Choice Provisions (creators of the BIT.TRIP games) recently announced that it was getting into publishing. Among the first titles it would be publishing is Neon Deity Games’s bizarre shmup Shutshimi. As the game has already been released on Xbox Live Indie Games and self-published on PC, Choice Provisions will be bringing Shutshimi to PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Steam (for PC), and Wii U. There may be more platforms added to that list too.
With all of this underway, Siliconera caught up with Garret Varrin, Anthony Swinnich, and Wayne Kubiak of Neon Deity to find out more about their odd shooter, and to talk about the new beefier version heading to these new platforms. It’s also revealed how the team came up with Shutshimi’s main character, which is a fish with muscular human arms, by the way.
First off, the obvious question: How did you come up with the main character in Shutshimi? It’s certainly unusual.
Garrett Varrin, programmer: We were designing concepts for an entry to a game jam, and I was sketching out a quick spaceship to begin prototyping for player movement. So I drew a quick ship from memory and put it in, when Wayne (our artist) looked over and thought it was a fish. We started laughing about it and he started looking up references for fish to draw when we stumbled across an image of one with photoshopped arms. Once we were done laughing we decided to give him a gun and run with it.
Is it true that you can customize the fish’s look? How so? I also heard it has lots of guns?
Anthony Swinnich, sound designer: The Fishy’s sprite can be swapped between five different colors at the start of the game. There are also around 40 hats in the game you can unlock during gameplay that can alter how you look, as well as how you play. For instance, you can get a Fat Cat hat that sits on your head and weighs you down. There’s a Viking helmet that increases your shot power, and a tophat that makes of the enemies dress fancy. In addition, there are five different styles of guns (machine gun, laser, mucus launcher, cannonball and shotgun), which upgrade and gain special powers when you get about halfway through the main quest as well.
Are the rest of the characters in the game just as wild? What are the enemies and bosses that we face?
Wayne Kubiak, artist: The Invaders are just as wild. Originally we started off with surfing butts and fish predators (like pelicans and sharks). We’ve since quarantined the butts to their own special mode. The final version has missile firing kittens in subs and reverse mer-people. The bosses, or The Terrors of the Deep as we call them, include a Submarine, a Sea Serpent and a giant Kraken. Defeating them only makes them angrier, and they come back even more dangerous than before.
Could you explain how the fish’s memory problems plays into the game too?
Anthony: The game’s central concept plays around the myth that a goldfish has a 10-second memory, so events are recalled in 10 second chunks. The idea is that The Fishy is retelling the story to the player, but the finer details are kind of fuzzy. Between each round of play is a shop round where you select one of three randomly selected powerups, which are pulled down from a pool of around 100. Some are good, some are bad, but each change the gameplay in a noticeable way. Because of this, every time the story is told, the details change.
You’ve already released Shutshimi on XBLIG and PC. How has it been received on these so far?
Garrett: Reception so far has been great. It’s a strange concept to sell to people, but once they get their hands on the game and dive into the strange world we’ve crafted the insane sense of humor and quick action seem to resonate with them.
Now then, recently you’ve teamed up with Choice Provisions. How much is Choice Provisions helping you out out here?
Wayne: Choice Provisions have been a fantastic partner so far. They’ve brought us to GDC, and have also opened the door for us to appear on Nintendo and Sony platforms. They’re also helping with the game’s transition to Steam. And they’re so damn casual it’s awesome. It’s like working with a Casualsaurus Rex.
You say that you’re making a beefier version of Shutshimi for these new platforms. What are you adding to it?
This version, dubbed the ‘Seriously Swole’ version, has been given the works. Here’s a list of what we added:
- Three new boss fights, bumping the total up to six (effectively doubling the length of the campaign)
- Added two more enemy types and tweaked enemy behavior
- Midway through the game, the five normal weapons upgrade and gain new abilities
- General balance and difficulty tweaking (ex: powerups always correlate to items now, in the previous build they did not)
- Double the amount of powerups
- Double the amount of hats (including appearances from indie games such as Pig Eat Ball and Rainworld)
- 2-4 player local multiplayer has been added
- Online leaderboards
- Trophy/Achievement support
- Stage backgrounds have been entirely upgraded and/or replaced, and have been effectively doubled
- There are twice as many songs in the game
- The option to switch between a 2A03 and a completely upgraded VRC6 soundtrack has been added
- UI upgrades and enhancements
- Customizable controls
Are you doing making any features specifically for the hardware of any of the new platforms, such as the Wii U or PlayStation Vita?
We’re exploring platform specific features and/or functions but we aren’t able to discuss them right now.