Blazing Chrome will have players blasting through a robot-controlled wasteland, trying to take back a ruined world for the humans who’ve been beaten down by machine rule. Using an array of firearms that the player can carry all at once and swap between, it aims to offer a tense, short run & gun experience.
Siliconera spoke with Danilo Dias of Joymasher, developers of Blazing Chrome, to learn about the inspirations from classic run & gun games that inspired the look and play of the game, as well as how the developer is making the genre their own.
Blazing Chrome draws clear inspirations from Contra and Metal Slug. What drew you to build your own style incorporating elements from these games?
Danilo Dias of Joymasher, developers of Blazing Chrome – I’m a big fan of the Contra and Metal Slug series’, and I got myself thinking, "I love Contra‘s sense of speed and frenetic style, but I also love Metal Slug’s big mechanical bosses, melee mechanics, and vehicles… Maybe I can do both?" [laughs].
With Odallus and Oniken, you show a deft hand at exploring sidescrollers inspired by classic games. What makes you want to take these genres and styles and create your own?
I’ve grew up playing sidescrollers. It’s kinda funny that, when I was a kid, they became the very definition of "video game" for me. That same feeling still drives me today. This is still my favorite genre of video games.
How did you hope to improve and change the formula for classic sidescrolling shooters with Blazing Chrome?
With Blazing Chrome, my wish is to bring a new challenge to those who liked to play classic run & gun games, and maybe bring this for new a generation of video game players. We hope we can do this not by changing the classic formula, but by keeping it the classic way with some small tweaks as we did in Odallus.
Why let players carry all four of their weapons at once? What did you feel this added to the combat?
This is something I got from Contra: Hard Corps [laughs]. When I was a kid, I freaked out when I first played Hard Corps and noticed that I could keep my weapons. That was amazing, and made a huge difference in the action during gameplay. I did not have to worry about what weapons I could pick or not and didn’t have to worry about getting a bad weapon, instead just concentrating on running and shooting. Also, I was amazed by the fact that each weapon was good at something – it wasn’t just "get the spreader" any more. That’s the kind of feel I want to add in Blazing Chrome.
What thoughts go into designing enemies and bosses you have built for the game?
It’s always a big challenge to create bosses that can be defeated by so many weapons. You can even battle bosses using mech armor, so it’s not an easy task since the player becomes overpowered when using those. We try to stick with multi-pattern bosses – it’s a good way to keep the player on they toes and keep the boss battle interesting.
What do the other elements like satellite robots, biker levels, and ride armors add to the play experience?
I think these elements are important for the variety of the gameplay. Run & gun games are very linear experiences and are sometimes predictable, so these gameplay elements help to break that feeling in order to keep throwing new things at the player. That’s why we prefer to make a short but intense arcade experience, like old Contra games, instead of a long and repetitive game.
How did you work to design the game’s ruined world? How do you build a story using the visuals of the game’s ruined environments?
Making the backgrounds of Blazing Chrome is a real challenge [laughs]. I think the backgrounds are the most time-consuming art assets of the game. I’ve been trying to make everything look ruined and extremely detailed, like the backgrounds of old IREM arcade games like Gun Force 2. I also try to make the backgrounds more realistic using more realistic lighting and toned-down colors, which different from the characters that are more cartoon-based with vivid colors.
Every background tell a story of a world ravaged by years of war. The first stage is a big city destroyed by nuclear bombs – everything is ruined in Terminator style [laughs]. I really like to make post-apocalyptic stuff. It’s my favorite theme =). I also added small touches in some stages. There’s a desert mission where, in the distance, you can see big battleships crashed into the sand. I think this makes the player realize that the war has been happening for quite some time in the world of Blazing Chrome world. Even enemy bases and vehicles show some level of decay.
Shooters are all about feeling tough. How do you carry that feeling over into character design and play?
For the characters we have Mavra, a badass resistance soldier. You can see in her sprite she’s super cool and chewing bubble gum. One of my inspiration for her was Deunan Knute from the Appleseed manga series. The other character is Doyle; he’s a converted enemy soldier. However, he has some style, using a red mohawk hair and rock’n roll attitude. One of my inspirations for him was… Doyle von Frankenstein from the band MISFITS [laughs]. These are the main visual keys that I’ve used to make characters look badass and tough.