Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Developers Are Serious About Fighting Games


SpongeBob Squarepants' Patrick Star throws a belly flop against Ren & Stimpy's Powdered Toast Man.

Screenshot: Nickelodeon / GameMill Entertainment / Ludosity

Nickelodeon Star Brawl is to come To break– like this, despite its licensed nature, already sounds like a completely legitimate fighting game. Not only do the core developers have experience building their own popular platform fighter, they are also planning to implement a restore netcode for the best online experience. Kotaku had the chance to speak with folks from Ludosity, the studio behind Star brawl, on their hopes for a relaxed and competitive future.

Playfulness might not be a household name, but it landed in the spotlight thanks to the reveal of Nickelodeon Star Brawl earlier this week. The Swedish-based studio was founded over ten years ago and employs less than a dozen people. Ludosity has released several games during this decade, most notably the one from 2018. slap the city, a platform fighter in the vein of Super Smash Bros. which has even been featured in major To break community tournaments.

“Shortly after the success of slap the city, we were approached by Nickelodeon, ”said Joel Nyström, CEO of Ludosity. Kotaku by email. “At first I didn’t think it was real. You get a lot of weird emails and offers every week, so at first I rejected it as spam! “

The tiny studio eventually realized they weren’t scammed and got in touch with Nickelodeon, who laid out their plans for a platform fighter. Ludosity has developed a demo, and by early 2020 the developers were in production on Nickelodeon Star Brawl alongside co-developer Fair Play Labs from Costa Rica and publisher GameMill Entertainment.

This last name may not have inspired confidence in those familiar with his previous mediocre work on Nickelodeon-licensed games, but the niche community of competitive fighting game players immediately realized the enormity of the involvement. by Ludosity. Here is a group of people who had previously shown an intimate knowledge and familiarity with creating a proficient platform fighter, and they were tasked with making a game featuring classic cartoon characters like Sponge Bob SquarePants, Hi Arnold!, and Rugrats. It was almost too good to be true.

People took to the official Ludosity Discord channel after the Nickelodeon Star Brawl reveal to flood the developers with questions about the upcoming game. And they were more than happy to oblige, letting out little details about the project’s game mechanics and the use of the restore netcode.

Nigel Thornberry of the Wild Thornberries and Danny Phantom face off.

Screenshot: Nickelodeon / GameMill Entertainment / Ludosity

Elias “sinxtanx” Forslind, the chief designer who joined Nyström to answer our questions, was the most vocal; he explained that the team was inspired by both To break and their previous work on slap the city to imbue the version with aspects that would appeal to those used to playing these games at all levels.

“Yes slap the city played a bit like the old one To break Games, Nickelodeon Star Brawl definitely plays like his own thing, ”explained Forslind.

But Nickelodeon isn’t really interested in making a competitive fighting game, is it? Not that Nickelodeon Star Brawl needs that kind of formal mandate from its rights holders to spawn a dedicated community of top players, of course. I want to say, just watch Shrek SuperSlam. But the idea of ​​a massive cartoon chain wanting to break into the fighting game community was so out of the realm of possibility for me that when Ludosity cleared me up during our conversation, I was floored.

“Nickelodeon is absolutely in favor of making the game competitive,” Nyström said. “It’s been part of the conversation from the start. That’s why they came to us.

“My approach to the relaxed / competitive question is the same as with slap the city“Forslind added, responding to a follow-up question about the balance between the two.” When you make a game fun to play, anyone can have fun with it. That’s great for me because I don’t don’t have the crazy skills like competitive players, but I can still enjoy a lot of casual free matches in Nickelodeon Star Brawl. “

Nickelodeon also gave the studio surprising freedom in development. Nickelodeon Star Brawl, so much so that the developers say that very few of their suggestions were rejected.

The moveset and fighting style of each character, from Sponge Bob SquarePants‘Patrick Étoile at Ren and Stimpy‘s Powdered Toast Man, is entirely from the Ludosity team. If it has to do with gameplay, Nyström said, it was probably an idea that came to them. And while they’re obviously not ready to talk about the final roster size or DLC plans (“There’s some talk” about post-release media, I’m told), Ludosity has even been able to provide information on the selection of characters. It’s both surprising and encouraging that Nickelodeon is open to this kind of collaboration, a dynamic that bodes well for the game’s success outside of its built-in licensing potential.

Although it is a few months away from release, Nickelodeon Star Brawl already has a lot on his cartoon shoulders. Not only is it a promotional vehicle for a ton of classic and beloved Nicktoons, but also the added stress of bringing in a bunch of people for whom it seems like nothing is ever good enough in the gaming scene. competitive combat.

While still blown away by the overwhelmingly positive reception earlier this week, the folks at Ludosity seem to be garnering attention in the process. Developers still interact with budding Nickelodeon Star Brawl community on Discord – they had to open a new channel to keep the studio’s original space from being swamped with discussions about the new game – and get a very clear picture of what they hope to achieve with this ambitious project.

“Protecting Nigel Thornberry’s edges is a goal in itself,” Forslind joked, referring to the character’s status as a character. internet meme, before adding, “I hope this game can inspire others to continue experimenting with the platformer genre as well.” He’s over 20 now, but it still looks like a young genre, with a lot of potential. ”

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