and the “wolf and cub” comics and “Shogun Assassin” film influenced the story, to a degree. I have a big interest in martial arts myself, so the moves in-game are fairly authentic!
We plan to have a bunch of real karate kata’s in the game; there are currently only two available in the demo (one of which we invented and is not based on a real set) and these are performed in a “dance off” style mini-game – to boost your character’s stats.
It has a very First Samurai feel (which we love), what retro games inspired you when making the title?
Yes, the Amiga with First Samurai, IK+, GODZ and Moonstone was our favourite system back in the early 90s – along with many arcade games such as Dragon Ninja and Double Dragon.
Streets of Rage, Street Fighter 3 – Third Strike and the Tekken series have all influenced the game in some way.
I wanted to make a fun platform game but with a deep enough fighting engine that will keep people interested in learning new moves or tactics.
You cannot simply “button mash” through the stage on higher belt difficulties. You have to learn the parry (tap toward the danger, in time) and you have to learn which moves are effective in each situation. For example the mae geri (mid, snap-kick) is a guard-breaker – so if the enemy is blocking your attacks you can nullify that!
There is a “double grab” move – if enemies are surrounding you, simply by pushing jump+attack at the same time, smashing their heads together.
Playing on higher belt colours is essential if you want to achieve a high score (scores are uploaded to http://www.okrush.co.uk/hi-scores.htm) – as there is a trade-off between belt colour and how much loot you can receive from the enemies!
I plan to have monthly score tournaments, with possible prizes to the best player to bring back that “arcade”, community feeling of going for the top score!
Where are you based? How many of you are there in your dev team and who does what?
We are based in the south east of the UK with a team of three:
Steven Miller: design, programming, SFX, music, engines.
David Miller: Design, graphics, animation and music.
Gary Angelone: Additional help with website, testing and database programming.
It’s extremely gory for a 16-bit looking title. How do you think Nintendo would have reacted if you pitched it for the SNES back in the 90s?
We remember the controversy when the original Mortal Kombat came out on home systems! Okinawa Rush would have probably been a Mega Drive/Genesis release.
Having said that – there is an option to turn off the blood; this also “tones down” the story segments too (Nintendo would have liked that! – Ed).
But yes, it is a fairly dark game – with lots of death animations and much more to come! (David is currently working on some amazing new boss animations for future stages)
Hiro Yashima (the main protagonist) has a vast array of moves. Do you think the 3-button brigade (myself included) will take to it as easily as today’s 8-button gamer? How does the game achieve that?
That’s a great question and something that I am constantly aware of. The game is actually only two buttons; jump and attack. The basic moves are quite intuitive. Pushing up+attack does a high, juggle attack, down+attack does a low sweep, as you would expect but there are many other commands, similar to Tekken inputs such as f, f, d+attack (dashing uppercut) or d, up +attack (cyclone kick).
Each move has strengths and weaknesses. You cannot just spam one move. For example the headbutt (f, f+attack) is a very powerful crowd-control SMASH move which knocks enemies into each other. However if a projectile (ninja star or such) hits you whilst doing headbutt – it sticks into your head and your life drains faster than if you were simply standing.
Conversely – doing the cyclone kick will actually repel projectiles! However it has a longer animation cooldown and can be ducked.
The boss battles will be very tactical. It’s actually possible to beat the demo-stage boss without being hit if you pick the correct move to “crush” his attacks.
Those that have played the game for any length of time seem to enjoy the depth there!
What platforms do you hope to release the game on and when will the Kickstarter be open? (you can count us in as backers!)
August 1st is the Kickstarter release (at time of writing- but may be pushed back a week).
We will attempt to convert the game to as many platforms as possible, but it depends entirely on how well the KS does. At the very least it will be PC, Mac and Xbox compatible.
What was your favourite console growing up and games to play on it?
Probably the SNES or Amiga (although not technically a console) we never had a Mega Drive – but I was always jealous of my friends who had one due to the Streets of Rage series; I was blown away by those games and I still play SOR2 to this day (on 3DS). I think the art style especially still holds its own all these years later (and I’m sure it’s a big influence on David, along with the all the Bitmap Brothers works, he actually owns the art book they released recently!).
Thanks Steve! We look forward to the game’s release!
Readers, you can check out more about the game and download the demo at www.okrush.co.uk
Follow the game on twitter @okinawarush