Sportsfriends: Pass the Hokra, Please

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Sportsfriends: Pass the Hokra, Please

Hello PlayStation Blog readers, I’m Ramiro Corbetta, creator of Hokra, one of the four games that make up Sportsfriends (Kickstart the compilation here!). If you don’t know about Sportsfriends, it’s a compendium of four super fun local multiplayer games that’s coming to PSN in 2013. Over the last couple of weeks, two of the other designers involved in Sportsfriends spoke about their games (you can read about Noah Sasso’s BaraBariBall and about Bennett Foddy’s Super Poler Riders), and today I get to write about my game.

Sportsfriends: Hokra

Hokra is a minimalist sports game for two teams of two players. Players score points by holding the balls in the goals of their color on the corners of the screen. This video I did with Kotaku does a great job of explaining the basics of the game:

The rules are quite simple, but the game has a lot of depth to it. Even though I have played it for innumerable hours, I’m still finding new techniques and strategies when I play against expert competition.

When I started working on Hokra, I wasn’t exactly making a game. I had been playing lots of FIFA, and like many other people, my favorite part of the game is making a good pass. So, as a programming exercise, I decided to develop a top-down passing mechanic. At first, all I had was a single player and a ball. From a top-down view, the player could bounce the ball against the walls. It wasn’t until a friend who is also into FIFA came over that I added a second player. And then, having four controllers at home, I decided to add a couple more players and some goals. Suddenly, I had a game.

Sportsfriends: Hokra

Around that time, I was invited to make a game for the NYU Game Center’s No Quarter exhibition of games. The early version of Hokra I had been working on was perfect for the exhibition, so I kept working on it, attempting to perfect it for a competitive audience. One of my primary goals for Hokra was to take the joy I get from playing sports games (and sports) and bring it to everybody. I wanted to make a game that is fun both for people who are into sports games and for gamers who tend to look down on sports games. In this process there were a lot mechanical decisions I had to make in order to make the game feel just right, so I’m super thankful for all the friends who have playtested the game with me. I am especially thankful to Nathan Tompkins (of the band Ava Luna) for creating the music and audio design for the game.

As I keep working on Hokra to make it an even better game for Sportsfriends, I plan on adding quite a lot to it – from the many mechanical tweaks that I’m making all the time to bigger changes like new arenas, and even a crazy 8-player mode. In order for Sportsfriends become a reality, though, we need your support. We are running a kickstarter campaign to get the game made, so if you like the idea of getting together with your friends and playing some of the most awesome competitive multiplayer games ever, consider supporting us.

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3 Author Replies

  • HOKRA is amazing fun with four human beings.

  • looks super corny but very addicting. once again, any single player options ?

    • I’m tempted to play around with some single player ideas, but it would be along the lines of making little obstacle courses. I think the games really shines because of the people who are playing with you. Single player would basically be practice mode.
      That being said, there is a chance that the obstacle course idea never works out and I don’t put it into the game. We’ll see!

  • Looks fun and addictive. Any plans for online multiplayer? PSVita support?

    • The goal of this project is to put together games that really work really well as local multiplayer experiences, so there is no plan for online multiplayer right now. As of right now, also no plans for Vita support – the local multiplayer thing comes up again.

  • Looks like the kind of game that you have to play yourself to “get.”

    I kind of wish these games would just be sold separately for much cheaper. It’d make them better impulse buys and would take away from a lot of the “this looks fun for five minutes” criticisms.

    Mind you, the thing I’m most concerned about is that it feels like Joust is the star of the show here but it requires people to spend a ton of money of a bunch of Move controllers that you’ll only ever use for Joust. If Sony really wanted to get behind this (and get a lot of extra Move controllers out there at the same time) they’d sell a bundle of maybe like 3 or 4 for really cheap.

    I think those are the two big factors for why the Kickstarter hasn’t been as immediately successful as people might have imagined. I hope it goes well for you guys.

  • I dropped $15 on the project but would also request you look into Vita support. Ad-Hoc play would still allow local multiplayer.

  • As a married adult gamer I search for quality couch co-op experiences with the Wifey. This one has promise by the looks of it, but without online support, it doesn’t reach me.

    For some adults with silly busy lives, the idea of a 4-person game session just doesn’t sound realistic. Some of us gamers out here just don’t game with buddies anymore. It sounds like this game is going to be 4 player exclusive???

    Maybe I misunderstood, but I would love to team up with the Wifey and find competition online. This just seems practical to me and could reach a much larger (adult) audience. I understand it’s just not that simple, but I wanted to throw it out there…

  • PS3 definitely needs more local multiplayer games. Between this and Battle Royale, things are going in the right direction. :D

  • Kickstarter backer and gave the bonus 8-4 bump!

  • I REALLY REALLY want this game!!!!

    That said, I’d also love a 2-player version in which each player controls… two players. If that makes sense. I think each “player” could be controlled by a single analog stick on the Dualshock.

    It would be tougher, maybe, but I’d love to be able to use that awesome passing mechanic even if I could only find one other person to play with me.

    Anyway… LOVE your idea in Hokra, which is to really simplify sport into it’s basic elements.

    Wish you’d give some thought to an online mode, but I agree that local would be the most fun.

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