1. So Jay, first question – what got you into designing games?
Jay: Well I’ve always been a big gamer, as a child I was very ill and suffered from asthma quite badly so I was quite spoilt with games by my parents, I even remember beating castle of illusions in hospital one Christmas.
I think games was also a thing that me and my brother shared an interest in and I remember when we used to play FIFA and be like, why does the AI do certain things? and noticed they wouldn’t really attack unless you were moving with the ball. Weirdly this got me thinking about the mechanics of games and the thought process needed to make games.
2. So for the people that don’t know, what is Gear Gauntlet?
Jay: Gear Gauntlet is a really fast paced 2D action arcade game were reaction time & muscle memory are vital.
You play as a Gear that can boost, teleport, reverse and rotate while breaking through coloured barriers.
Imagine a crazy mix of the original Sonic’s bonus stages, Super Meat Boy without the platforming & Guitar Hero, and your kind of there.
3. Approximately how many people from Drop Dead Interactive are working on Gear Gauntlet?
Jay: There’s myself who does all the coding, producing, and business as it was me who started Drop Dead Interactive. The original concept of Gear Gauntlet was my idea about 6 years ago, back then it was called something else, the name Gear Gauntlet came from Steven Smith’s brain.
Steve helps out with some of design but he knows its my baby so lets me get on with it, I leave him to do the levels on his own free will and he’s been doing an amazing job with it.
We have a long time friend Stephen White who composes all our music, and we currently have Joel Pigou contracted working on all the beautiful hand drawn art in the game, but the core team is myself and Steve.
4. Are you impressed with overall reactions to the announcement that Gear Gauntlet is coming to the Xbox One?
Jay: Ha ha funnily enough just today I googled Gear Gauntlet and saw 2 negative comments, one saying it was yet another platformer which it isn’t and another blowing off the game as they didn’t understand it. Apart from that the reception for the game has been amazing the gamers who have played it have said the game has turned them into addicts and the people who haven’t really dig the art and look of the old gameplay footage they have seen so far. We hope to release some newer material soon and keep up the hype we have been getting for Gear Gauntlet so far. Also to be bringing this game to the Xbox One is a dream come true for myself and Steve as we are hardcore Xbox gamers so it truly feels special to release on our platform of choice, Gear Gauntlet was made for the Xbox One.
5. What inspired you to make a game like Gear Gauntlet? And were there any other games that really inspired you to make a game of the 2D action genre?
Jay: I started playing games that were too easy and felt like they just held the gamers hand the whole way through the experience and to be honest I found it really annoying. Back when I thought up the idea we didn’t have games like Super Meat boy, Fenix Rage, Braid, Super Hexagon N++ and games of that nature, but what we did have which heavily inspired me was Guitar Hero.
Guitar Hero for me was a game that allowed for beginners to get involved but also allowed the player to crank up the skill level and go crazy with it. The colour changing heavily influenced the main mechanic in Gear Gauntlet which is colour switching to break through the barriers. Unlike Guitar Hero where your trying to find the rhythm and the beat etc, Gear Gauntlet just requires quick fingers and good muscle memory, so all those with no rhythm fear not, lol.
6. How long has Gear Gauntlet been in development for?
Jay: This will make the readers lol but the original concept came about 6 years ago and has been an on and off thing with many restarts and abandonment due to my twin daughters being born, getting married, my day job etc. The Gear Gauntlet that we all know and love today (hopefully) has been in development for about 12-13 months; a few evenings here and there as myself and Steve both have full time day jobs.
7. So about how you mentioned that you felt games were too easy – is Gear Gauntlet punishing in difficulty?
Jay: One could look at Gear Gauntlet and think that’s brutal but to be honest when you learn the game which doesn’t take long, (we’ve had 8 year olds play great at this game) you start to learn a pattern to the game and the flow just oozes from your finger tips. What we have tried our best to do is make it so if the player dies they realise it was their fault and in no way does the game cheat them. By doing this, we hope the player will feel confident that they can beat the obstacle with “One more try”.
On top of all that we have a system which we call routes in each gauntlet aka level, where the player has multiple paths they can take to the exit. Of course each path has its own rewards and points to gain so the players efforts will be reflected in the online leaderboards which we think will be a big driver in this game, I mean we have 80+ individual leaderboards for best scores as well as fastest times.
8. Do you have a general release date for when Gear Gauntlet will come to Xbox One via the ID@Xbox program?
Jay: We are aiming for a summer 2015 release, but for us we want to release a game that is polished and will reflect Drop Dead Interactive in a positive light.
9. Do you possibly have any details to share on the game’s current stage in development? 😉
Jay: Its about 70% complete, we’re currently waiting on the art assets balancing levels, getting feedback from testers and just making the game more awesome. I’ve had one previewer ask me why the game wasn’t already out – that it already felt complete but as I said previously we want to make sure everyone feels this is a good solid game.
10. How supportive were Microsoft in bringing your game to the Xbox One?
Jay: Microsoft have been very supportive from the simplest things like retweeting things about Gear Gauntlet to providing great advice on how best to promote our game etc. When you hear statements like all “devs can come see us any time”, they really mean it, I’m in UK so I’m going to see Agostino Simonetta in just over one week.
Will we be seeing more news about Gear Gauntlet relatively soon?
Jay: We will be definitely attending EGX Rezzed as exhibitors in march and we hope to get Gear Gauntlet to as many other shows as possible. Also we are gearing up to release a more up to date teaser trailer and as we get closer to release we will be releasing a fuller trailer featuring some of the new Gauntlets.
Thanks for dedicating time to answer my questions – have a great weekend!
Jay: No problem.
Thanks for reading our interview with CEO of Drop Dead Interactive, Jay Adeloye. You can follow him on Twitter over at @BytesOfChicken, and follow Drop Dead Interactive on Twitter over at @DropDeadInt.