Hey guys, this is Mike from Berzerk with a fresh blog post for you all. As Infernax comes out on February 14th, the day of love, we thought we’d let you in behind our velvet curtains to show you what this retro action RPG does.
Part of what made us want to make Infernax in the first place was the desire to make the game as close as possible to what we played when we were little kids. More specifically, we wanted to make a game that looked straight out of the 80s but never came out, a myth game that you could talk about in a schoolyard, a game that had everything you wanted in your head. the mind of a child.
So we started from that premise, instead of working with 100% accuracy, we decided to develop a game based on the imagination of a sugar-eating child; we’ve taken a skeleton from a few games we’ve enjoyed and added a ton of “no way” moments to it.
What if the game remembers what you did, what if it has too many secrets, what if it’s also disgustingly bloody; it’s all these things. The story is built entirely on your decisions, and those decisions determine which upgrades you get, which quests become available to you.
Making old new again
The funny part about this process is that most of the things that we assumed in games that they could do (and by assumptions I actually basically mean that we would give our asses for a minute of fame during the break) ended up in modern game design. .
In the end, we created an evolving narrative that took into account the choices of the players, each choice they made moved the story forward in one way or another. This in turn created a fun new dynamic and people wanted to replay the game to see what would have happened if they had done something different, and true to our youthful self, we figured that would be pretty damn cool. if when they did it would really change how they would play this game because no one wants to do the same thing twice just because of the text. Maybe saving this guy from the bullies gives you another spell, or maybe some of the rogues you were chasing will come back for you later, what if you join them instead, maybe they’ll share the loot with you?
So it grew pretty fast, and we ended up with a few different game modes that you unlock every time you finish a game, or that you can unlock with a code.
Oh, and blood. Gallons of blood. Several trucks of blood. Bloody beats and everything in between. Because in the 80s, it could not get past the board of video games.
Old versus new
One of the biggest hurdles we ran into, I mean, besides not being able to handle the whims of whoever runs this simulation, was trying to expand a small arcane experience into a more accessible longer experience without losing what made him special. Our game originally only lasted an hour or two, it was meant to be short but hard.
Playing a knife game is fun for 10 seconds, but 7 hours in a row can be a little hard.
It was always meant to be difficult, punishing, inexorable, that was the design; that was the selling point, the vision.
We wanted to deviate from the conventional form, not to give the player a solution, but to make them feel smart by sorting it out. But it’s pretty much a struggle with 30 years of established game design with arrows pointing you in the direction you need to go or magical creatures whispering sweet nothings into your eardrums.
On the other hand, we really wanted all kinds of people to be able to enjoy Infernax, not everyone is a thirty year old masochist who likes to dig through dusty tomes to find the hidden block that holds the chicken.
Accessibility and old-school design go hand in hand like anchovies on pizza; Yes, I said it, fight me.
So we made some concessions to expand the game world without feeling tedious. We’ve changed some expected stimuli to make them more appealing: a well-placed save point will go a long way. We’ve implemented a new difficulty setting that adds multiple levels of difficulty to the dungeons for those who don’t like the thrill of failing so they don’t have to learn how to execute perfectly. We also decided that some parts will make you feel like the game hates you, and that’s okay.
On top of that, we remembered something we did as kids when the game was too hard for us: cheat, cheat, damn it.
We already had a code system implemented that modified the game in some way, why couldn’t it work the way it did back then? We’ve added various game modifiers with these codes that help the player get through difficult stages if necessary, people will still cheat, and can also help them do it right.
The result is something unique that we are very proud of. We hope you enjoy it as much as we had fun making it. So yes, this Valentine’s Day 2022, show your loved one that you are ready to die for them, over and over and over again in Infernax!