Rezzed 2019: Guntastic

Guntastic is a party game for up to four people, and it's all about that high octane action. 

With a focus on fast-paced multiplayer rounds, one-hit-kill weapons and hyper-retro visuals, Guntastic is the perfect party night game. As you're dropped into a small 2D arena with three other players, you must scramble around at the beginning of each round to find any kind of weapon you can use the take out the other parties. This can be anything from rocket launchers to laser firearms.

Italian developer Ludicrous Games is concentrating on its multiplayer appeal, with support for 4-player local and online. Accompanying this are ridiculous character designs that look like they belong in an edgy internet web-series. These include an undead mummy, a monkey and a literal nude streaker.
Guntastic was being shown at London's EGX Rezzed. Here's my interview with Francesco Camarlinghi, one of Ludicrous Games' co-founders.

[Interview begins]

What kind of experience would you say Guntastic is?

We wanted it to be a party game and to also have an arcade feeling. We tried as hard as possible to build a game that's easy to pick up so newcomers can learn the game after only a couple of rounds. We also tried to build a lot of depth into it, so we have a large roster of weapons and power-ups with each one having its own strengths and weaknesses.

We also put a lot of emphasis on the levels themselves. Instead of having a lot of randomly generated content, we only want to have a handful of interesting levels. There will gameplay elements that players can activate to attack each other in creative ways.

It very much feels like a 2D version of fast-paced shooters like Unreal Tournament or Quake, are there any other games that came to mind during development?

I started my games development career by building custom levels for the Unreal Tournament series, and with Guntastic it was very much the same principle. We also looked at other games such as Towerfall Ascension and Metal Slug. It's a mix of those quick gunfights from Metal Slug and the round-based gameplay seen in Towerfall.

We've really got to talk about the character designs. I particularly want to know what happened here [I point to the naked character].

The nudist! That was my colleague Simone's idea. It just came out this way. When we first worked on the characters, we decided not to have a strong common theme for them as we wanted as much creative freedom as possible. That's why you get the naked guy playing against a zombie and a soldier.
So is there any kind of story to it?

No, we wanted the game to feel like an arcade. We decided not to have a story. It's like in the Worms series, nobody knows why the worms fight each other with a nuclear arsenal, but they don't really care.

Is this the first time you've been showing the game at events?

The first time outside of Italy. We've shown this at a few events there but this is the first time abroad.

Have there been any surprises in the way players react to the game?

We had many people playing the game and then coming back again on the same day. They became great at it. We [the developers] played against them and we lost. It was very interesting to see players getting better at the game in such a short time.

What does the release schedule for Guntastic look like?

We'll be releasing in Steam Early Access later this year.

How do you think the game will change during that early access period?

We plan on doing major updates to the game every couple of months. There'll be new content such as new characters, weapons and levels. We hope to have minor releases in between which will focus on fixing bugs and adding smaller features that players ask for. Balancing the game based on community feedback will also be a high priority during this time.

Even after early access, we plan to keep supporting the game for as long as players will continue playing it. We don't like DLC so we're hoping to ship free updates to the game after release.

Thanks for showing me the game, Francesco!

[Interview ends]
Guntastic looked polished from what I played at Rezzed, so it seems the Steam Early Access release may only be a couple of months away. By tapping into the local multiplayer market, there will hopefully be a good audience for this. It plays really smoothly; the matches are quick and chaotic, and while it'll only be on Steam for now, it'd also be perfect for the Switch.

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