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NOT A HERO Interview – Controlling Bunnylord! The Dev Process!

We announced today that NOT A HERO is coming to all PlayStation Platforms, as well as PC, Mac and Linux. A proper big, exciting, juicy deal that we could not be more ecstatic about! You can read more about this on the PlayStation Blog here.

As NOT A HERO will be our first PC release, and this is the Roll7 blog, we spoke with NAH's lead developer a bit about the development process and what it's like to be launching a game on Steam.

NOT A HERO is developed only by John Ribbins and Jake Hollands, unlike OlliOlli's slightly larger team.

We caught up with John to see how the development is going during this E3 frenzy.

Start by telling us something exclusive and awesome only for the Roll7 blog!

Right, well, I’ll tell you what we’ve just finished up. I can confirm that, effectively, Bunnylord is now a playable character in the game. I say effectively because you’re not really controlling him like you would Steve, or Cletus or any of the other characters in the game, but you’re guiding Bunnylord to complete missions. It’s super cool.

Generally, it’s under the pretense of Bunnylord doing something nice for someone, but then ending up murdering ‘em.

Whoa, amazing. How I have I not seen this yet?! Okay, next question. What is it like being in a two-person team for NOT A HERO?

It’s going really well. The big thing is that it’s different to OlliOlli. You know, when you’re in a bigger team and you want to make a change, big or small, you’re ruining six people’s lives when you decide to go through with it. Whereas when it’s with two people, it’s more like; ‘you up for making this massive change? Yeah, okay, cool, let’s ruin our lives together for a little bit.’

The thing is, obviously, it is super, super tough, solely due to the fact there really is only two of us. I mean, never take for granted the benefits of a big team. It’s always nice to bounce ideas around a room of brilliant people to help solve a problem you might be having.

Are you and Jake more or less on the same page with NOT A HERO?

I think it’s quite interesting… Initially, if we needed something, I would just ask Jake to do it and he would do it no problem. But now he started being like, ‘What if we do this? What if we do that?’

He has started coming up with great ideas. Ideas that seem completely left-field, but when you hear them, you’re like ‘Oh yeah, that would be really cool.’

It’s really nice to be collaborating on a project with someone and you’re like ‘Oh man, I wish I thought of that.’ There’s a little, you know, one-upmanship going on sometimes. ‘Oh you had a really great idea, now I have to have a really, really great idea too!’

So, tell us, what is NOT A HERO really, truly about?

NOT A HERO is about how you end up having to play the game. If you compare it to a lot of other 2D, side-scrolling shoot-em-ups, they tend to be run and gun games, where you hold the button down; you jump in and murder everyone. Our game is not like that.

In those games you have a health bar – you have health packs, stuff like that, things that make it easier. Whereas in NOT A HERO, you’re not this heroic figure where you can run in and murder everyone easily. You can only get shot as many times as the enemies.

When you’re playing, your ammo is super limited, you take ages to reload and you’re open and vulnerable when reloading. You’re basically the most average dude on any given level.

The game has got a great aesthetic. How do you think the aesthetic has developed?

I suppose, the actual art and style… that comes from Jake and his approach. I kind of just draw stuff – I need a door, I’ll draw a door. With Jake, when he came on board, we really wanted something that was both aesthetically nice but also really functional. We really needed to communicate visually what is cover and what isn’t cover. We need to communicate there is a door in this wall, that kind of thing.

It’s becoming really cool now, because basically, there are Four Districts in the City and they all have different colours. All our demos are pink right now but that’s only because we’re on first of the four districts. Vodkaville is purple, Bredrin Park is green, Sushi Central is red and Barrington Court is blue. Once we move onto the others districts, you’ll see they all have their own colour scheme.

Character-wise, it was basically whatever we could draw. Not in a bad way, of course, but the actual characters of the game haven’t changed in how they’re drawn shaded since the original Alpha version of the game. I always thought they were kind of rough and ready, but a lot of people really enjoyed them and liked the silliness of them so… okay. They’ll stay then!

NOT A HERO will be Roll7’s first game on Steam. Are you ready?

I’m a PC gamer, and I’ve been a PC gamer for something like 20-years now, so in a way it’s nice to be releasing on PC, and definitely, it is super cool to be releasing on Steam. I’ve got something crazy; I’ve got maybe 110-115 games on Steam. I play a lot of PC games. I play a lot of indie games. It’ll be really cool to put something out there and join the fray. I see it as my home platform, definitely.

Have you put any thought into the Steam-exclusives, such as Trading Cards?

In an ideal world, we’ll do everything. Jake wants to do everything. We want to do those. There’s a lot of scope with NOT A HERO. We’ve built an Editor for dev purposes, so we could put that onto SteamWorks… so people could build their own levels. That would be super cool. Maybe.

It’s all still early though. We only got our first build onto Steam last week. In fact, we all got our developer access then too. Now we can upload our beta on there and stuff and people can actually start testing it.

We’ve only just finally opened our eyes to this stuff, honestly, and now we can see what we’re doing. So at the minute, it’s a little bit like being a kid in a sweet shop. We’ve been saying to each other, ‘Ohh, there’s the page where we make the trading cards! There’s the tab where we set up all the Achievements.’ It’s really cool.

We need to work out what we’re going to do. Ideally, we’ll do everything. I’ve only spent like, one day far thus far looking around the back-end and seeing how Steam works, so… we don’t even know how hard it’s going to be to do it yet!

Once we’ve had a look, and fingers crossed it’s not too hard, we should be able to do it all. No promises though.

Release still early 2015, right?


Thanks John!