Never Give Up: Dev Interview
If you’re a fan of the hurts-so-good brutal platforming, get your desktop ready for the upcoming release of NGU on Steam!
When trying to decide what game to play, do you say, “Gee, I sure wish I had something that punished any single misstep with immediate, bloody failure and verbally abused me every step of the way”? If yes, you’re my kind of freakshow, chum, and the upcoming Never Give Up is for you. Created by Tasselfoot and Massive Monster, it’s the latest in a brutal series of high-difficulty platformers that demand quick reflexes or death. Here’s a picture of my best run from Give Up 2!
Awww yeah, that’s the stuff I do like.
After a successful Steam Greenlight campaign, Never Give Up is headed for Windows and Mac desktops everywhere later this year. Naturally, being the first commercial release in a series that found acclaim as free online games meant the developers knew they really were going to have to bring the party. So… how does over 250 levels sound? Boss fights and new enemies galore? The dulcet tonal accompaniments of Egoraptor? Secrets? Surprises? Outfits? Wuss mode?
The most obvious, boring question. Do you have any idea of a ballpark cost people can expect to pay so we can start counting our pennies now?
Tasselfoot: Our original thought on price was $10.00, although we are still not set in stone on it, and might set an initial price at $15.00 instead. It should fall somewhere in that range… but everything is subject to change.
250-plus levels is… a lot, especially for a game so focused on brutal challenge. How do you go about finding that sweet spot in making levels that are hard, but not impossibly so? Do you find yourself discarding many ideas or layouts that turned out to be unreasonable even given the theme of the game?
Tasselfoot: While there are something in the neighborhood of 250 levels in the game, they’re iterative… so only 30 sets were created and built up. Difficulty is always the concern, and to make sure that all players will be able to enjoy the game, regardless of skill level, the game will feature 3 different level sets for each area; a player will only have to complete one and beat the boss to move on. These sets vary greatly in difficulty, with the easy sets taking a skilled gamer ten to thirty minutes to complete, and the hard ones taking hours and hours. However, we felt that even that was not enough to guarantee player success… so the game has a Wuss Mode that enables checkpoints for those players who wish to have a bit of a less frustrating experience. We haven’t discarded many final set layouts, but each one has gone through multiple rounds of back-and-forth to fine tune the curve.
Jay: As Tass says, the iterative nature of the levels, where they slowly ramp up the traps and challenge in the same layout, means that you are effectively training yourself on each set of obstacles through repetition, so that by the last level you are able to pull off some insanely hard stunts with relative ease – making you feel like a total bad ass!
What types of new enemies can we expect to see in here? Are there any that you feel players are going to love to hate in particular?
Tasselfoot: There are tons of new traps to kill players! I feel like the Rhino is our most iconic harbinger of death, and he’s back, of course. We’ve added a few more critters to the game, such as crabs. Each of the six areas has traps unique to it, so that will hopefully keep things entertaining and have players on their ready. We’ve also added some totally new stuff, such as springboards, momentum-retaining portals, and my personal least favorite… bouncing fireballs of doom. However, at the core, spikes, saws, lasers, bullets, and rockets are the backbone of the game.
Jay: Tass is right, it doesn’t get much cooler than mech-rhinos. My personal nemesis is the new killer frog; he’ll blast his tongue out at you and if he catches you he pulls you in to his gaping jaws to devour you like a helpless fly! Brutal.
Is there anything you added in this installment that you’re really excited about? Something you feel that really sets it apart from the original browser games?
Tasselfoot: The bosses are super fun, and hopefully a nice challenging reward for actually completing a set. There are also collectibles throughout the game, unlockable side level sets, unlockable outfits, cutscenes throughout the game by the amazing Jimp, and voice acting by Egoraptor. Not to mention the level editor will be public for the first time. It’s bigger and better in every way, as it has to be. It’s also harder than ever
Jay: Again, I agree with Tass – the bosses will be a real blast and I can’t wait let them loose on people. I’m also really excited to have Egoraptor voicing the project. He has a fantastic sense of humour and hearing him deliver his lines really made me laugh and I know players are going to love it too. It’s awesome to have him on the project. I’m also really excited to feature user generated levels and level sets through the inclusion of the editor. I’m really keen to see what the community will come up with and to be able to share levels made by players on a game you’ve developed will be a real thrill. I know I’m going to suck at them all!
You mentioned that Never Give Up is headed towards consoles somewhere down the line. Is there anything you need to do differently when you’re developing a game that’s intended wind up on multiple devices? Can we expect the console version to have all the same capabilities of the desktop one, such as level creating and sharing?
Jay: This is new ground for us so there will be a lot to learn. It’s hard to say at this stage how easy it will be to include level sharing, but there is no reason to think we couldn’t include a version of the level editor revised for controllers. The game will work fantastically on console, twitch-based platformers are always way better with a gamepad in your hand.
Finally, is there anything you can give us as a little tease to pass along to your fans?
Tasselfoot: That isn’t enough of a tease for the fans?? Don’t we have to leave SOME things a mystery for them to discover? But if I have to leave them with something, it is Rhinobat.
Jay: Prepare to have Egoraptor yell at you – a lot!
Writer: Dora Breckinridge / Dora has been writing about games for the better part of a decade, and playing them for even longer, using the glow of the monitor to keep her warm in the frozen wilds of her native Canada. Her website is here!