Xenocider progress update: Sakura’s Realm, physical edition covers, difficulty settings, and the last few levels
Time for un update on how Xenocider is shaping up. We recently met in Madrid for another work weekend, which is always fun as we all live in different cities away from each other. This means lots of planning and design work, lots of debugging, and lots of tess, tweaks, arguments, and pizza. Also not so interesting debates about operating systems…
From left to right, that’s Abel (Windows), Chui (Linux) and me (Mac). We all have our tastes, our “other jobs” and our preferred equipment to perform them, of course, but listening to a Linux loyal fan bashing a Mac user never gets old (actually, that’s a lie, it does). We also brought some other Dreamcast games with us to make sure Xenocider would look good next to them on any collector’s shelves. Oh, and Chui’s old and not-always-reliable Treamcast, which allowed us to load the game’s binaries via BBA, not needing to burn any more discs which is always a plus.
Of course, ignoring mundane and technical discussions, while working on the music for the final stage of Xenocider, Juanjo showed off a lot of equipment we don’t understand a thing about.
One of the objectives of this work weekend was to plan for the following months until and after Xenocider is finally released. When will this happen, I hear you ask? Although we could have kept the original (late June) release date, we’d rather polish and beta-test everything a thousand times and make sure it works flawlessly than rush the release just to meet the deadline. And that’s what we’re planning to do. We are now aiming for a Fall release.
The plan was also to do some pre-final tests of how the cover artwork for the different editions of the game will end up looking. It’s strangely satisfying how “real” the game feels when you just add the DC logo up there, whether it’s the japanese or the PAL layout.
One of the things that keept us up until late was an intense debate about the difficulty settings. We all played through the whole game several times as it is now, realizing there was a huge difference between one stage and another, regarding how many times the player would get hit (or killed).
But we confirmed there is enough of a learning curve, and that one can dramatically improve their score (and survival chances) through memorization, not unlike so many arcade classics from good old times.
Also just in case you didn’t know there was a whole new stage ready and playable (boss included), this is probably the hardest one we have put together so far:
This lead to the confirmation that some sort of upgrade store between stages for Xara to buy some extra equipment was a good idea from the start. As were the bonus stages, which will allow players to improve their scores and unlock such pieces of equipment… and/or game modes. So what the hell, let’s reveal one of them now!
After beating the boss guarding Sakura’s Realm, Xara must eliminate all remaining ninjas, in a 100% Shinobi inspired bonus stage! Final music is still in the making, so we’re currently using the original tune from the Shinobi arcade just for fun. Don’t sue us just yet, Sega! 🙂
Work on the last couple of stages is underway, too. Abel felt like sharing these teasers on Facebook, which feature some parts of a new environment that can be described as a volcanic cave.
Last but not least, we have updated the main images for every edition of the game in our store with real photos featuring the new cover artwork. Also including a mockup of how the pre-order exclusive poster would look if you choose to frame it 😉
Personally I’ve always liked the simple, japanese layout and regular jewel case, if only because my Dreamcast and all my games are japanese (or indie releases with a JP style layout). According to Chui, though, the blue logo makes for the best design! Perhaps collectors agree, as the PAL Edition has been sold out for a while now.
Only 7 copies of the Steelbook Edition are available as I write these lines, by the way. Don’t forget the aforementioned exclusive poster will be included with all orders placed until release!