Rayne’s stories have been told in many different ways, and WayForward offered a new approach to gameplay with BloodRayne Betrayal in 2011. Now it’s coming back ten years later in 2021 as BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites. To help get a better understanding of the work that went into its revival, Siliconera spoke with WayForward Head of Bizdev and Publishing Adam Tierney about the return.
Jenni Lada, Siliconera: How did work on the BloodRayne: Betrayal Fresh Bites remaster begin?
Adam Tierney, WayForward: Our friends at Ziggurat acquired the rights to the game and brand, and they reached out to WayForward to ask if we’d be interested in updating the game for modern consoles. BloodRayne Betrayal has always been one of our favorite IP licenses from WayForward’s back catalog, so we were immediately intrigued and began discussions with Ziggurat about how we could best update the game for today’s audiences.
How challenging was it to bring it to current consoles? Did you encounter any unexpected issues when preparing it for new platforms?
Tierney: There are two aspects to this—porting and updating. My understanding is that porting the game was relatively straightforward. We assign a few programmers to reopen the source code to the game and begin getting it functional on modern consoles. This isn’t by any means easy, but it’s a common practice for our studio and a relatively straight path. We just need the game to play like it did in the PS3 generation, without any new issues cropping up.
Updating the game, however, is more like an original game production from WayForward since we’re producing new materials to be folded into the existing product. This began as a dialog between WayForward and Ziggurat on what both sides felt we should update, and, ultimately, what changes or additions would create the strongest possible version of the game.
BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites fixes bugs from the original. What were some of the biggest changes?
Tierney: Although the new version of the game did go through the full QA process once again, and, as part of that, we fixed bugs that were new to the ports, as well as some bugs from the original game that might not have ever been addressed, the most notable changes were related to gameplay choices and game design. There were certain areas of the game that we’ve come to be aware of through user feedback over the past decade that were either too difficult for the average user or seemed to be more frustrating than challenging. So we decided to iron out some of those issues.
What led to the new difficulty options and how did you determine what should be changed to make it more or less difficult? Exactly how are enemies and bosses different on the new, more challenging option?
Tierney: There are a few specific areas of the game where a majority of users had difficulty proceeding, such as the speed of a buzz saw that chases Rayne, and some randomized rockets in one of the later stages. In both of these areas, and a few others, we modified the level design to make it easier on players. We also very slightly adjusted Rayne’s damage and health values to be a little more forgiving.
That said, even though we feel that this version of the game will be more enjoyable for the average player, we recognize that others may want the game to play exactly as it did upon its original release. So there’s a toggle on the level select map where players can decide whether to play with or without these modifications.
What led to Laura Bailey and Troy Baker coming back for BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites? How extensive is the voice acting?
Tierney: BloodRayne Betrayal always had a decent amount of character dialog. But since that game was developed before WayForward had experience recording and producing VO on our own, there was no spoken VO for those lines, just text in word bubbles.
With this game, we took all word-bubble dialog and recorded VO for it, with Laura Bailey reprising Rayne for the first time since BloodRayne 2, Troy Baker returning as Kagan, and WayForward VO regulars Patrick Seitz and Todd Haberkorn filling in the remaining roles. All four actors did an incredible job in their performances, especially Laura, who made Rayne sound just as badass and sexy as ever.
And since text dialog was already part of the game’s structure, the addition of audio dialog feels completely natural. In fact, having now played the game with full VO, it’s hard to imagine it without these performances in it.
Is the soundtrack remastered as well?
Tierney: The original soundtrack was recorded for modern (at the time) consoles, which were capable of playing full WAV tracks without limitations. So there wasn’t a need to redo or remaster the music in the game. That Jake Kaufman soundtrack sounds as great as ever!
If WayForward could work on a new BloodRayne game, what would you like to do next?
Tierney: A big part of WayForward working on the Fresh Bites update was to establish a relationship with Ziggurat so that when it’s time for BloodRayne 4, there’s no question which developer should be creating it. I think a new BloodRayne game by WayForward would be somewhat of an extension from Betrayal, with 2D action/platforming gameplay, whether or not the visuals remain 2D, go 3D, or use some hybrid of the two. I think a new game would have a much deeper dive on unique environments, enemies, and story beats.
Although Betrayal did well in all those areas, our studio expertise has grown immensely since then, and I think we could take all the elements of Betrayal to the next level with a brand-new adventure for Rayne developed for the current generation of consoles.
That said, if you want to see that game, buy BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites when it’s released! The success of previous titles very directly impacts our ability to make new games in the series.
BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites will come to the Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC on September 9, 2021. The original version appeared on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.