We Interview Nic from MakinGames and Developer of Raging Justice
Raging Justice is a modern take on the 2D scrolling brawler that pulls the classic genre kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
In a city held to ransom by a mysterious crime lord, two maverick cops, Nikki Rage and Rick Justice, fight to prove that no one is above the law.
Raging Justice is launching 8th May 2018 across Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam (PC and Mac) after.
Hi Nic and welcome to your first interview with GaminGuys on the actual site (as opposed to YouTube). We’ve been following your game progress on Raging Justice for a while now, since EGX a couple of years ago. It looks like you are finally about to release – so my very first question is ‘are you shattered’? lol
Totally shattered, this has been a heck of a journey, plenty of late nights, but coming towards release now although it’s scary, it’s also quite exciting! After years we’re now only a week and a half from the ‘end of the beginning’, as we’ve plenty of stuff we’d like to do with Raging Justice after launch but we need a little holiday first I think.
One thing I haven’t really ever spoken with you about is the team, I guess a lot of it has been behind the scenes so who’s involved in MakinGames and can we get a bit of info regarding the roles each of you has played?
Yeah, no problem… So, MakinGames is Anna and Myself, Anna handles the production and business side of game development for Raging Justice. From sorting out our schedule and keeping everyone informed of what’s going on to organising events and sorting out interviews. I’m the programmer on Raging Justice, the one responsible for implementing things in the game, designing the gameplay and tweaking the feel. The other part of the dev-team for Raging Justice is the two guys we’re collaborating with. Jay Howse is our artist, he’s the one that has designed every stage, every character, all the moves and animations. Steve Burke is our audio guy, he composed and performed all the music for Raging Justice, he designed and implemented the sound effects. Heck, every thug you punch, you’re hearing Steve’s voice, maybe pitch-shifted, otherwise altered, but it’s Steve grunting or groaning as you pummel a thug.
We’ve been friends with Steve and Jay for years before starting Raging Justice, I worked together with them at Rare, working on Kameo Elements of Power.
When I first met you at EGX, Anna was pregnant and I thought you had a big battle to find time to be a father (again) and develop a game, what was it like looking back and did it cause any struggle in day to day life for you?
Just before that EGX we’d (2 and a bit years ago) decided that we HAD to finish Raging Justice in the few months remaining until the baby came along. We planned on having it done and out before he came along… but ‘life’ happens and we didn’t. We decided then that we’d take a six month break from the hours we were doing, moving it onto the back-burner, as it was very hard to do anything worthwhile as we were sleep deprived!
It’s been tough, even as the little one has grown, we have to find time for family before the game, which has been one of the main reasons it’s taken the extra time to get to this point but over the last year we’ve definitely found more time for Raging Justice, it’s still a balance, a difficult one to strike, but a balance.
Yeah I can imagine it must have been hard having fathered two myself. Yet here you stand on the brink of publishing day and seem to have covered all major platform bases, with others yet to come. Were there times you almost decided to focus on a particular platform or was the plan linear? Surely Nintendo Switch was an addition in itself?
We’re a small team and we have a huge responsibility within the team. It’s not like we have a group of programmers to take up any slack, or someone to give us holiday-cover, we have to just get on with it, but at least we’ve been lucky, in, that time is something we’ve had… keeping a day-job meant financial pressures to release quickly have been kept to a minimum. We originally planned on Xbox One and PC, mainly because I’ve history with Xbox, working at Rare and with the Xbox team on the Avatars. The longer plan was to bring Raging Justice to all platforms we could, the more the better, but we’d thought that having only me as the programmer, and having our own codebase meant that more than one console would be too much work but then we signed with a publisher, and their advice was that a multiplatform launch was the ideal. The game was 95% complete, we decided that we’d ‘crunch’ a bit, port to Switch and PS4 and delay a couple of months from our planned release.
Before the little one was born, there was a spare room we could use as an office, since… well I guess ‘bedroom programmer’ is a term from the 1990’s for all the little start-ups that came from the Spectrum or BBC, it would also be an apt term for me 🙂 Though we’ve moved the desk now to a different room so I could work much later to get all the bugs fixed. Another aspect of signing with a publisher was having proper QA (the game is much better for it!).
Porting the game to Nintendo Switch was nice and easy, I got the game running in a couple of days, and it was a case of ‘just’ getting the various specific bits like game-pads and save-games working correctly. PS4 was a bit more work to get running right, but only a week or two… I’d done most of the tough work getting the engine to support Xbox – having split out code and features that would be platform specific between PC, Mac and Xbox One.
So how have you been keeping bills at bay if you have continued a day job?
My day job is as an app developer, so still a programmer, at a bespoke app developer called preciousbluedot. It’s not games, but its a company formed by ex-games people so we have a very ‘game-dev’ attitude to how we do things.
So moving onto the game, when and why was the idea born? I get the style of arcade play and that Streets of Rage is a superb game, but why ‘You’ and ‘How’ did that thought start?
Jay came up with the idea of doing a beat ’em up while we were talking through various ideas, he’d recently made a shoot ’em up for iPhone at the time and wanted to try doing a different classic arcade genre. We’re both huge fans of the arcade brawlers from Double Dragon to Vendetta and the Punisher and we felt it was a genre that seems to be ‘evergreen’ (Streets of Rage is always in lists of fondly remembered games). Therefore we decided to start putting together our own take on the genre, to try to take the nostalgia we have for the games and turn that into a modern take on the arcade beat ’em up.
Originally, I believe we were introduced to 2 heroes / Protagonists but now I hear we have 3. Is that correct? and why did you ‘up the ante’?
One of the main requests from players at shows like EGX or PlayExpo was for an additional character, and it was the second bit of feedback Team 17 (our Publisher) gave us when we signed (the first being make it a multiplatform release). So we put our heads together and decided that we needed a new, younger, character. One that felt different to the others, but fitted right into the action we have and Ashley was ‘born’. A fast, nimble, scrappy fighter with some 80’s-film-inspired moves like the ‘crane kick’.
Well I hope Ashley has a Tractor license 🙂 What made you choose to publish with Team 17? Was it a natural choice for an independent Developer or were there contributing factors that you could share with other new starter Devs that may be on a similar road? (pardon the Tractor – Road pun)
We decided at the last EGX that we needed a publisher because things had changed in the videogame market. There were so many games coming out that it was getting difficult for indie games to get noticed. We were lucky to get offers from a few different publishers but Team 17 seemed to make sense for us as they are fairly local to our area and we had met them before. We had also heard great things about them from other developers.
For those unfamiliar, the game has an ‘Arrest Warrant’ System, could you give us a quick overview of how it’s designed to work and maybe how it’s best utilised? Or does the Player need to decide that bit for themselves?
The arrest warrant gives you options. You can beat ’em up as normal, weapon KO them as bad cop or arrest as good cop. Bad cop gives you extra points in the form of cash and good cop gives you a health bonus. If you arrest all the warrants on a level you get an extra life. If you weapon KO all the warrants you get a shotgun. The route you choose also gives you a different ending.
If you’re in a bit of a pickle and your health bar is running low, arresting someone can give you a food boost so it can be a good tactic to use. Arresting people requires a little more thought than punching your way through the levels, because you need to stun them first before you arrest them. You have to be aware of the baddies around you and get the timing right so you don’t get knocked out of the arrest. It adds a new planning level of play to the game.
It’s been a great chat and thanks for your time Nic and Anna. Hope that gives our readers some insight to the game and we wish you the best of luck on release.
Raging Justice will be available to buy May 8th for £9.99 €12.99 $14.99 with a 10% launch discount for one week on all available platforms and all territories from this date.
P.S. We also advised them to look at merchandising which is now ongoing between MakinGames and Team 17 so fingers crossed…
GaminGuys are currently working on our Tournament section and are waiting for a couple of bug fixes before full launch and intend to run Raging Justice tournaments on the site so stay tuned for updates.