If you look at the blood-soaked towers and twisted horned demons of gothic fantasy action platformer Slain! you probably won’t immediately think of anime. Yet, Andrew Gilmour of Wolfbrew Games tells Siliconera that a number of anime has influenced his game.
Take a look at the pixel art of Slain!, study it, and see if you can see any trace of anime in there. If you can guess what specific anime influenced it you deserve a reward of some kind. As this is a game a million miles away from most anime – it’s entrenched in the western gothic.
There are ghouls, vampires, castles, rituals lit by candlelight, and lots and lots of gore. It’s a game about a hulking man called Bathoryn, who attempts to save his homeland by climbing the seven demonic towers that lurch over it with a commanding presence.
Siliconera caught up with Gilmour to find out more about it, delving into his love of Ghosts ‘n Goblins, anime, oil painting, and learning of what the game’s recent switcheroo to Unity means for the platforms it may be released upon.
For those who have never heard of Slain! before, how would you describe it – what’s its shtick?
Slain! is a side scrolling Gothic platformer created using pixel art. It is a throwback to the old days of video games, in art and design.
OK, now, tell us why you wanted to make this particular game – a 2D dark Fantasy, Gothic action platformer?
I love Ghost ‘n Goblins, so I wanted to make a game that had the harsh platforming action of G’n G with a more advanced combat system. Through my career people have always said my art was a little dark, so Gothic seemed like the choice, go with what feels right.
Slain! is very much influenced by music, particularly metal. It also draws from anime like Vampire Hunter D, Berserk, Lodoss Wars, andFullmetal Alchemist.
Let’s talk about the gore. There’s a lot of it in Slain!, especially when Bathoryn is killed, it seems. Why did you decide to put so much red stuff in there? Do you like splatter films, by chance?
Ha! I’m not a big fan of splatter movies. I do, however, like horror movies as a whole. I think one of the best parts of this type of game is killing things and being killed, so there will be lots of ways to kill and be killed. As for the gore, I love animating it! Expect more.
It says on your blog that you paint. What do you tend to paint? Has painting informed Slain!’s designs at all, and how?
Yes, in oils and acrylics. I like to paint abstract and impressionism, which to me is very similar to doing pixel art. In painting, you try to capture as much information and emotion as possible in a single brush stroke, I feel this type of thinking lends itself well to pixel art.
What’s all this about turning into a beast? What’s the benefits of doing this in Slain!, and how frequently will it occur?
Yes, there are tales told of an old lady that can grant the ability to change into beasts, however this can not be confirmed.
The level / world design of Slain! is interesting in that it alternates between horizontal and vertical scrolling. What challenges does this variation provide for us? And can we expect any other variances like these?
There will just be the two types of level in the game. Some of the towers may descend, but that is the only variation. The scrolling levels will be monster slaying slog fests, with some puzzles, lock-in rooms, and the like. The Towers will be platforming puzzle levels with minimal monster slaying.
It says here that Slain! has been ported to Unity. Why did you make this decision and what does Unity bring to the game?
The decision to switch to Unity was made mainly to provide access to the game on more platforms. Unity is also a 3D game engine, so that alone will add some “depth” to Slain! It has its disadvantages, especially because the engine is more complicated, but ultimately Unity offers a lot more control over what happens on screen.
So far you’ve said that Slain! is heading to PC. Any chance it could come to other platforms? How about consoles?
Now that Slain! is being developed in Unity, there is a definite chance it will be available on consoles. We’ve gotten together with Digerati Distribution to help us get the game to a wider audience on both PC and console.
We’re shooting for all the major consoles and are currently working with Microsoft to help bring Slain! to Xbox One.