Yesterday we featured a new game for the iOS and Android called ShaqDown. If you haven’t experienced the perfect ridiculousness of this game, I suggest you get to it. The fate of the world depends on it!
Everything about ShaqDown is completely absurd and we love absolutely love it. You play the role of the great and powerful Shaq as he tries to save the world from hordes of mutated zombies. I got an opportunity to talk with Creative Director, Long Vo at Hiptic Games about their latest game and how it came to be.
Many people are calling this the unofficial sequel to the SNES classic, Shaq-Fu. Was this your intention going into the game? Or was it more of a tribute to the original?
It’s less of a sequel and moreso a spiritual successor I think. We knew going into this that, because of Shaq Fu’s notoriety in the annals of bad gaming, whatever game we made with Shaq could not be taken seriously. So we decided conceptually, we wanted it to be overly cheesy but play it straight, you know like a bad B movie. ShaqDown isn’t meant to be a serious fighting game(like Shaq Fu), but it is one that emulates the rhythm and cadence of a fighting game. We treated Shaq like a character out of Street fighter or Fist of the North Star, a larger than life hero type and just took it from there.
The back-story for this game is completely ridiculous, but in the best kind of way. What was the creative process like when you were working on storyboards?
Well, we knew going into it that we wanted it to have a Mad Max vibe(the grandaddy of all post apocalyptic movies) — and we all know that Fist of the North Star heavily borrowed from that, so there’s a nod to Kenshiro in the intro of the game as well. Most of the creative process was spent on the mutant zombie designs. We wanted the designs to inform the gameplay, so we toyed with the notion that the zombies would all start from the same place and be able to mutate into something larger. The coolest part about that is that all of the Mutant Zombie sprites have animations that morph into each other. So you can actually go from a standard zombie into an unstable zombie into an armored zombie and back and forth. If you purchase the Lee Kemp Assist Attack, you can actually revert all enemies onscreen back to standard zombies.
The art style is for the game is very reminiscent of modern anime. How did this affect the gameplay and storytelling in ShaqDown?
Well, Anime tends to be over-the-top by nature, so it was a perfect fit for the game.
If you could summarize this entire game into one sentence, what would it be?
How about 4 words? “SHAQ ATTACK!(and zombies)”
Are you familiar with the outrageous Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden series? Was this any inspiration for the modern Shaq game?
Haha. I actually discovered them while researching more on Shaq Fu. While it wasn’t necessarily an inspiration, I can see how both games being overly dramatic is part of the fun of the game.
The game looks really good and plays well. What are your favorite things about Shaqdown?
Thanks! I think my favorite parts of Shaqdown are the combo system and the rhythm of knocking out zombies. There was a point in development when we clearly defined spawn positions for the zombies and then it sort of felt like the rhythm of chaining a combo together. After a while, your muscle memory kicks in and you can kind of play the game by instinct. Of course, there is a little bit of randomness in it, which sometimes can throw you off. But if you got the skillz, it won’t matter. 🙂
Really well done post and congrats on the interview! Also thanks for informing me of another game to download on my iPhone!
Thank you very much sir. It was a really cool opportunity to talk with Long. He was very easy to work with, which made the experience fun.
I have to admit, my first reaction on seeing this game was ‘oh God… no…’, but now against all willpower I’m actually intrigued. What have you done!? Well done on the interview, it was well written and a lot of fun to read!
Yeah, I could see why you had your doubts. Shaq hasn’t had the best history with his video game releases. I’m glad you liked the interview. Thanks for checking it out, I had a ton of fun writing it up.
I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now. Long Vo is an awesome guy and actually gave me early access to his previous game GoNinja! for my review. Congrats on the interview with him and awesome job! 😀
Thanks you very much sir! He is a super cool guy. He was really easy to work with and get a hold of. The interview was a lot of fun.