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Blood will be Spilled
A spaghetti-western-themed 2D action platformer taking place in a world inhabited by insects. A story of revenge, gunsmoke and chitin.
Blood will be Spilled is a spaghetti-western-themed 2D action platformer taking place in a world inhabited by insects. You follow the story of Jack, a mosquito gunslinger, on his quest for revenge. The game will be available on PC, Mac & Linux and we're also planning to bring it to consoles one day.
Revenge is like a chilli - to make it good, Jack needs the right ingredients. A bit of money - from all the collected bounties; few friends, that could help him in the time of need; his own skills and abilities; and most of all shallow graves for all those who would stand in his way. The only question is: Are you going to be the Good, the Bad, or the Ugly?
The game is our tribute to the spaghetti western genre. We took inspiration from games we love and also from movies by Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci, Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez. As the characters are insects, we tried to draw the inspiration from cliches from the both of the worlds.
With the story setting being a spaghetti western, we are trying to utilize mechanics like gun tricks, shootouts, standoffs and bounties and wanted to make every bullet of your sixshooter count. The art design consists of comic book-like hand drawn illustrations and motion comic cutscenes to drive the whole experience.
Jack is a mosquito, a bounty hunter… or at least what’s left of him. He used to ride in a gang, but the men he trusted betrayed him, broke him, beat him and left him to perish out in the wastelands. But he somehow managed to survive. And that’s quite bad news for some. Because Jack will have his revenge and he’ll hunt down the ones that did him wrong. And you can be sure that once he’ll get them, blood will be spilled...
The story takes place around the town of Driftwood, five years after Jack was left for dead by his own compatriots. After his arrival in the town, Jack soon finds out that things will be a little more complicated than he originally thought.
The main protagonist of the game. Silent stranger, always with the sharp look and lightning-fast gun-handling skills. He’s a drifter coming from the dusty wasteland and then disappearing again into the sunset. Seeking revenge and hunting down men from his shady past as well as everyone standing in his way.
Owner of the Hearts Saloon and the big bug around these parts. Always taking care of her girls and she’s as beautiful as one gets. But everyone knows, that while she is all heart, she does have a sharp sting and a double-barrelled shotgun right under the bar just in case.
A soldier with all his heart, body and his trusty gatling machine gun. You don't become a war hero commanding a platoon full of pissed off hornets by being a sissy. You are on the good side as long as it's Ace's side. And trust me, when he’s shooting, you don't want to be anywhere else.
The shaman, hermit and one of the last living native indi-ants. He talks with the ancient spirits and knows powerful magic. Or at least he thinks he does. What’s true though is that he found a nearly dead mosquito in the desert once and that's when it all started to be interesting.
Apart from being the only undertaker in the town of Driftwood, he’s also the narrator of the whole story. He seems to like Jack as the gunslinger keeps him busy, because gravedigging business is booming ever since Jack arrived in town.
Blood will be Spilled, being a 2D action platformer, combines intense western-movie-style shooting action with a dash of platforming, a handful of puzzles and a spoonful of simple RPG elements. At its core, it’s a story driven spaghetti western comic book. Think of Shank and Mark of the Ninja meets Rayman Legends and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger.
Jack will be able to choose from three different skill trees - the good, the bad and the ugly, each with its own special abilities. For good guys, acting faster than anybody is the way to go, bad guys like to keep things simple and deadly and ugly ones… well, they just want to laugh at the world burning. Player will be able to choose a skill tree (we call them “Paths”) before each level, so that you try out which one suits you best for every particular level. New abilities will unlock after completing a level.
You can try a few of those in the current demo.
For a bounty hunter, chasing down gangsters is a livelihood. And to be good at your work, you need the best tools available. With the money Jack will acquire, he’ll be able to buy new guns with different properties, like accuracy, number of bullets or range.
During shootouts, Jack can hide behind a cover to reload bullets or just to take a little break from all the shooting.
Every bullet counts. If you take an empty gun to a gunfight or will shoot without thinking and aiming properly, it’s quite possible that you’ll trade your pistol for a coffin. Because reloading takes time and that’s a precious commodity once there are bullets flying all around you.
If there’s one thing, that’s really iconic for the spaghetti western genre, it’s the wind tower making a really ugly squeaky noise when it turns. And right there in the second place, we have duels, or standoffs. Some of the boss battles will be done in this way, rewarding speed and precision. But duels are a tricky business - pull out your gun too soon and you’ll be forever remembered as a dishonorable bastard, draw too late and you might not get a chance to draw your gun ever again.
Sucking blood is what mosquitoes are best known for and it’s no different with Jack (in the world of BWBS, also mosquito males can suck blood). The blood is then used to fuel his powerful abilities.
You can try out most of these things in our current demo. It is available for download for PC and Mac here. The demo showcases what we want the game to look like, both visually and also gameplay-wise. We have been able to show it on a couple of events and e were astonished by the amount of positive feedback we received. That being said, we are aware of some of its shortcomings and also received quite a lot of suggestions and new ideas that we plan to implement.
The demo offers around 15 minutes of gameplay, is fully voiced and has an original music created by local award-winning post-jazz band Dajme Tomu. You can try out one of the three showcase special abilities and most of the core gameplay mechanics. It is playable with either controller or keyboard and mouse.
Our studio formed around May 2014 when we decided to try out making our first game together. The project was in pre-production phase for a couple of months, while we were looking for the right tools and learning how to use them. We have publicly shown our vision for the first time with a trailer in November 2014 at GDS2014 in Prague and then presented our first playable prototype in January at CEGC2015 in Vienna.
From that point on, we worked mostly on our first version of the playable demo that we submitted to IndieCade Festival in June 2015 and also demonstrated at Radius Festival 2015 in Vienna. We polished the demo even more and added some new features so that we could send it to IGF2015 in October and also released it publicly available for download to get valuable feedback. We also showcased the latest demo on a bigger convention called Reboot Infogamer 2015 in Zagreb, Croatia in November. And you can find us on CEGC2016 in Vienna in February 2016.
So, currently we have a playable demo, that represents around 70% of a little unpolished vertical slice and also serves as our proof of concept. From now on, we’d like to finish up with the story, finish our game design document and polish and fine-tune all the core mechanics. Then, it will be mostly about creating a huge amount of assets and content , like levels, art, cutscenes, music, voiceovers, etc. We estimate that this could take around 1.5 to 2 years, depending on how successful we are at acquiring the necessary resources and support.
Why crowdfunding? We’ve been working on Blood will be Spilled for about one and a half year now, in all the spare time we could find, and financed it all from our own savings. Because of our previous work experience, we were able to do some other little jobs on the side to keep us going, but now we came to a point where we’d truly like to dedicate our time to work on the game full-time. A successful crowdfunding campaign would allow us to do that and would also cover for all the necessary costs like software licenses, additional voiceovers and help with some expenses of showcasing the game on events abroad. We absolutely believe in the project and all the encouraging feedback we received on various events made our determination even stronger.
To wrap up, we are eagerly looking forward to hearing what you guys at Square Enix Collective think about our game, so let us know in the comments. If you like it and would like to help us, cast your vote here. You can also visit our website and enter our mailing list, if you want to be updated on our progress. Lastly, you can definitely follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or IndieDB if you’d like to follow our development a bit more closely.
And you can also help us to get on Steam by voting for us on Greenlight.
And if you think some of your friends might also like filling some insect gangsters with lead, let them know!
Duels are one of the most iconic aspects of the western genre, probably even more than rolling tumbleweeds or bank robberies. To make a game that takes place in this genre and not having some mutation of a duel there would mean missing a great opportunity, while also disappointing fans of the Wild West. We knew we wanted to have a duel mechanic in our game ever since we started working on it. But to actually do it and to do it right, one first needs to understand what makes duels so interesting.
Let’s go through some basics first. Duels used as a way of settling disputes between two parties is something almost as old as civilized society itself. The basic definition of a duel is “an arranged combat between two individuals with matching weapons done in accordance to agreed-upon rules”. Mostly, the aim was not necessarily killing the opponent but rather restoring your honor, while humiliating the opponent and demonstrating that you are willing to risk your life to achieve it. The rules were based on various mutations of “code duello” - a sort of guidelines, probably originating from Reneissance Italy inspired by the medieval code of chivalry.
Duels became widely popular (and thus becoming mostly illegal) especially in the modern ages, around 17th and 18th century, but probably the most well-known depiction are the quick draw duels that took place in colonial North America, which were made popular by the Wild West movie genre. Even though that they were strongly stylized in the movies, such duels really did occasionally occur in the Old West. The first well documented and probably the most well known real-life Wild West duel took place in 1861 in Springfield, Missouri between Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt, who had a disagreement over a game of cards. The conflict ended with Wild Bill shooting Davis through the heart on the town square with the whole town watching and this event inspired the gunfighter legends for days to come.
As we already established, duels are a very popular theme, mostly in Wild West movies, as they allow for great dramatic sequences with a lot of suspense, even though all the characters involved are mostly static. There are many great examples of duels in Spaghetti Westerns, but once again, Sergio Leone probably perfected the craft. Whether it’s the final duel of “Once Upon a Time in the West”(1968) or the one from “For a Few Dollars more”(1965) they all follow certain unwritten guidelines that make them so intense and memorable.
Let’s break it down and point out what makes a good duel scene in probably the most memorable scene shot by Mr. Leone, and personally one of my favourite movie scenes of all time - the finale of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”(1966) (which is rather a Mexican standoff than a duel, but never mind that).
Composition of a duel scene
So, what is it that makes these duel scenes so good?
In all the examples mentioned above, the characters involved are really distinctive, each of them having a specific stylised look, posture, weapon handling and emotions, so that they stand out in the scene. And you as a viewer also care about the characters and the outcome of the encounter, because the duel makes sense in the context of the whole narrative.
The build-up until the shots are fired is the most important part of those scenes. The suspense is done by alternating between wider shots where we see all the characters and close-ups of their faces, eyes and hands prepared for drawing.
The stage for the duels is usually simpler, without too many distracting details, so that silhouettes of the gunfighters would be clearly visible in the wide shots. That being said, it is important for the environment to support the overall atmosphere of the scene.
Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack is at least half the reason why these scenes are so good. It underlines the rising tension and adds greatly to the atmosphere. It is worth noting that the music stops abruptly in the exact second when the shooting starts to emphasise it. Lack of music and ambient noises are also very important tools for creating strong atmosphere.
These scenes are usually quite long, but with the amount of different cuts, it is usually hard to tell if it all took place in real time and how long the build-up actually took. Finding the right length for such scene might be a bit tricky, but I think we all agree, that duels finished in a matter of seconds would be quite dull.
Bad guy always draws first
This is probably quite self-explanatory. And right after he draws, he usually goes down in a really exaggerated, dramatic fashion.
Duels in popular video games
From the popular Western video games I’d like to mention two incarnations of the duel scenes. In all of them, you can find most of the bullet points mentioned above, but altered in a way that they would suit video game environment.
In Red Dead Redemption the whole build-up isn’t part of the actual gameplay, but is done in a form of an in-game cutscene before the interactive part. Still, it is done quite well and it uses some of the shots that could also be seen in Leone’s movies. In the movies, the drawing and shooting of the guns take place in a split of a second, so it makes sense, that in a video game, this is done in a slowed down time, so that the player can manage to enter the inputs.
Call of Juarez - Gunslinger is another example of duel done in a video game and it’s probably one of the best. What it did is that it turned the whole build up phase to a gameplay mechanic, in which you move your hand closer to the holster while focusing on your opponent. The whole thing is done in a really nice shot from the back of the main protagonist, so we see both his holster and the enemy he is dueling. The actual drawing and shooting is once again done with the time slowed down. I personally think that they really nailed the atmosphere and suspense such scene should have.
Duels in Blood will be Spilled
Making a duel in our game might be a bit tricky, as our game is 2D, and our characters are quite small on the screen. However, thanks to our comic book like stylisation, we can put most of the points of interest into comics frames, as eyes, faces, hands etc. Another cool thing at our disposal are characters with more than two hands, which allows for even more interesting scenarios.
We are still kind of experimenting with the whole mechanic, as there are quite a few ways to approach this. As was already mentioned above, the most important part of the duel is the build-up, which is usually quite static and it might seem non interactive. One way, the “easier” one, would be to do most of the build-up in a comicbook-like cutscene, which is simillar to what “Red Dead Redemption” did, but we’d rather do it as “Gunslinger” did, with a small minigame that would keep the player involved also during this first phase of the whole duel. We are still thinking about various versions of the minigame that would make sense in the context of the duel and also would be fun to play.
So, as a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ll show you what we currently have. Below you can find the first prototype of the duel mechanic, without the minigame in the build-up phase. Please, bear in mind that this footage is of a work in progress and it doesn’t represent the quality we aim for with the finished product.
There are still many ideas we have for the duels of Blood will be Spilled. If you have any comments or suggestions, please, don’t be shy, let us know! And if you want to see what else we have in store, be sure to follow our progress on facebook, twitter, or instagram.
Ivan KozmonAnimator, Game designer, Manager is the true scavenger of our team. He finds all the half-dead tasks, which nobody else wants and beats them to death. Or to completion. He is probably closest to being a manager (de facto as well as de jure - he finished his studies in strategic management at Faculty of Management CU in Bratislava) of our team, as well as spokesperson, minister of propaganda and level designer. And then, after everybody else is at home, he takes Martin’s character drawings and gives them animation-y life using Spine.
Martin KozmonArt director, Manager is the hand (sometimes two) behind all the drawings and creator of the unique artstyle of our game. Even though he studied Software engineering at Slovak University of Technology, text editor and keyboard just didn’t allow him to satisfy his deepest creative deviations and needs (this whole mosquito-thing started originally as a product of his twisted mind) so he decided to exchange that for pen, paper, ink and a graphics tablet. And as you can see, he decided good.
Juraj DurajkaProgrammer, Manager is the half of the programming team of Doublequote studio, the half that wants his tasks finished as soon and as polished as possible. He’s also an avid everything-theoretician, his interests spans from games, through physics and science at large to Corvidae and other kinds of birds, animals or beasts. Studied Telecommunications at Slovak University of Technology. He’s never satisfied with anything, even with himself.
Pavol TanuskaProgrammer, Manager is the lazier part of the programming team, his attention span counts in mere minutes and have good luck with having him finish a task. Although, he successfully finished a 3 year bachelor studies at Faculty of Information Technology at CTU in Prague (and it took him only 4 years!). His interest in (all the) things ends after figuring out the first three possible theoretical solutions. But he likes to discuss almost anything, even (more) the things he has no idea about. And that’s what the other guys in the team value. Really.