Why Double Helix Was Picked For Strider And About The PS4/Xbox One Versions

By Spencer . July 30, 2013 . 2:51am


Capcom could have picked a number of developers to handle the new Strider game, but selected Double Helix Games. The Irvine, California based studio is currently working on Killer Instinct and also made Silent Hill: Homecoming, Front Mission Evolved, and some movie tie-ins like Battleship. We asked Andrew Szymanski, Senior Producer, about working with Double Helix and what’s different in Strider for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


Why did you guys pick Double Helix as the studio to develop Strider? I remember you said you met with a lot of different developers for Lost Planet 3, but decided on Spark so you know a lot of different teams.


Andrew Szymanski, Senior Producer: Double Helix, first of all, is a great group of guys and they are highly motivated. Obviously from the consumer’s perspective, it doesn’t matter until the game is out. All I can tell the readers is to check out the gameplay videos. Check out the game when it comes out to see the work, because ultimately the game has to speak for itself. I can tell you that they are the best developers in the world, but if you don’t like what they make it, then there’s no point.


But if you want to know the personal background behind why I chose them, it really comes down to the passion for the IP. We needed somebody who can work very closely with our Osaka team. Our Osaka team is not only comprised of guys who did all of the artwork for Strider 2. They know the franchise in and out. We also have game design gurus in Osaka like the guys who did Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and guys who worked on the original DuckTales games, basically guys who know hard core side-scrollers have been worked with Capcom since late 80s early 90s.


We needed somebody who’s going to be able to take that and bring it into a multi-platform, 2.5D polygonal world. Double Helix had not only the engine tech and the expertise, but also the passion for the project. When they came to us and we said, “Hey, what would you do with the Strider?” They came with just an amazing amount of background research, amazing amount of love. Again, knowing what to pull from the old games, what things to sort of hint at and what homages to put in but also what to make new, and that was just incredibly compelling pitch to get from them.


Couple that with the fact that they are really turning the studio around, I mean they made a big splash at E3 last month with Killer Instinct. And again, I don’t blame anybody for looking at the pedigree and say I’m a little dubious on these guys. They are making a huge effort over the past couple of years to change what their studio does, to change what their studio is known for. Microsoft saw it and saw fit to give them Killer Instinct. We saw it when we originally approached them with Strider. And I’d like to think that both games have shown how much the studio has improved in the past few years.


You personally seem to do that a lot like the way you selected Spark for Lost Planet 3. Are there any studios out there that you see have great potential that’s been underutilized?


AS: I can’t speak to any other studios personally because I need to work with somebody before I can really say that. I mean I visit studios all the time. I talk to them all the time, but it really takes at least a two to three-month concept, kind of a honeymoon phase before you can really say for sure.


I will say this is a general point, I don’t want to discount the developer’s track record. That’s very important. I mean this is how this industry runs and how it builds is you have to establish a track record of making great games. That being said, you also have to throw in a little bit of optimism and skepticism in there as well. You have to take everything with a grain of salt. Just as an individual who has good years and bad years, high points and low points, so also do studios.


Particularly now with the advent of new hardware coming out and the number of studios in the industry sort of shrink, you got a lot more indie guys coming up, but the kind of old-school larger development houses are folding or getting absorbing things like that. A lot of developers out there are trying to reinvent themselves in order to reach the quality bar that they need to because, you know, there is not as many of them left.




Are you thinking about releasing Strider 2 as a PsOne classic or re-releasing some of the old games leading up to the new Strider?


AS: We are definitely looking at what we can do. I can’t make any promises now, but we are looking into it.


How are the PS4 and Xbox One versions different from the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions?


AS: Content-wise they are the same. In terms of the actual levels, enemies, bosses, and all that kind of stuff. What you’re going to see are a lot of graphical improvements. Whether its physics tweaks, resolution tweaks, framerate stuff, particle effects – basically all of the eye candy stuff you’re going to see at a higher level on next-gen. The same thing for PC because our PC version will run on [Direct X] 11.


Is the PC version the same as the PS4 and Xbox One release?


AS: Not exactly the same, but they share a very similar hardware base. With the PC version running DX11 you’re going to see a lot of the same improvements on the PC version, assuming you a video card that supports all of those things.




Why did you skip Wii U since it seems like most of Capcom’s games are on all platforms like DuckTales Remastered or Dungeons & Dragons.


AS: I don’t necessarily make all of the platform decisions. We try to match the right platform to the right title. Sometimes that’s purely a strategy decision. Sometimes it has to do with technology. Sometimes it has to do with the expertise of any given developer. For this game, we started out on PS3, 360, and PC. As we got more information and actual hardware from next-gen, we saw we would be able to leverage those. Given our release timing is soon after launch we decided that would be a good way to bring it to even more people and add in more bells and whistles.


When I remember the arcade game I played way back then, Strider was a lot bigger in comparison and there were these immersive backgrounds.


AS: We have a dynamic camera system. It actually zooms in and out depending on the best approach for any different area. Sometimes it’s scripted sometimes its procedural. Basically, how do we make Strider look badass and how do we make sure you have enough viewpoint of what’s going around you. One of the advantages of going with a 2.5D view opposed to a sprite based system is to have that camera.


If you go back to the gameplay video, the very first 30 seconds or so is a homage to Strider 1. We got the camera way up and he’s as big on the screen as he was on the first one. Then we reach a point after 30 seconds where we pull the camera back and say actually this world is much bigger than you thought and it’s not a linear experience.


The camera is designed to show you what we feel is the best angle for any given section. The opening section is a linear section so we keep you up close to the action to show off Strider’s character model as much as possible. And then when it opens up and there are platforms above you and places to drop down, we pull out a little bit. When you get to the midboss fighting which is a small room with just you and the boss the camera comes in again. For a large scale boss that takes up an entire level, the camera pulls out. If it’s a human size boss that’s a similar scale to Hiryu, the camera zooms in and you have a kind of intimate one on one feel.




You mentioned that Strider moves 8x faster in the upcoming game. The NES and arcade games had tight controls since you’re moving so fast how did you adjust this to make sure the controls are just as responsive?


AS: Speed isn’t directly related to responsiveness. In fact, speed makes it more responsive, so that wasn’t a concern. The concern for us was the faster he moves the more real estate you have to cover. So, you have to make levels that much larger because he can cover so much ground in such a short amount of time. The larger challenge is how do we set things up with the pacing in terms of he’s moving so quickly with platforms, drops, and jumps. When you’re moving at such a breakneck speed you might miss some of that. That has been one of our biggest challenges and what we focused on most.


The speed contributes the responsiveness. It contributes to the feeling of the character because you’re running through mowing down guys, especially in the beginning when it’s mostly cannon fodder guys. That makes you feel like a badass and the game is supposed to make you feel like a badass. We introduce the challenge as you get further along in.


What we showed in the gameplay video is basically the opening couple of minutes of the game. Of course, it has some tweaks unique for the demo. Like some of the powerups in there you won’t get until later on in the full game. For the most part, in terms of the map layout, that is the opening few minutes. The enemies you saw were the cannon fodder, two hits to kill kinds of guys. Later on, even your standard enemies will take multiple hits. But, you also get powerups that make you stronger as well. It’s a constant arms race where the enemies get more powerful, but so does Hiryu as well.


We talked a lot about homages, what’s brand new that we’re never going to see that’s brand new? Tell us more about the stuff that happens in the middle before you get to Grandmaster Meio.


AS: I think the two biggest things that are going to feel brand new, besides the gameplay being a mix of combat and exploration as well as the interconnectedness of the world where you uncover the map as you go along, are going to be the abilities. We’ve talked about the Cypher abilities. There is stuff we haven’t talked about yet that are brand new. There are movement abilities and things that we’ve got that he’s never had in any game previously that totally change how he moves around in space. All I can say is for the readers to look forward to when we can show that to you which won’t be too far away.


Also, the bosses. All of the Strider games have been about completely over the top bosses. Not only over the top in how you fight them, but over the top in their design. Like, who thought of this stuff? We want to take that and bring it back. There are going to be a bunch of bosses like the dragon that we showed briefly in the demo that reference the old ones. That references the Oroboros from the first game and the second game that where it was more Chinese inspired from the Hong Kong level. We’ve got bosses in there that are brand new. The best hint I can give is most people know one of the plot devices in the Strider games is when Meio takes control he establishes his multinational army of generals that you have to fight. We have a nice eccentric cast of characters that we will be showing over the coming months.

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  • Kristoffer Brandberg

    I was about to say “looks like the project is in good hands” but quickly stopped myself cause I do not want to jinx myself saying that like I did with Metroid: The Other M. I’m just gonna sit back quietly, patiently wait and see…

    • darryl scott

      loved other m btw. my most favorite metroid game. but anyways since crapcom sees no one want to support wii u, they want to be followers and hop on that same train. but if devs actully makes games for wii u it would be really really awesome.

      • Solomon_Kano

        You seem to be relatively new around here, so I’d like to ask that you browse our rules. Thanks.


        2. Think before you write: What you say and post on the site has consequences. Comments that generate discussion are encouraged. However, rudeness or flaming are in no way constructive, and should be avoided. Typing a post with insults like “Crapcom” will likely get you banned if you do it more than once..

        • darryl scott

          ahh ok thanks dude I neede to read that ^_^. I’ll think b4 I type next time. just posting my oppion that’s all. didn’t mean to get anyone angry.

          • Solomon_Kano

            It’s cool, man. Thanks for cooperating.

    • Armane

      “Speed isn’t directly related to responsiveness. In fact, speed makes it more responsive, so that wasn’t a concern.”
      I don’t think the project is in good hands myself.

    • Mecha_the_Hedgehog

      Metroid Other M was a pretty good game and Team Ninja did a great job. Sure there were some things that didn’t make the game perfect but what most dont know is that it was the Nintendo half of the developing crew that put in the stuff people complained about.

      But not to totally derail this topic. Your 100% right about this project not being in the right hands

  • Cerzel

    All the passion and motivation in the world is no substitute for ability. And ability is something Double Helix clearly don’t have.

    • Ty Arnold

      Double Helix is the Ed Wood of the video game industry.

  • Thatguy

    I think, reason, why Double Helix was picked for Strider is because Capcom wants easy and quick money and annoy fans. Again :D

  • d19xx

    Ninja Theory was busy. :)

    • VitaminC

      Next thing you know, they will be asking Precursor Games to make a new Darkstalkers.

      • Ergo

        ^It may be the 4:45AM-on-dealine-for-(too many) hours talking, but I found this hilarious.

    • Minos

      Gearbox was busy.

  • AkuLord3

    I’m sorry but this really bugs me sometimes…do big gaming companies just ignore the developers’ past track records? cause Double Helix hasn’t had a good one. It either shows they REALLY don’t care or they have that much faith in them and not like they can’t one day make a good one (cuz despise their usual stuff, its not like they don’t try and aren’t passionate but still), just i just really wonder what goes on in their heads sometimes.

    “Oh let’s not get the reliable ones who would probably do a good on it, NAH let’s just get some guys who have barely done much/haven’t made a game that WOWed people…SMART BUSINESS PLANNING THERE 8DDD.”

    • SiliconNooB

      They really don’t care – think Operation Raccoon City…

  • Namuro

    So…they already have the Osaka team who knows the game ‘in and out’, as well as gurus who specialize in hardcore side-scrollers since the 80s… Yet they went and pick someone outside the company anyway. It’s just that, if we’re talking about reviving the classic, being passionate about a product, and making a challenging game like of the past, wouldn’t it be better to let the old pro handle it?

    I’m not hating the new developer or anything. I just want CAPCOM to make their own games…

    • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro

      It bugs me that Capcom is doing this with three IPs. First we have Devil May Cry by a Western developer (they said they chose them because they liked their cutscenes which has nothing to do with why people liked), then Dead Rising 3 by a Western studio and now Strider by the guys who made Homecoming (because there is “passion”). Next thing we know Megaman X9 will be developed by EA.

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        Wow, I thought Dead Rising was always done by a western studio. I didn’t know the 1st one was done by just Capcom themselves.

        • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro

          Dead Rising 1 was made by an Eastern studio and was aimed to a Western audience. Dead Rising 2 was made by a Western studio but it had Inafune. Dead Rising 3 has no Inafune.

          • MrSirFeatherFang

            Yeah. actually now I’m not sure how to feel about DR3 now lol
            Hopefully Capcom Vancouver still implement Inafune’s developmental techniques (if he ever did work with them like that)

          • Solomon_Kano

            I can’t picture the lack of Inafune drastically changing DR3, when Vancouver were the main force behind 2.

          • MrSirFeatherFang

            I see, I did not know that either.

      • Solomon_Kano

        How you consider Dead Rising 3 in the same league as DmC is evading me, when Vancouver is the team behind DR2 as well. Your point would’ve been better served by Lost Planet 3.

    • LaserVision

      You may have answered your own question. If the Osaka team were as passionate as Double Helix during any of the last 13 years they might’ve made Strider 3 by now. Maybe the guys in Japan would rather work on the projects they’re currently on than make this.

      I think a lot of the posters here need to keep an open mind (probably like asking a fish to walk, I know). It’s not like every sequel Capcom home base has made has been a home run.

      • Ergo

        True enough, but one look at Double Helix’ output since…forever, should send cold chills down your spine since they are *clearly* a third tier developer. (Sorry DH guys, but you are, whether that’s down to lack of talent or that Foundation 9 has decided they’re only going to feed you projects with minimal budgets/timelines, however, I can’t say and, I’m guessing, you’re not going to say, either.)

        (Also: part of having an “open mind” is that you don’t ignore an obviously terrible track record and say “ah, just because everything they’ve done to date has been terrible doesn’t mean they can’t suddenly do complete justice to a game that calls for a high degree of game design precision”. Which is true…except that over here in reality it pretty much *does* mean this when you balance open mindedness with a few dashes of common sense.)

        • LaserVision

          Sure. Fair enough.People do like dogpiling on Capcom though. I’m just saying people should chill out and just wait for the demo before passing judgement on a game that hasn’t come out yet.

  • Minos

    I had some interest on this.

    Great way to make it dissapear.

  • TheHolypopeofgaming

    Whiners will whine. I think the game footage speaks for it self and Strider will be a great game. If you don’t like it and still want Strider there’s Moondiver on XBLA and PSn.

    • Fidelis

      They’re citing legitimate reasons for their concern, all you’re doing is saying it looks like a great game. You shouldn’t dismiss comments with substance if you’re not even going to back up your opinion.

      • TheHolypopeofgaming

        No Developer has a spotless record. Besides most of the complainers are probably much younger than me. I’ve been around. I know a good game when I see it 28 years of Gaming will teach you that.

        • I hope you played Front Mission Evolved, cause they didn´t show that “passion” for the IP, despite the game was looking “nice”.

        • Ferrick

          no developer has a spotless record, yes that is true, nobody is perfect, but when they kept making terrible games like homecoming and Front mission evolved, along with many other movie tie-in games, that’s abit too much

        • Fidelis

          “I know a good game when I see one” and “No developer is perfect”
          These aren’t legitimate reasons at all. Baseless praise and baseless bashing are in essence the same thing.

  • GuyAlpha

    So, it’s not like Double Helix is making this on their own and as mentioned in the article the studio has been making “changes” and are working with the Osaka team. After seeing gameplay of Killer Instinct and this new Strider, I’d say that the “new” Double Helix are doing alright, but not spectacular. I’m still looking forward to this game.

  • Kamille

    Seriously, they need to hire better artists because the art-style of Strider is awfully generic and ugly as hell.

    Looks at Strider’s salaryman shoes! http://storage.siliconera.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Strider_Announce_city_gate_008_tga_jpgcopy.jpg



    • Kalis Konig

      yeah I really don’t like the color scheme mostly. reminds me of MvC3 for some reason.

  • ronin4life

    WiiU Didn’t make sense for reasons.

    Ps4/1 Made sense for Hardware reasons more true of the WiiU than Either of the other two.


    • Farid Belkacemi

      Frankly, it’s as if he didn’t know what to say when the question came out of nowhere.

      • ronin4life

        Yeah, this was hardly an answer… it felt more like he was just saying things remotely related to the question in order to fend it off.

      • Ergo

        Correct. This was an evasive non-answer, and shame on Siliconera for leaving it as is without a follow-up for clarification.

        • Farid Belkacemi

          Hopefully, the follow-up will be in the next interview :)

  • As long as they show more “passion” than the one shown with Front Mission Evolved. I hope they don´t kill another franchise.

  • quasadra

    they say the same thing about Front Misson Evolved too…

  • melbye

    Their reasoning for no WiiU-version makes absolutely no sense

  • kdog254

    The problem that I have with this is the idea that somehow bringing the game to next gen Sony and Microsoft platforms will result in reaching more of a different audience then bringing the game to Wii U, Mac, or Linux. Not saying they can’t bring the game to either PS4 or Xbox One but the reasoning behind porting to the newer generation Microsoft and Sony platforms while trying to justify not bringing it to other companies platforms (in particular Nintendo’s), using their own reasoning, doesn’t add up.

    • Ergo

      There was no reasoning involved in his answer, which is why it doesn’t add up.

  • Didn’t Double Helix also have a lot of passion for that Silent Hill franchise. That went well.

  • BlueTree

    “Speed isn’t directly related to responsiveness. In fact, speed makes it more responsive, so that wasn’t a concern.”

    If it isn’t directly related, how would speed make it more responsive then? These guys aren’t winning me over with their thoughts on the series, much less blatant contradictions of logic these past few interviews.

  • Solomon_Kano

    Our Osaka team is not only comprised of guys who did all of the artwork for Strider 2. […] We also have game design gurus in Osaka like the guys who did Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and guys who worked on the original DuckTales games, basically guys who know hard core side-scrollers have been worked with Capcom since late 80s early 90s.

    This is EXTREMELY reassuring. I’m willing to give DH another shot, but that they’ll be under Osaka actually moves me from cautious optimism to something more like real optimism.

    • Marco Tinè

      Glad you’re reassured, but they did state the involvement of original Capcom staff in the very same moment they announced the game.

      • Solomon_Kano

        I certainly missed that.

  • Eder García

    it seems that Double Helix doesn’t have WiiU dev kits

  • Bobby Jennings

    So wait…what was the exact reason for not developing on Wii-U?

  • kamiboy

    We needed someone cheap who had a demonstrated ability to squeeze one out on a tight budget and limited time constraint. So we turned to the overseas outsourcing ghetto.

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