Retro/Grade Coming to PS3!

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!NSP no desaeler eb lliw ,esrever ni yleritne deyalp emag tsrif eht ,edarG/orteR… errr… Sorry! I’m used to time being reversed. What I was trying to say is that Retro/Grade, the first game played entirely in reverse, will be released on PSN! Actually, let me start from the beginning. I’m Matt Gilgenbach, co-founder of 24 Caret Games. We are proud to announce that we will be releasing our first game, Retro/Grade, on the Playstation Network for Playstation 3. Retro/Grade stars ace fighter pilot Rick Rocket who has just saved the universe. Unfortunately, the massive destruction he left in his wake has caused a temporal anomaly that reversed the flow of time. You must assume control of Rick’s spacecraft and fight through the epic space battle… in reverse!

Retro/ Grade Sreenshot 1

At this point, you may be thinking, “How on earth do you play a game in reverse?” That is a very good question, and after many years of temporal physics research, we’ve finally come up with the solution. As you can see from our screenshots, Retro/Grade looks like a really exciting shoot ‘em up. However, it actually plays more like a rhythm game. In order to protect the health of the space/time continuum, Rick must undo his actions exactly the reverse of the way he performed them in the first place. That means he has to get in the appropriate space lane from which his shot was fired and press the shoot button at the appropriate time. As well, he must avoid blocking the path of the enemy shots as they return to the enemy’s guns. If he blocks their path, it creates a paradox since he is stopping the shot before it was ever fired. All of the gameplay is timed to original retro themed tunes by Skyler McGlothlin, aka acclaimed electronica artist Nautilis. Retro/Grade earned a nomination for Excellence in Audio at the IGF because of our great tunes.

One feature in Retro/Grade that we are really excited about is the ability to pilot Rick’s ship using a guitar controller. You can use the fret buttons to move Rick’s ship to the desired space lane, and the strum bar acts as the shoot button. It’s a lot of fun to use the guitar, but it is equally fun with the DualShock 3 controller if you don’t have any guitar controllers handy. Players that play a lot more rhythm games will probably feel more comfortable wielding a plastic guitar whereas shoot ‘em up junkies looking for an innovative twist on the beloved genre will feel more comfortable with their trusty DualShock 3.

Retro/ Grade Sreenshot 3

Retro/Grade features many innovative power ups including the ability to reverse time (again). You may be thinking, “But wait Matt… Time is already reversed!” This power up allows you to reverse the reversed flow of time, so time moves forward! Although that sounds confusing, the gameplay effect is really exciting! It allows you to undo any mistakes you’ve mde made and repeat a section again. This is extremely helpful for when you hit a hard section that requires a little more practice or you lose the rhythm and start making mistakes. Once you play Retro/Grade, you are sure to bemoan that other rhythm games don’t have that feature.

All of these compelling features earned us a nomination for Excellence in Game Design at the Independent Games Festival. There’s plenty more to get excited about that we aren’t ready to announce just yet. Stay tuned, and we will update you Playstation Blog readers with more information as development progresses! If you want to stay up to date, be sure to follow 24 Caret Games on Facebook!

Retro/ Grade Sreenshot 2

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37 Author Replies

  • Wow, that is actually a pretty neat concept. Hope to see some more different gameplays/videos.

  • looks crazy but could be fun

  • Looks interesting, will there be a demo?

    • There definitely will be a demo on PSN! Currently, there is a demo of a build made several months back available for PC:

      The game has improved quite a bit since then, but it\’ll give you a taste of what the game is like. Unfortunately, since we are targeting the advanced hardware of the PS3, you need a newer graphics card to run the demo (Shader model 2.0a or later)

      Thanks for your interest!

  • interesting concept

    music sounds great

  • Looks like an interesting and fun concept. Hopefully it will make it’s way to Europe so I can try it out :D


  • This looks like a first day buy for me when it comes out Matt. BTW, when is the game suppose to come out?

    • I\’m glad your are excited about the game! We have the \”when it\’s done\” mentality because we want to make a truly great game. I can say it definitely won\’t be done until 2010 though. Good things come to those who wait! :-D

  • Yay another game to wait for, be delayed and wait some more!

  • A game outside of music play games that uses the guitar?? damn @_@ well keep up the awesome work and soon as this hits the PSN store, I’m buying this.

  • Very interesting take on rhythm game; the guitar controller support is crazy high concept; seems like something you could see happening in the old Heavy Metal movie =P; color me intrigued

  • euhmmm… totally awesome!?

  • This is a pretty good concept for a game. If the demo is good I might buy it. Do you guys have an estimated release date?

    • When it\’s done, which we expect will be sometime in 2010. It\’ll be worth the wait. Trust me!

  • Wow, that is original! Great idea!
    My only problem is the sound… its… uh… way to 8bits, well it doesn’t sound that “exiting”. Still the gameplay idea is nice, keep the great work.

  • That is awesome but 2010 :( Anyways that looks great with the guitar. How much do you think it will be although i see it being to far to know. Thanks for taking the time to show us this epic game.

    • We don\’t want to commit to a price just yet, but it definitely won\’t be one of the most expensive titles on PSN.

  • I cant say I’ve ever seen a game like this before… I am quite intrigued…

  • well this game is certainly different, which is good

  • Give me the game.

  • this looks pretty cool im going to buy this one for sure and being able to use my guitar is pretty cool too

  • Hopefully this will be leagues better realized in action than “Timeshift”

    Looking forward to the demo!

  • Damn that game looks beautiful!

  • Awesome. Just when I thought the PSN titles couldn’t get any more original or unique. This is a pretty cool concept. Might I suggest going the PixelJunk route and doing subsequent titles like Retro/Grade Fighter or Retro/Grade Driver..or Retro/Grade RPG.

  • The option to play with the guitar is really cool.

    Glad this is coming to PSN!

  • This game looks awesome, very original concept. Definitely looking forward to it.

  • I’m always skeptical when a posts ends with an exclamation mark, but this new games seems to have justified it. It should be an interesting middle ground between audio surf and a 2D sidescroller.
    My question is: who’s idea was it to throw the concept of a 2D sidescroller out the window and do something different?

    • As much as we love sidescrollers, the downloadable market seems to be overfilled with them, so we didn\’t really consider doing one. We had a time reversal debug mode in a different demo and wondered what it\’d be like to actually play a game when time is going in reverse. The sidescroller seemed like a good fit for the backwards time premise.

  • !tpecnoc gnitseretni yrev a si sihT

    I will stay tuned!

    I’m confused with the hud on the top left hand. is the green/yellow/red thing health, progress?

    • The green/yellow/red thing is the health of the space/time continuum. When you make mistakes, the space/time continuum is damaged. If it hits zero, the space/time continuum is destroyed. However, if you have Retro/Fuel remaining (the blue bar), you can reverse your last few mistakes restoring the space/time continuum and continue to play.

  • Interest concept. I am going to buy it just for that. I like developers that are willing to try something new. Consider this a buy and I do not care if this game is crap when it is release.
    Hope you guys implement these features into the game since it is not releasing till next year.
    *In-Game music via the XMB
    *Youtube support to capture and upload your videos online

  • Man this looks pretty cool!

    “I can say it definitely won’t be done until 2010 though”

    Oh, nevermind. :P

  • You have my attention. I’m always interested in anything that goes against the grain, especially on PSN.

  • Wow! It’s not often that I see a game that impresses me with its innovation. This is truly a creative thing you guys are doing, and I can’t wait to check it out!

  • If you charge me $10, I will gladly give you $10 for this game.

  • ha ha ha ha ha

  • Looks interesting, however I am not sure I will remember it in 6+ months when it finally releases. Why do an article about it now?

    • We will continue to do developer blogs and updates until release to ensure that you don\’t forget. :) We wanted to announce it now because we are really excited about the game and couldn\’t wait to share it with you!

  • wow this looks pretty cool!

    You guys must be fans of star trek.. I just have this feeling..

  • That looks very interesting :)
    but played with a guitar controller?
    seems a bit… well it doesnt seem anything :P

    • You can play it with a gamepad if you prefer, but if you have a guitar controller, it\’s worth trying it out and seeing if you like it better.

  • I want Critter Crunch and Smash Cars :'(

  • Can You send me an advanced demo, I’ll let you know what I think of it. Looks pretty nice though. I hope you guys don’t let us down.

  • A question:

    Do the levels change when you use a guitar controller? I noticed in the video that the beams were coloured in their respective fret. Also, will you need to use the orange fret in tougher difficulties? Plus, since the Dualshock has only 2 directional buttons, you can move one space at a time. But lets say if you’re using a guitar controller, and you’re in the blue lane, and you press the green fret. Do you go to the green lane or the yellow lane?


    • That is a very astute observation. The actual pattern of the level doesn\’t change with a guitar controller, but the coloring of the lanes do.

      Yes, we use the orange fret button in tougher difficulties.

      When you are playing with a guitar controller, you go right to the space lane that matches the fret button. We offer two control schemes with the DualShock – shooter mode and rhythm mode. Shooter mode behaves as you described – up/down move one space lane at a time. Rhythm mode works similarly to the guitar controller – you go right to the space lane corresponding to the button you pressed.

      The game is carefully balanced, so that it\’s not easier with one control scheme or the other. It\’s just a matter of personal preference.

  • So is there only 1 pattern per level, or is it randomly generated?

    • There is one pattern per difficulty per level. We have 5 difficulties ranging from very simple to very challenging, so that everyone can enjoy the game regardless of skill level. We toyed with the idea of random level creation, but it can\’t create as fun and balanced gameplay as something hand designed.

  • keep em comin sony

  • Hey, this looks really cool! Thanks for the heads up and keep up the good work!

  • As soon this game realeases, I’ll play it with a guitar controller. To feel the rhythm of this game with a guita. So far, no other PSN game has this feature (I believe), so, I’m glad this will be hitting PSN/PS3.

  • This game would make Einstein giggle!

  • Looking forward to having some use for my guitar controllers instead of just Rock Band. Is this just a single-player game?

  • WTF? im sorry i may be wrong but i really dont see how this game is fun lol… i just finish watching the video clip and just by looking at it i know from the start i wasnt going to get this.. but again i may be wrong lets see how the demo is.

  • So, was it at *Independent Games Festival* when SCE looked at your worked and decided to be the publisher for it?

    • Sony is an extremely progressive company and has recently opened the door for independent game developers to publish their own titles on Playstation Network. So technically, we at 24 Caret Games are the publisher as well as the developer. This has a number of advantages to working with an external publisher. For example, we have complete creative control, which is really thrilling as a game developer. Previously, I have only worked with publishers, so I was not granted this flexibility. As well, we own the IP, so should the title be successful, we can sell the movie rights to Hollywood. ;)

      However, you are correct in that we made the connection with Sony at the IGF.

  • Love it. Also, the music sounds fantastic. Is the music licensed or in-house?

    • It\’s composed just for this game by Skyler McGlothlin. Skyler is one of my favorite musicians and is extremely versatile and can compose stuff in any style. We asked him to come up with something retro flavored, and he\’s really exceeded our expectations.

  • I really want this game. I love the concept. I can’t want to play.

  • *wait -.-‘

  • There’s something weird with the video, if you put the mouse over it will refresh automatically.
    I am using FF 3.0.11

  • Thanks Matt for answering my question! :) Looking forward to using my guitar for something else. Even if you guys get a 20 in metacritic (I know you won’t), I’ll still be definitely buying this game, just because someone has the brains to try something new, and use a guitar of course! :D

  • Wow! I just gotta comment. I skipped the blog post and the video for some reason and just started reading the comments. I automatically got the impression this was some Indie developer pushing their lame PSN title. But I was wrong.

    Color me interested!

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