Interview with Cereal Games - Pecaminosa
Just recently, we featured Cereal Games’ Pecaminosa on our Kickstarter Project of the Week series. With their Indiegogo campaign still active at the time of this article, we thought we’d reach out and CEO and Game Designer Lázaro Raposo was kind of enough to sit down with us for a chat.
Alex: Please tell us a little bit about Pecaminosa.
Lázaro: Pecaminosa is a Police Action RPG, with a pixel art aesthetic and a ‘noir’ atmosphere. The player will take on the role of John Souza, a luso-descendant ex-detective, fallen from grace, exploring the streets of Pecaminosa. Yes, Pecaminosa is the name of the city where our story takes place in, a blend of Las Vegas with a Chicago from the end of the 40s.
It also has an original “jazzistic” soundtrack. Jazz and Pixel Noir are the perfect ingredients to tell this intriguing story.
A: How much can you tell us about the game’s plot?
L: John Souza, while he was busy doing absolutely nothing, with a lit cigarette and the ever-present bottle of bourbon, is visited by a ghost from his past: Charlie “Two Angels”, a notorious mobster, killed by none other than Souza himself. Charlie comes asking for Souza’s help in capturing his former associates, in a sort of attempt at divine redemption. Without getting into more detail, considering the narrative is one of our stronger points, obviously there will be a lot unfolding behind the curtains, as there always is in the genre. Web of intrigues, “femme fatales”, clichês, humor and narrative twists. So get ready for all of that!
A: What made you want to create a twin-stick noir shooter?
L: The idea from the very beginning was to create an Action RPG. I’m a big fan of Action RPGs… turn-based, on the other hand, not so much. The ‘noir’ thematic was also part of our initial vision, so much so, that the game eventually became a “Twin-stick shooter”, considering the game’s ambience suggests the use of Tommy-Guns and shotguns, for example. In its genesis, it is effectively an RPG with classic RPG elements.
A: How in-depth is the poker mini-game?
L: Casino games come as complementary game experiences. Not only Poker, but we also have Black Jack. The player can choose to spend all of his loot at the casino tables. By the way, a small curiosity: the monetary unit for our game are “chips”. The same chips that the player uses at the casinos, can be used to buy supplies at stores, and are the same chips that enemies drop when they are defeated!
A: Please tell us about the L.I.F.E mechanic and how that affects the gameplay?
L: Our L.I.F.E system represents Luck, Intelligence, Force and Endurance. Each time the player levels up, he receives 2 points to spend on any and each of these attributes. A clear inspiration from old-school RPGs.
Variations on the evolution of L.I.F.E. attributes will alter the gameplay experience. Luck increases your loot chances and the probability of scoring critical hits and Force increases your max HP and damage done with melee weapons, for example.
The player will have to choose what is most attractive to him at the time, but will also have to have in consideration that different attribute combos will provide the player with different Perks, like immunity to poison, or a special attack of molotov cocktail rain.
The player will also be able to equip different sets of clothing that will affect the player’s L.I.F.E. attributes. For a Pixel Art RPG, we managed to build a good visual mechanism to change clothes (you are also able to mix and match the different clothing pieces to your leisure).
A: Was the pixel art style intended from the beginning or was that decision made later in Pecaminosa’s development?
L: Ever since the start. It’s a style of aesthetics that really speaks to me. And the joining with the ‘noir’ genre was another decisive factor for the adoption of this style. Given the context Cereal Games was inserted at the time, it’s easy to understand, because we had just finished developing a serious game… in pixel art.
A: The campaign trailer states that the game is set in an “… Open-Ended City”. What can we expect from that description?
L: Open-Ended city means it is an Open World by the classic definition of the expression, although, in reality, the player ends up being confined to the city’s limits and some neighbouring areas.
A: Does the game’s dialogue options create branching paths?
L: Yes, and the L.I.F.E. system will have a direct impact in these same dialogues.
A: What does Pecaminosa mean in English?
L: Pecaminosa means “Sinful”. It is our own version of a “Sin City”. At an early stage, it was merely the name of the city, but we knew early on of the power the name had and we ended up dubbing our whole game “Pecaminosa”.
A: From your campaign trailer, it seems as though Cereal Games, for an indie studio, is made up of a large team. Are you working on Pecaminosa full time?
L: Basically yes, we are focused on Pecaminosa. This is not the first game Cereal Games has developed, and our earlier projects have enabled us to build up the necessary conditions, so that now, we can invest much more of our time in this game. I can say that precisely 1 year ago, we were only 3 people strong.
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A: Why was Nintendo Switch your first choice of platform after PC/Mac/Linux?
- Have you released a game on Nintendo Switch before in the past?
- How was that process approaching Nintendo to get your game on their console?
L: For several reasons; because of the console in and of itself, because of the game library it possesses and because of its importance in representing the Indie sphere. Early on, it was obvious we were heading in that direction, but we couldn’t make any announcements before we had confirmation of the fact, and it still was process that took its time. Naturally, it will be a challenge for us, considering it is the first time we will develop for the Nintendo Switch.
A: Do you have any plans for exclusive Switch features (e.g. HD Rumble, touchscreen, etc.)?
L: As of right now, no. Our game is sure to pay its dividends by being played on the Switch, as it was initially envisioned to be played on a controller pad. Along the development process, we started to work on Mouse and Keyboard input, but the foundations for the analog sticks and remaining buttons are still there. Exclusive Switch features will be thought up further down the line. One step at a time.
A: Can you please tell us a little bit more about how Pecaminosa‘s development has been coming along, if there have been any challenges and how it stands in early 2020?
L: Of all the setbacks and birthing pains that usually make up the day-to-day life of this activity, I have to acknowledge that our biggest challenge yet is ongoing right now with the COVID-19 situation. It caught us smack-dab during the middle of our crowdfunding campaign and the team is currently quarantined. It will shake global economics, that’s a fact. We are continuing our work, but we have our sights set on the horizon for things to come.
A: In regards to your Kickstarter campaign at the moment which we are about halfway through, has that been reaching your expectations?
L: Our Indiegogo campaign is currently within our expectations. We managed to amass 75% in just 12 hours. From then on, our growth has been slow, but steady. At the time of this interview, we have 91%. In reality, we are not asking for much, but we also had to build our fan-base from scratch, so having a bigger goal would’ve been unwise.
A: Can you tell us more about each Stretch Goal and what we could expect?
- If a stretch goal isn’t met, do you plan on adding these features in at later dates?
L: Our first stretch goal will be to include Voice Acting. Given the type of game, it would never be an integral part of it, merely circumstancial lines for our protagonist and bosses. The second is, personally, one of our more interesting ones: a limited edition of our soundtrack in vinyl format. As a collector and musician myself, it is something I’d like to have on my hands. The third stretch goal gives us leeway to implement Multiplayer Poker. In the end, it is almost like a brand new game mode. And lastly, we would implement a Side Quest that has been thought out since our project’s inception, but ended up being cut as of the current development phase. Any of these features are possible to be delivered in the future, even if the we do not meet the stretch goals. We do, however, have to guarantee we have the necessary conditions to do it.
A: Is there anything you’d like to say to backers or to people who are on the fence about backing?
L: I’d say it’s a good investment for the folks that like this genre of game, as you will be able to acquire it for a lower price and still get some extra goodies. All depending on which pledge you choose, of course.
A: When can we expect to play Pecaminosa on Nintendo Switch?
L: I’d like to say it will be available by the same time as the other platforms. But I’ve always been careful with these types of statements, and the reality is, right now, everything is still very fresh. But looking at how we’ve been working, I believe it will be available by the beginning of 2021.
A: Is there anything else that you’d like to say to our readers?
L: If you appreciate a good narrative, enjoy a smooth jazz, a nice ‘noir’ ambience and, above all, if you are a fan of RPGs, clearly this game is meant for you. That being said, your support in this phase of our crowdfunding efforts means a lot to us. Our goal is in sight, but we’re still a bit of ways away from meeting our stretch goals.
A: And where can our readers go to learn more about Pecaminosa and keep up to date with the game’s progress?
L: At this phase, I would say that the best way to learn more about our game is through our Indiegogo page. Due to motives related to the campaign, we have all the relevant information about Pecaminosa on the crowdfunding page, and it is always updated. As for the rest, you can check out our site at www.pecaminosa.com, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or interact directly with us through our Discord server!
A: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us today.
L: Thank you!
Thank you for checking out our Pecaminosa Interview and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
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