Hello, I’m Jason Stark from Disparity Games. We’re a small studio that consists of me, my wife Nicole (we’re both AAA games industry veterans), and our 17-year-old daughter (not a AAA games industry veteran, but more talented than either of us). We live by the beach, work out of our kitchen, and make video games together.
Our latest project is Ninja Pizza Girl — a game about bullying, emotional resilience, and pizza-delivering ninjas. It takes place in the not-too-distant future where urban congestion has gotten so bad the only way to get a pizza across town in thirty minutes or less is to use underpaid teenage ninjas.
Ninja Pizza Girl is a fast-paced platformer about speed and flow, about big jumps and giant drops and yelling out “Woohoo!” It’s a game of freedom and fun for speed runners and platformer noobs alike. It’s also a game about Gemma, a sixteen-year-old girl trying to keep her dreams alive in face of the most merciless enemies known to any teenage girl — other teenagers.
While most teenagers in Gemma’s world work for huge Pizza mega-corporations and wear officially sanctioned ninja uniforms, Gemma works for her Dad’s pizzeria and wears an outfit she made herself. Gemma starts the game an outsider, bringing all the issues that being an outsider entails.
Despite its unusual premise, Ninja Pizza Girl’s story is based on the real-life experiences of our two eldest daughters going through high school. Being a teenager is tough. Being a teenager that’s slightly different is a nightmare. Ninja Pizza Girl is about a girl running straight into those differences at breakneck speed and trying to survive.
This story runs deeply throughout the game design. Instead of tracking Gemma’s physical health, Ninja Pizza Girl tracks something far more relevant — her ability to deal with the crap life throws at her.
Hurting yourself in the game is annoying, but something that Gemma can deal with. Getting hurt in front of a bunch of your fellow ninja however, is a serious issue. The rival ninja all stop to laugh at her. Shadows lengthen and colors drain from the world.
On the other hand, when Gemma’s spent some time running fast and landing smooth jumps, she gets in the zone. The world blooms with vivid colour and she runs like the wind. And running fast is essential when there’s pizza to be delivered!
Ninja Pizza Girl combines our love of old-school rhythm platformers with very real issues being faced by kids every day. Hopefully it will give people insight into a secret, shared world and the battles being fought all around us.
We’re super excited to be bringing Ninja Pizza Girl to PS4. Expect to see it running over rooftops early 2015.