It is rare to find someone willing to take the effort to produce their own arcade game. Most developers, indie or not prefer to bring their efforts to a platform like the PC or a console these days. So when I come across the rare instance of an indie arcade game development, I like to try and find out as much about as I can. Not long ago I discovered the space combat game Galactic Front via youtube and now I have discovered the fighter Dark Presence by Galloping Ghost Productions. After two years of development efforts they are aiming to release this in 2008 and from what I have discovered so far, I think that fighting fans are in for a treat.
Now this sounds different that what you may have read about the game elsewhere. When checking into Dark Presence, I saw that a few blogs covered it back when it was announced in 06 (shortly before Arcade Heroes had begun) and the overall judgment on the game was quite negative, one even wrote that the game was “retarded”. This was all based upon the pictures of the characters and not upon anything else as things like actual gameplay, story and other points that have not been revealed yet. I decided to look into the game for myself and get some details and after contacting Galloping Ghost and getting a run down of the game directly from them in it’s current state and what they plan to do, I am impressed and I should say that you shouldn’t judge this game by it’s cover (or in this case, stills of it’s characters). It’s worth looking into some details about the game prior to passing judgment on it. To demonstrate how impressed I am with this game so far from what I have learned about it, I would feel comfortable putting it into my own arcade later this year as I think that fighting fans will appreciate it once they get a chance to play.
I am not at liberty to reveal everything that I have found out yet but we will make updates from time to time as we can. Hit the post break below for a rundown on some of the latest details, including some information not revealed on the official website or anywhere else for the game if you want to find out more.
First off, I can confidently say that this is not another “Tattoo Assassins”. For one thing it’s being developed by people that love fighting games and it’s also been in development for much longer than that game was. The sheer amount of work that has gone into digitizing characters and scenes is beyond any other fighter that I know of. The enormous number of frames that each character has along with the high resolution is enough to strain, if not completely surpass memory capacities of current gen consoles. Beyond smooth, detailed animation of each character, the backgrounds are also very detailed and animated as well. Players will be able to enjoy subtle things like grass blowing in the wind, trees reacting to the breeze, dust particles floating in the air, lighting effects, a new technique in parallax scrolling that makes a 2D background look like true 3D and more – in essence, those things that graphics fanboys love talking about but not something you see often in a 2D game these days. I have seen a brief video of the game in motion and it looks much better than in the stills. (The thumbnail shows a mock-up of the meters). Expect some videos of the game in action soon.
One of the most interesting aspects of the game is the finishing move system. Instead of generic moves and reactions that work on any character, they created finishing move sets that were completely unique to the two characters participating in the fight, which took a lot of filming and effort. Each character has 3 finishing moves which can be linked together for a more devastating attack. Also depending upon the finishing move used, it will actually affect the story of the game and how it unfolds for your character. This is one reason why the game has taken so long to develop – by using this system it came out with 437 final moves total, again each unique to the characters being played. If you were to watch nothing but the final moves, it would take two hours to go through all of it. The story line is quite detailed and expect the game to have multiple endings for each character, which are determined upon things like how you finish off certain opponents.
The game will display graphics in 1080p resolution and there will be four different cabinet variations, two of which will include a prize and a shock band function. The shock band is optional and delievers a very light, regulated shock to the person that looses a match, in the hopes of making players think out their matches a little bit more. In addition to this, the game will also feature a network connection so the game can be updated later on and it will feature seasonal and weather changes all tied to your locale. And finally the game will use a 5.1 surround sound system for a more immersive audio experience.
Again, this is just a little bit of a larger picture and you can expect some exclusive pics and video coming to the site about Dark Presence soon. We also will have details on the sequel to Dark Presence, Conquering Light, so stay tuned to Arcade Heroes for more.