Almost a decade before Chaos Code was released, FK Digital was making fighting games for PC like Super Cosplay War Ultra. They also developed a bunch of 3DS games which were published by Arc System Works and Witch & Hero from Circle Entertainment. While these 3DS games were in development, FK Digital continued to work on Chaos Code in house.
How did development for Chaos Code begin? Other than IGS, there aren’t any other 2D action game developers in Taiwan. Most of the studios there focus on 3D games.
Mickey Lin, Producer: Your first question brought back good memories about IGS. Back then when we developed free-to-play games, we would receive messages from experts at IGS who encouraged us and said we would be an upcoming fighting game developer for this generation. The combat games developed by IGS are high quality. We haven’t seen any new games from them for a while, though. When we received their email, they passed down the baton to us as the new combat game developer in Taiwan.
Of course, our goal is to develop combat and fighting games like Chaos Code and I believe that’s also a dream of most people who have seen the golden era of fight games in the 90s. Before we developed Chaos Code, we had made a couple free versus fighting games. Super Cosplay War Ultra (“SCWU”) is one of our better known titles. The experience, technique, and achievement from developing SCWU gave us confidence to start developing Chaos Code. If you have tried our older games, you will see the inspiration from those works in Chaos Code.
We were based in Sydney at the beginning. People said developing a game is difficult and I have to say, it’s even more difficult to develop a game being Asian in a Western country. Everyone has different art styles and it took us a long time to work with these styles and gel them with our designs. After three years, we decided to move back to Taiwan. It took us just one year to accomplish what we needed to do in the three years we worked in Australia.
Four years for a game is a perhaps too long for a non-amateur developer, but this is the first time creating a commercial product. Also, our team was less than 10 people. Speaking of making commercial products, development the game is just the first hurdle. Having a successful launch is the real challenge. I’d better stop here before I go too far off topic. [laughs]
Editor’s Note: IGS, short for International Games System, is developer behind the Journey to the West inspired beat ’em up Oriental Legend for arcades and Constant C for PC.
How did development for the PS3 port begin and what was the toughest part about converting the game to consoles?
It’s our goal to bring Chaos Code to more players. When we decided to port it to consoles, we considered porting it to Xbox 360. However, due to all sorts of problems, we ended up choosing PS3, thanks to SCE Asia’s assistance.
We added new features to the PS3 version such as practice mode and a new character. Adding new features is not that challenging. The real challenge was our lack of experience developing PS3 games. Whenever we had a problem, it brought us back to square one. One of the challenges that I can’t forget also happens to be the funniest one. We didn’t know how to turn on the PS3 development kit and it took us more than a month to solve this problem.
Looking back, Xbox 360 is a platform that’s similar to Windows, which may have better development option for us. [laughs]
Can you tell us about the combo system in Chaos Code?
All games we have developed so far share one thing in common, players can pick up the game really quickly. There aren’t any overly complicated systems or control to learn, but yet the gameplay is still challenging. Chain combo is not a new feature in fighting games and it solves the problem to have players who are at different level to play together. Doesn’t it feel great to just press a few buttons in sequence to launch a combo? It’s all about having fun when you play a game, but not being played by a game. That is a comment we hear a lot nowadays.
Michael Lin, Director: It’s not too difficult to design this kind of system. We wanted to emphasize a smooth execution of a chain combo and its visual impact. Let’s say we press the buttons in the order A-B-C-D. Each button represents a specific action and we assigned the buttons with action as left punch, right kick, followed by right punch and left kick. When we press the buttons in the sequence A-B-C-D to attack, you can see a set of moves that flows and smoothly switches between left and right attacks.
Mickey: There is different requirement to cancel attacks in each game. Michael talked about the action design with alternates between left and right attack. Bravo’s pot comes out of nowhere. Catherine changes her clothes while she’s making a turn. Having a comic style is one of the characteristics of our game.
In the arcade version, Kudlak, the final boss, isn’t playable. How did you adjust Kudlak Sin to make him playable without making him over power the other characters?
Mickey: How did we balance the boss character? We chose the hardest and most time-consuming, but the best way to convey our passion to the players— the Kudlak in the PS3 version (the “Boss”) is not the same as the one in the arcade version. This is a brand new character specially designed for PS3 players called Kudlak Sin.
What we mean by “specially designed” is not about balancing HP or AP, but designing a new character with different attacks. We designed most of Kudlak Sin’s moves after we started developing the PS3 version. Some of the moves are designed only for Kudlak Sin.
The meter above Chaos Gauge shown at the bottom left of this screenshot is Kudlak Sin’s own meter. This is not in the arcade version. Players can choose to play as Boss after they fulfill certain requirements. What’s the difference between Kudlak Sin and Boss? I’ll leave this to players to find out.
Are there any differences between the US version and the release in Asia? Has the translation been improved for the international release?
Mickey: There is no difference in content as we want to present the original Chaos Code to players, but we fixed some bugs found in the Japanese and Asian versions and took player’s comments into consideration. Therefore, we included an index to show players the damage the move or combo makes in practice mode.
Does FK Digital plan on developing more fighting games in the future or expanding Chaos Code as a series?
Mickey: We talk about what kind of games we want to develop all the time in our studio. I like anime a lot, I often dream of turning an anime series into a fighting game. However, it’s not easy to develop one of those games.
Chaos Code is already a bit too much for a team of ten, especially because we developed quite a few of 3DS games while we were working on Chaos Code. Although our other games are not nearly the same scale as Chaos Code, we needed to spend more time on Chaos Code and the workload was really killing us. Knowing that players would play our game was our biggest motivation. We hope we can get a lot of support from fans in the States.
Regarding turning Chaos Code into a series…what do you think?