SkyGoblin reveals the motivation behind this intense, button-mashing frenzy of a game.
Hi all! I’m Theo, designer and artist of the three-man Swedish studio SkyGoblin. As you can see in our shiny new launch trailer above, Hellfront: Honeymoon turned out to be pretty dang intense, and I’m here to tell you how it came to be what it is today.
Imagine spending eight consecutive years developing slow-paced, laid-back narrative games and you might begin to understand all the pent-up urge for fast-paced, action-oriented gameplay our studio was feeling at the time when Hellfront was conceived. When we wrapped production of our previous title, The Journey Down, we immediately threw ourselves headfirst into development of Hellfront like a hungry pack of wolves. The game pretty much exploded out of our fingers!
We’d become quite social gamers during our previous development cycle, hangin’ out with friends and playing local co-op and PvP games, but we all felt that there was something sorely missing from the local game scene. We wanted intensity in combat. We wanted button-mashing mayhem that engulfed the entire screen in explosions, like the good old days with Smash TV and similar titles that we’d play with our friends after school. We wanted a game for couches and pubs, a game that people were drawn into and could pick up and play without prior knowledge or any kind of intellectual investment.
We’ve been running this studio for 13 crazy years full of ups and downs, but one thing this bumpy road has supplied us with (other than the hard earned scars of gamedev combat) is a strong sense of who does what. So once development of Hellfront started we all had our roles firmly figured out, so the concept took shape at the speed of light.
We’d be blasting new features into the game in the morning, spend most of the day playing with them and then, in more cases than not, throw the new features out before the workday was through. With a firm belief that the core gameplay mechanic was holy and that if a new feature didn’t align with it 100%, it didn’t belong in the game, we ended up with an extremely tight game loop, worthy of basing an entire game on.
And thus, Hellfront: Honeymoon, probably the world’s most intense twin-stick action strategy title ever conceived, was born.
During the final phase of our previous production, we’d been listening to a lot of synthwave music to keep the work tempo high and brutal, so looking to synthwave as a type of soundtrack for the next game was an obvious choice. We reached out to the awesome synthwave artist Megadrive, and once we put his tracks in there, it was obvious that the adrenaline-fuelled mayhem of his music was a match made in heaven for Hellfront.
Our original intention was to make a PvP game and just throw in the co-op and single player modes as a means of practicing, but it quickly turned out that playing co-op against the computer was a hell of a lot more fun than we expected. Also, when we added leaderboards, a whole new dimension was added to the game, and we found ourselves coming into the office every morning bragging about having beaten each other’s highscores. So, without the intention, we seem to have created an extremely fun speed-running game too!
Hellfront: Honeymoon will be available at PlayStation Store on December 19, so make sure to save the date. See you at the Hellfront!