When Gun Media announced they were working on Slasher Vol 1: Summer Camp, a gaming homage to Friday 13th, they never imagined that the creator of the film franchise would personally reach out and offer them the official title.
And so, what started as an independant slasher game has become an anticipated and innovative title, and the first chance ever to play as notorious bad guy, Jason Voorhees.
"The most difficult aspect of designing this is the survival horror in a multiplayer experience," says Creative Director, Kedhrin Gonzalez.
The game is a third-person, asymmetrical multiplayer.
"In Friday the 13th: The Game, the goal is not to 'beat Jason'. The goal is to survive at any cost. This means that even though you are on a team with other counselors, you can still be playing for yourself only," reveals Kedhrin. "We're looking at a more casual experience that is built all around having fun in a survival horror experience – not staring at a scoreboard."
Wes Keltner, co-creator of the game and Gun Media founder even managed to get SFX extraordinaire Tom Savini on board to help develop the look of Jason.
"Tom is known for his practical special effects and make-up," says Keltner. "That's why I wanted him. I've been watching his work on the silver screen since I was a kid. He made me believe what I was seeing.
"Doesn't matter if you're making a film, or making a game...it's still magic. You're still trying to immerse your audience. Tom will be working alongside the digital artists behind the game, helping them really push the envelope for blood and gore. Every gag Tom creates is rooted in reality."
When it comes to designing your game, and grabbing the attention of those all-important supporters, Wes and Kedhrin have 6 top tips for designing a game that'll get noticed…
01. Simplify your concepts
Wes explains that you need to focus your features/mechanics down to their most simple form. "So they can be implemented quickly AND described in one sentence. For Friday the 13th, it's pretty simple. It's a giant game of tag, except Jason Voorhes tags you with his machete.
"When you overcomplicate, you slow down creativity and your ability to get to the prototype stage. Which leads into the next tip…"
02. Remember: Seeing is believing
"Get to prototype as fast as humanly possible. Ideas sound great on paper and you can stare at your design doc for days. But none of that really matters until you can properly test those concepts," says Wes.
"You don't need worry with fidelity, lighting, sound, etc. Just get your ideas built immediately. And let other people poke at it.
"You may think you know how users will interact, but you will be surprised. You may even get a very novel idea, just from watching how players play your game."
03. Think outside the box
"Know your limitations early on but try to find shortcuts to maximize that as much as possible. Don’t roll over and say 'Man, I can't do that' out of the gates because you don’t have a 100 million dollar budget," advises Kedhrin.
"There are usually workarounds or ways to implement things that make almost anything possible. Your process is usually the most limiting thing you have. The thing I find the most exciting about game development is finding new techniques that achieve great results with low cost."
04. Be media aware
Ask yourself 'What is happening in the market currently?' encourages Wes. "Start by looking at what players are currently engaged in. What topics, within gaming, are the press discussing? This usually starts in the indie and mod scene.
"There are really innovative ideas for game features that come out of the mod community. There are some geniuses out there, seriously. But also just look at trends, overall.
"What's going on in the film industry? Keeping an eye on trends can really boost your inspiration and better align your project with what's going to be hot in a year."
05. Be a passionate expert
Wes says you really should be involved in the topic your game focuses on. Nothing says passion more than expertise - plus you will gain trust from genre fans.
"Know the subject matter intimately. You need to become an authority on the subject/setting of your game. If it’s a racing game, you should know cars and racing inside out.
"A medieval RPG? Take some classes on making armor/chain mail. Seriously. The more you know about the content, even the most subtle and intricate details, the better the end product will be. And others that are passionate will take notice."
06. Don't be afraid to ask!
"Surround yourself with smart people. I know that sounds like some B.S., self help book tip, but it's true. Find individuals that are just as passionate as you are," offers Wes.
"Hopefully they have a strength to counter one of your weaknesses. Even better if they have a track record delivering a product that is similar to your vision.
"I reached out to Tom Savini, Kane Hodder and Harry Manfredini long before the license came calling. I wanted to work with the best. I wanted talent that had been there, done that, and would help me overcome obstacles that I didn't see coming.
"That's the benefit of finding people with experience. It doesn't hurt when those same people, are icons in the industry!"
Friday 13th: The Game is currently in production, and you have 2 days left help support the project via Kickstarter – help them reach their target by their deadline (Friday 13th, of course!)
*Update* The Kickstarter has reached it's target, but you still have 2 days left to support the campaign and get some brilliant horror goodies!
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