At PAX Aus 2019, we were fortunate enough to be able to speak with Andrew from Juicy Cupcake about their upcoming multiplayer party game – Brief Battles.
Alex: Hello everyone, this is Alex and I’m joined here by Andrew from Juicy Cupcake. How are you today?
Andrew: I’m doing really well, thank you.
Alex: Good to hear! Enjoying PAX?
Andrew: Definitely! It’s been getting busier on the third day every year, I think.
Alex: Please tell us about Brief Battles.
Andrew: Brief Battles is a couch multiplayer game where you fight your friends using superpowered underpants. We’ve actually already released it from May 7th this year on PC, PS4 and Xbox One but now it’s getting a Switch release that’s ready to go very soon.
Alex: And first off, why underpants?
Andrew: Why underpants? I haven’t been asked that for a while, actually [laughs]. It all started out with a little proof of concept platformer demo where one of our heroes (or Underwearian – Kevin) wore a little cape, a mask, some underpants and he ran around so we thought that maybe we should turn this into a party game. We then had four Kevins running around in underpants, eating melon at the time, and fighting each other without using powerups and we thought, “why don’t we turn the underpants into the powers?”. We then fully embraced the power of the butt.
Alex: How many characters and stages can we expect?
Andrew: We have 50 arenas in the multiplayer across five regions right now. For the launch on Switch, there might be more, we can’t say, we might have something else happening there. It’s all quite varied as well, nothing is procedural, and it’s all designed to make the game feel good. There are some easy arenas when you start out and after you’ve played around 50 matches, we start to include some with heaps of verticality and heaps of roof-play to make things a bit trickier. For the Underwearian lineup, we have six main character but you can also unlock cool crossovers like Yooka-Laylee, Goo from World of Goo, Bit.Trip Runner, Toto from Toto Temple Deluxe and a few more.
Alex: How did you go with licensing there?
Andrew: Yeah it’s pretty crazy, we get asked that all the time. However, it was pretty simple; we were halfway through our Kickstarter campaign, we just reached out to these indie developers and we just said, “hey, would you mind letting us have a crossover with Yooka-Laylee in our game?” and we got a response a day later from one of the guys who made Donkey Kong Country, their director, and he said that that was no worries at all. Each team was like that, actually, and I think that is all encapsulated in the indie spirit where they’re happy to be apart of it as long as it looks and feels good. But considering that we’d never released a game before, it was pretty insane.
Alex: Were you a Banjo-Kazooie/Rareware fan growing up?
Andrew: Yeah definitely, loved all of it!
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Alex: What special abilities can you use in the game?
Andrew: So all abilities come from your underpants. We do have a Panpound so if you’re naked, you can just use your butt with a nice classic stomp. We’ve got Icy Undies which is a range/fast ability; Flaming Hot Pants which, despite having a difficult arc to it, is really powerful; Buns of Steel slows you down but you get a really powerful Panpound and you have an unstoppable cannon that you can turn into; Underpants of Protection that you can use to get away or aggressively dash at someone; Toxic Tighty Whities are a sniper that you also need to run away from, you shoot them, stick a little goo thing to the wall nearby and you have about four seconds to get away before they explode… I feel like I’m missing more underpants but there will be more to come.
Alex: And is there a single-player or online mode in the game?
Andrew: There’s no online multiplayer but we do have single-player and co-op content. There are heaps of challenges to unlock special skins which contains a fair few hours of gameplay to which you can always hone your abilities. We’re mostly excited about the co-op where you can play with a friend – fight battles and bosses – which is what we want to focus on moving forward.
Alex: Brief Battles seems like a natural fit on Nintendo Switch, will there be any exclusive features (e.g. HD Rumble)?
Andrew: We haven’t really messed with HD Rumble, we’ve simply implemented the classic rumble for the feedback. The only real difference with the Switch version is that we’ve spent a little bit of time working on making it work up close; Brief Battles has a bit of a zoom lap so for playing the game portably, we made a custom tracking camera for solo content as well as slight improvements to make the game feel a little tighter. We’re happy with how it’s all come out and it’s running at 60 frames per second (fps) with the same graphical fidelity as the other systems. We’re really happy that we’ve been able to achieve that with the Switch as a lot of developers have had a rough time trying to hit 60fps without culling all of the detail.
Alex: That’s good to hear! Will the game work well with the Joy-Con’s simple button layout?
Andrew: Yeah, it does. I think that it’s way harder to play for me personally as I’m so used to the old Xbox controller, but the game definitely works nicely in Tabletop Mode with detached Joy-Cons.
Alex: Please tell us a little bit about Brief Battle’s development, its challenges and its progress with the Switch port in late 2019.
Andrew: The Switch porting is pretty much done so it’s all about finalising the release date and little bits and pieces here and there. We’ll have it out as soon as we can because there might be some delays towards the end of the year but if that’s the case, we may be able to squeeze in some more content.
Alex: We’d love to acknowledge everyone on the team, so who else has been working with you on Brief Battles?
Andrew: It’s a two-man team and we’ve worked on the whole lot together. The other member, Tim Tily, is a great guy who we’ve worked together for a few years now. We actually met at Dan Murphy’s (a liquor store) and worked together for a couple of years before we even spoke to each other [laughs]. Then one day I said, “hey, wanna make some games?”, we started talking about 3D stuff and here we are now.
Alex: What a fairytale story [laughs]! And is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Andrew: Perhaps follow the game’s progress on briefbattles.com, sign up to our newsletter and we’ll let you know as soon as the Switch release is on the way.
Alex: Fantastic! Thank you so much for your time today, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you for having me.
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