Ben Esposito on Neon White: “If This Is For You, This Is Your Favorite Game”


Ben Esposito doesn’t Neon white for everyone – in fact, while he admits that this is probably not the best marketing ploy, he says he is trying to make a cult game. He wants Neon White to find players who like him as much as he loves the cult games that influenced him like God Hand, Danganronpa and El Shaddai: The Ascension of Metatron

In other words, as Esposito said in the latest trailer for the game, Neon White is a game made for “freaks.”

On Thursday, during an interactive showcase of Annapurna, Neon White showcased its final run after announced back in February… But this time we have a better idea of ​​the game itself; how it is played and a little history. You can see his latest trailer below:

The game centers around the aptly named White, an assassin from hell who fights demons in an attempt to find a new life in Heaven. Although at first glance, the gameplay looks like an anime-style Quake or other similar first-person shooter. jumping card Neon White’s homage, hook, and difficulty stem from his card system and how it affects combat.

In Neon White, cards are weapons or cannons. Depending on which card you have, this is what weapon you use; if you have a pistol card, you shoot a pistol, and so on. “Before he uses up all his weapon magic, though, let’s just say it’s so stupid,” Esposito admits with a laugh. “Before he uses up all his weapon magic, I can activate his discard at any time, which will get rid of the card, but immediately I can use the movement ability. So, for example, a pistol allows me to kind of make a double jump in the air. The rifle allows me to rush forward and kill everyone in my path. And so on and so forth. It’s like you always make that choice, like, “Do I want this gun? Or is it better for me to move faster here? ‘”

Neon White places an emphasis on speed, and challenges players to compete for better times on the game’s global leaderboard. The result, at least judging by the trailer, is a tense game in which you juggle priorities and think quickly as you jump through each level, taking out enemies. Admittedly, this looks a little too intense for standard controls and is more suitable for keyboard and mouse customization. It will be interesting to see how and if this works better with one over the other when the game comes out.


Most likely people learned about Esposito from his previous project, Donut County – cute, relaxing game about a mischievous raccoon. Visually, Neon White is in stark contrast, borrowing heavily from anime (Esposito cites Cowboy bebop, Trigun, and Black Lagoonin particular), but also Japanese games that we no longer see are smaller, weirder and more experimental. According to Esposito, Shinji Mikami’s work in the 2000s, such as the aforementioned God Hand and his sci-fi shooter Vanquish, are a great source of inspiration. He also cites Goichi “Suda51” Suda games such as Killer7 and No More Heroes. The life-simulation aspects of Neon White are taken from Persona and Danganronpa series as well Fire Emblem: Three Houses… All of this complements the hero shooter elements that games like Team Fortress 2 are talking about.

It’s an interesting, albeit at times bizarre, mix of different influences combined into a game that is visually different from other games in 2021, but still evokes nostalgia for video game fans in Japan in the early to mid-2000s. And, of course, that’s the point. Neon White looks like a game made for this particular audience, even if it’s not the largest in the world.

“Yes, so I don’t know if everyone involved likes to hear that I want to create a cult game, because making a cult game from a financial point of view is not a good idea,” laughs Esposito. “But I will say that the way I love these games is quite unique, I think, for games in general. Like, I don’t like really perfect games the way I like weird broken cult games. And what I wanted with Neon White was to make this game not for everyone. She tried to be a game for really specific people. And if it hits right, it will be their favorite game for these people. This is really what I am trying to do. “

Neon White is due out this winter for Switch and PC.

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