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Shakedown: Hawaii Shakedown: Hawaii


Shakedown: Hawaii Not Directly Inspired by GTA or Hotline Miami: “I Just See the Open-World Genre as a Medium To Build a Story and Game”



With the release of Shakedown: Hawaii coming tomorrow, Vblank Entertainment frontman Brian Provinciano took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions from OnlySP.

For anyone having yet to hear about Shakedown, it is the successor to Retro City Rampage and builds on several of the concepts that made it so successful. Many are calling the game a “GTA-like,” but Vblank Entertainment hopes Shakedown creates a name of its own with its 2D, open-world style.

OnlySP: The story behind Shakedown: Hawaii seems like a hilarious and satirical spin on white-collar crime. Since we know Retro City Rampage also took a humorous approach, do you feel that this is a core value of Vblank as a developer?

Provinciano: I seem to always be drawn to comedy. Even the projects I start as serious or gritty seem to always morph into comedies. I suppose part of it is self-awareness. If anything in the story evokes a genre cliché, I’m compelled to break the wall and just poke fun at that fact.

In the case of Shakedown: Hawaii specifically, comedy was critical and something I spent years refining to hit the right mark. It was important to me that the game came across and playful and tongue-in-cheek because the subject matter could so easily wind up in a darker direction. I set many guidelines for myself, to ensure none of the satire came across as a PSA, a rant, or expositional, because it wasn’t trying to be any of those things but could easily come across as any or all, if not carefully crafted. In the end, there are some parts where the satire is ultimately very subtle, to the degree where some players might blink and miss it. However, it was more important to veer towards subtle than beat the player over the head with something.

OnlySP: Vblank titles seem to have an unintentional way of evoking games of the past through both naming convention and theme. You have said that Retro City Rampage is not meant to be a reference to River City Ransom, and that is surprising. Many eager fans have also started making first-impression comparisons between the look and feel of Shakedown: Hawaii and Hotline Miami. Are there any games that helped inspire Shakedown: Hawaii?

Provinciano: No, I wouldn’t say so. Years of playing and enjoying open-world games are in my DNA, but I didn’t reference and wasn’t inspired by any in its creation. I approached Shakedown as a blank canvas. As I wrote the story satirizing consumer life, the characters and missions simply evolved from there. As I played in the world, ideas for gameplay grew organically. For example, “Wow, shooting a flamethrower from a go-kart is fun! I should try to build a mission around this!”

Grand Theft Auto III‘s impact on the open-world genre and video game industry as a whole can’t be understated. It planted the genre firmly into new territory, and I’d say that GTA III influenced the modern era of gaming as much as Super Mario Bros. influenced the 8- and 16-bit eras. However, at this point, I just see the open-world genre as a medium to build a story and game on top of.

These days, every single top-down 2D game is compared to Hotline, because that’s probably the first top-down game that person played. Retro City Rampage was compared to Hotline as well, but many forget RCR predated it. Similarly, people compare anything with a synth to Hotline, but there are countless subgenres, and the synth in Shakedown is nothing like the synth in Hotline. Much of Shakedown uses FM-style instruments of the 16-bit era, for example.

“I approached Shakedown as a blank canvas. As I wrote the story satirizing consumer life, the characters and missions simply evolved from there.”

OnlySP: Sony stopped making games for the PlayStation Vita in 2015 and ended the production of it entirely just last month. As some might find it ambitious, what made Vblank decide that it was important to release on this handheld?

Provinciano: As a player, I love the Vita. The Vita Slim refined it, and it’s the perfect form-factor to me. I hope to continue supporting it as long as there’s still an audience. The advantage of being a multi-platform developer is that my games can cover their development costs on more viable ones, then just need to cover porting costs when it comes to the other passion ports.

OnlySP: Open-world games are known for providing players with hours of gameplay through exploration and content “on the side.” However, as a 16-bit adventure, did Vblank find it challenging to develop this type of experience?

Provinciano: The main challenge was time. As many years as Shakedown: Hawaii‘s been in development, I could’ve kept working on it forever. There’s so much I’d love to add to the game world, and even though it’s already wrapped, I’m already working on future updates.

The story mode took a large amount of the development time, but I put a lot of effort into the world as well. The hope is that during and even after the story is completed, players will still want to spend countless hours just exploring the world and playing in the sandbox of it all.

OnlySP: If you could give players one piece of advice on how to approach or best enjoy Shakedown: Hawaii come May 7, what would it be?

Provinciano: I’d recommend checking out the gameplay overview trailer to get a quick rundown on the game and everything packed in.

Look out for the release of Shakedown: Hawaii on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita on May 7. A release for the Nintendo 3DS will follow at a later date.

For updates and continued coverage, be sure to follow OnlySP on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

Craig fell in love with video games after being spoiled with all of the NES games he could ever want as a kid, and his passion for gaming continues decades later. After discovering a knack for writing in grade school, the two have come together nicely for him. River City Ransom and Final Fantasy VII are his jams.

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Warhorse Studios Talks Gameplay, Story Details for ‘A Woman’s Lot’ And Looks to the Future – Exclusive Interview



Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Warhorse Studios has been kind enough to answer some burning questions ahead of the upcoming, final DLC for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, ‘A Woman’s Lot’.

With the title entering its second year after release, the response by fans has been mostly positive, as the gritty and punishingly realistic medieval game takes role playing adventure to a new level. Since its release, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has had a multitude of post-launch content added including three story expansions and other, more minor, content add-ons.

The fourth and final expansion, ‘A Woman’s Lot’, which is out next week, is perhaps the most ambitious and creative DLC for the game. In order to learn more about this new adventure, OnlySP got in touch with Warhorse PR manager Tobias Stolz-Zwilling:

OnlySP: Kingdom Come: Deliverance ‘A Woman’s Lot’ marks the fourth and final expansion for the game. However, will there be any further, possibly smaller post-launch content similar to the ‘Treasures of the Past’ maps or the additional voice packs?

Stolz-Zwilling: With “A Woman’s Lot” we are getting close to the end of our DLC roadmap (below). The last mosaic will be the modding tools, however how exactly these will look like is still something we are discussing internally.

OnlySP: Opposed to the other expansions, ‘A Woman’s Lot’ features a new perspective, from the eyes of Theresa. Given that KC:D is a character-driven RPG, it seems to invite new possibilities and limitations, so how will this shift in character affect gameplay in terms of interactions and mechanics?

Stolz-Zwilling: That is correct. The player will be able to relive the moments before/while and after the attack on Skalitz from the perspective of Theresa. Same as Henry in the beginning, she is not skilled in swordfighting. Theresa is more of a stealthy archer when it comes to combat. Then there is Tinker, her loyal dog and a new feature for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, who will of course do everything to protect Teresa.

OnlySP: While we’re talking about Theresa, has adapting the core mechanics to fit her character created any unexpected challenges?

Stolz-Zwilling: Yes, because all animations and models were created for Henry. As Theresa has another set of “bones” (in terms of animations), we had to reshoot most of the motion capture movements and animations to make them fit for Theresa.

OnlySP: The previous three expansions built on Henry’s relationships, skills, and growth within the community of the world of KC:D. Since ‘A Woman’s Lot’ is set during the opening moments of the base game, will players be able to interact with Henry and will there be repercussions from the main game?

Stolz-Zwilling: That is a very good question—and yes! You are very right. Not only will the player meet Henry and his family, but there will also be more interaction with already known characters from Skalitz. But there is even more. In “A Woman’s Lot” there is also a big new questline for Henry as he meets his old friend Johanka in the Sassau Monastery. Johanka has strange visions and the player has to find out what they mean.

OnlySP: Speaking of, exactly how much of the original story will be revisited as part of Theresa’s story arc? And how long might the average player take to play through all of the new content introduced as part of ‘A Woman’s Lot’?

Stolz-Zwilling: It’s less revisiting rather than offering an alternative “timeline”. We all know that Henry fled to Talmberg after the attacks, but how did Theresa manage to survive, and how did she finally save Henry from the Bandits. But in terms of revisiting… the player will interact with Skalitz and its people, before it was attacked. The DLC has three elements, a questline playing as Theresa, a questline playing as Henry, and a new dog companion for the entire game. As this DLC is the biggest, the player can expect something between 10-15 hours of gameplay, however, this heavily depends on the playing style.

OnlySP: ‘A Woman’s Lot’ also introduces a companion mechanic with Theresa’s dog, Tinker. With Tinker able to sniff out enemies, treasure, and other points of interest, will these mechanics be upgradable throughout the DLC.

Stolz-Zwilling: Yes, Henry will get a new RPG skill called “Houndmaster” which determines the “tricks” his dog will be able to perform. However, if you don’t treat your dog well, he can scatter and run away.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

OnlySP: Also, how does Tinker react in terms of combat and travelling? For example, will Tinker be able to keep up once on horseback?

Stolz-Zwilling: The dogs will protect their owner, so whenever you get attacked, they will try to defend you. But you can also proactively send them to attack people. However, the dog counts as your extended arm. So, if you send him to attack innocent people, you will trigger the crime system as if you would attack the person by yourself.

OnlySP: If Tinker should be critically injured or run away from neglect, is the player able to get a new dog?

Stolz-Zwilling: No, the dogs return after a while and join Henry/Theresa again.

OnlySP: While Silver Skalitz will play a large role in this expansion, will the player be able to explore the open world as Theresa or be able to interact with any returning characters previously only encountered as Henry?

Stolz-Zwilling: The player will not be able to roam the world, as Theresa gets her own map within the Kingdom Come: Deliverance map. Once the “timelines” meet again, the player will continue playing as Henry.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

OnlySP: During PAX East 2019, it was said that some of the DLC will be playable as Henry and that he will receive his own dog. Will players be able to name their own dog, and will this be filtered into the main game or will this be solely part of the expansion?

Stolz-Zwilling: No, Henrys dog “Mutt” can’t be renamed, but it’s true that he will follow through the base game (after he gets the dog from Teresa), however the dog is a DLC feature.

OnlySP: It was also recently announced that Kingdom Come: Deliverance Royal Edition as well as ‘A Woman’s Lot’ will be delayed on consoles by several weeks. If you don’t mind us asking, what were the main reasons for this brief delay?

Stolz-Zwilling: Is “production issues” a good enough answer?! 😊

OnlySP: Finally, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has become a huge success with a lot of love still being poured in through quality control and content. Is there anything that the team at Warhorse Studios is excited for in the future or would like to tell fans?

Stolz-Zwilling: To come to an end, actually. Warhorse Studios and the idea of KCD lives since 2011, maybe even a little earlier. To see everything come together, to see the people love and support the game… to see the success of this project makes us really proud. Let’s see what the future brings.

‘A Woman’s Lot’ will be available from May 28 on PC. Meanwhile, console players will have to wait a little longer—June 11, to be exact—to get their hands on the new content.

For more on Kingdom Come: Deliverance and the world of single-player gaming, be sure to bookmark OnlySP and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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