What is Johnny Rocket you might be asking yourself? Well it’s a new 2D comic adventure game that recently got announced on Kickstarter. As soon as I seen it I was intrigued and had to reach out to the developer to find out more.
First off thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about Johnny Rocket, would you like to introduce yourselves to the readers?
3 people worked on the game. I am the Artist of Peter Gordien (KG studio). Programmer Alexander Kolesnik (KG studio). And the programmer is Aleksey Hede / (Hede game studio)
When it comes to soundtracks, all of it was handcrafted by us, after all, Alexander and Peter and I played in the same rock band.
The console port and all of the publishing process is now on the shoulders of our Ukrainian partners – Restless Corp team.
Restless Corp team:
Andriy Davydyuk – Product Manager and game making enthusiast. Qualified in game design and business. Responsible for the development process, game design, legal issues and finances. Unity engine developer with 4 years of experience.
Ihor Denysenko – Lead developer and game making enthusiast. Unity engine professional and programmer. Ihor has more than 4 years in game designing and game making for mobile, PC and Console platforms.
Margarita Chernova – PR and communication manager. She is pure strength, creativity and proactivity. Margarita is in charge of maintaining contact with our clients and forging key alliances with great talents in content creation. In addition, she is the captain of our social media profiles.
Alejandro Penedo – Marketing and business development Passionate about video games since childhood, Alejandro is a marketing professional with more than 5 years of experience in developing marketing and business strategies for major brands and IPs. Specialist in strategy and inbound methodology. Work from Spain, for the world. And Restless corp team now is responsible for the whole software stability and marketing strategy for the game on consoles. They’ve been working hard on the game to make all the necessary improvements. If everything goes well with the Kickstarter campaign and console release, we plan to cooperate all together to make a great DLC for Johnny Rocket.
I have to say it’s a REALLY unqiue style for a game, and I LOVE it! But what made you decide to make this comic book style as opposed to another style like other new games are doing? And why black and white as opposed to colour like Comix Zone did on the Mega Drive?
Peter Gordien – Artist and animator said:
“The black and white styling was chosen by me for drawing long before the creation of the game. I tried myself as an animator. Parody the style of Don Hertzfield, Simon Tofield, Pencilmation. Until it turned into a promo Johnny Rocket animated film. In general, when you do not need to paint, it doubles the speed of drawing. Creates emphasis on animation. Gives a unique style and memorability. By the way, did you know that Cuphead was originally planned to be drawn in black and white style? But producers and money wallets were forced to decorate the game.”
The story follows Johnny Rocket as he tackles penguins, robots, seals and even headbutts Nazi’s! How did you come up with this great assortment of enemies and why headbutting?
Peter Gordien – Artist and animator said:
It was supposed to be a black and white universe of little superhero men. In the style of the Avengers. Such a hypertrophied postmodern universe. Mixed on comics and retro stereotypes. The man is a hammer. The man is a drill. Rocket man. Man is anyone. One day after about half a year of the first animated cartoon about Johnny Rocket, my friend Alexander Colesnik came to visit me. We got into a conversation. And he said that he was just looking for new ideas for developing the game. He then strenuously stormed the gamedev. After drinking some Scotch whiskey with cola, we set to work. So the KG Studio team appeared. The world of the game, Johnny Rocket, is a world of stereotypes about World War II and the mystic of Ahnenerbe. Game series – Wolfenstein, The Rocketeer – 1991 film. Indiana Jones. We have references for all of that. I can say that an alternative universe in which there is a bad guy Hitler. With alien technology and crazy scientists. Nazis craft monsters and laser guns.
Dave Perry had a big impact on the game: The creator of the Earthworm Jim. We wanted to make some kind of black and white crazy world in the style of Earthworm Jim with Nazi dogs and mega hero Jonnny Rocket. A big surprise for developers was when Dave Perry commented on the game being great.
Is there going to be anything different with this release compared to the current steam version?
We’ve been working for the last 4 month on game improvement and bug fixing. The Steam version of the game gave us a lot of feedback. The game already feels like a finished and polished product.
Excluded all bugs and made following improvements:
*Falling under the flare and not dying is fixed
*Johnny Becomes invincible under certain conditions is fixed
*Being attacked on the checkpoint fixed
*Improved controller support
*Fully working UI for consoles and controller
*Hardcore mode is not impossiable anymore. Speedrunners should like it.
*Software reliability and stability improvement.
*A big chunk of in-game changes that were simply irritating and now are fixed.
Are there any plans for a physical release of the game considering it’s going to be available on Xbox and Switch? And is the PS4 not an option right now?
We are currently working on Xbox and Switch porting and finally getting some progress. We hope that the Kickstarter campaign will help a lot in this process as we’ve been operating on zero budget for the last 4 month working full time. Currently PS4 is not in priority due to the lack of budget, but if we get lucky to exceed our goal on Kickstarter, we will make everything to bring the game for PS4.
You recently dropped the price for the game, at the already low price of $10 what made you cut it in half?
We planned a price drop due to Steam reviews that complained about the game being too short. The game can be finished in roughly 1 hour for the first time average player. That’s why we’d like to make a free DLC to prolong the gameplay and hopefully make a paid one after. If everything goes well, we will have a $5 game with 1.5 gameplay and a 2$ paid DLC that makes up to a total of $7 for the full product experience. We think that this strategy is fair for the players and reasonable.
What can we expect to see from your team in the future?
We are in a very early stage of production of the game called “One War”
It is a game in the WWI setting. We want to make some experiments with the game genre so we are making a 2D Shooter + Tower Defense Strategy with an aim on a well developed story. You can follow updates on the development on our Discord server. Along the way we are also publishing 2 games for other developers. Those are “ TAURONOS” and “Reaper of Immortals”. More info about these games can be found on the Restless Corp website.
That is great, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for that one. One last questions what advice would you have for inspiring developers looking to get into game development?
There are two major things that every indie developer must not forget:
1. Love what you are making and others will love it too.
2. Make your marketing strategy and be patient on working on it daily. That will help you get much better feedback and get your inspiration from interaction with your audience.
To follow along with the progress check out these links below –
I’d also like to say that whoever the animator was did an amazing job, it’s like a playable comic reminding me of how magical the likes of Comix Zone was.
The kickstarter is still running and looks set to reach its goal in no time. You can grab yourself a digital copy of the game for as little as £4. An absolute steal!