Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider’s JoyMasher On Dev Nightmares And Changing Direction
To learn more about what inspired the game and how its development went, along with the overall role and influence of retro gaming in modern culture, we spoke with lead developer Danilo Dias and producer Thaís Weiller of Joymasher for a short talk on the end of the studio. effort.
Image: Arcade Crew
Nintendo Life: What were your influences for Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider?
Danilo Dias: The direct influences for this game are titles like Mega Man Zero, Strider and Shinobi. It’s definitely a ninja-centric game, so there’s a lot of Hagana from the Super Nintendo as well. In terms of style, there is a lot of influence from Japanese Tokusatsu, such as Kamen Rider and Kamen Rider Black. These were a big deal in Brazil when I was a kid, so there are plenty of them in Moonrider as well.
What challenges did you face while developing the game?
Danilo: We changed the game a lot during development, it was originally meant to be more linear, like Dracula X. We wanted to change the game to have a more open style like Mega Man Zero, so you can choose the order of the stages that you want to play. This was a challenge because you have to rethink many aspects of the game.
Originally, it wasn’t meant to include so many weapons, so during development, we had to change everything and put in new skills and weapons. This caused us quite a bit of stress!
Thaís Weiller: Yeah, the game was working in the first prototype and we thought “hey, this could be cool with more stages”, and then you actually put in more stages and think “hmm, maybe not so good! “. When you already have the stages in place, it’s incredibly stressful to change the main game again. I forgot about that, thanks for reminding me of that nightmare!
Danilo: Yes, we had to change the level layout a lot along with the mechanics, but we thought the original idea was too simple, so we changed it to be more open.
Image: Arcade Crew
How did you approach the design for the boss characters?
Danilo: Well, the idea for the bosses was to try to create Moonrider-like characters who are basically guardians themselves. The idea was that each boss had different abilities like in Mega Man and then you would gain these abilities when you beat them.
You’ve focused a lot on action games so far. Would you be open to branching out into other genres in the future, like RPGs for example?
Thaís: I don’t know about the RPG, but we’re definitely thinking about what we can work on next. We’re always looking to experiment, and right now Danilo is currently experimenting with 3D visuals, both from PlayStation and N64. We’re not just pixel artists, we’re just 20 years behind everything else!
What role do you think retro games play in 2023? Why do you think they remain so popular?
Danilo: I think it became more of an art style than anything else.
Thaís: Yes, it became an art style and a genre of its own. Retro games had a lot of restrictions applied to them, so they had to be fairer and more direct and that makes for a more immediate and direct experience.
We prefer to make short games that can be replayed many times over longer experiences. There aren’t many things in our games that get in the way of gameplay, like crafting systems or open worlds; nothing wrong with that, but we wanted to try something different.
Danilo: The idea is to try to simulate the arcade experience that the old games present.
Image: Arcade Crew
Are there any retro games you’re currently playing right now?
Danilo: I am currently replaying the Armored Core series due to the recent announcement of Armored Core VI. I think Armored Core was probably the first game I ever played on the PlayStation, so I’m replaying everything again. I can take inspiration from it for some future projects too, maybe!
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is out now on the Switch eShop. Arcade Crew has confirmed that a physical release is also on the way, but further details are currently unavailable.
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