Recently we had a chance to sit down with both Jamie Cheng – Founder of Klei Entertainment, co-creator of Shank and Jeff Agala – Creative Director at Klei Entertainment, co-creator of Shank to get the scoop on what you can expect from the upcoming title for the Xbox Live Arcade as well as the PlayStation Network. Get ready for a taste of the mayhem to come.
“With Shank we tried to develop a more mature feel for the game,” says Agala. “So we went back to all of the comic books I used to read as a kid, especially the work of Jack Kirby (X-Men, The Hulk), who was a big inspiration for the look of Shank. He was our main source for kind of getting that nice mature feel. We also referenced a lot of the old pulp movies from the Seventies as well as the more recent stuff that Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez have been doing like From Dusk Till Dawn, etc. We wanted to capture both the violence and the playfulness that those movies had.”
“A lot of painstaking work went into animating the characters in our game,” Agala adds. “For it to look good in 2D every single transition from one pose to another had to be animated by hand. We actually had to build several custom tools to make sure that it would all come together in the end.”
“We spent a lot of time making sure that the animation wouldn’t come at the expense of the gameplay,” says Cheng. “The first few months of development was spent basically just moving Shank around to make sure that everything looks and plays great. In the end we were adamant that these elements complement each other rather than having it be a trade-off.”
“Shank is a more mature and gritty game than other properties that have that stylized look to them,” Agala continues. “That’s what’s going to differentiate it from the pack of similar looking games out there. I was doing a lot of children’s properties for a while, and I really wanted to stray from that. Knowing that this was going to be a very violent game, we wanted to get away from that super cartoony look. We took it to the point where there’s so much detail onscreen that it almost looks like an animated graphic novel. In the end that was our ultimate goal.”
Shank tells a classic betrayal story directed through a sophisticated cinematic lens with addictive action gameplay found in classic 2D side-scrolling games.
Look for Shank on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network available for download on August 24th and August 25th, respectively. Check out some new concept artwork below.
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