Brawlhalla: An interview with Blue Mammoth Games

Put your hands up and then on your chosen controller for one of the best 2D platform fighter games of the year. A game that allows for fun couch parties and online competitions from warriors across the globe.

In this corner: upcoming game of the year, undefeated, BRAWLHALLA!!!

This free to play game allows for a wide variety of play options as well as character selection and customization. It’s the kind of game you do not have to convince a friend to go that far out of their way to play. They can download and play it within a few minutes and if they like it, keep playing. This is the game that had me really looking forward to an interview with the people who created it and I could barely wait. Now you can see why I was so excited.

Blue Mammoth Games was first founded in 2009 by Lincoln Hamliton and Matt Woomer. Along with a stellar development team there is no surprise that their games are not only doing so well but so well made. For my interview I was able to sit down with Zeke Sparkes to get a better feel for the company and the game.

Sparkes said that they have a good mix of programmers and artists for the team. Zeke Sparkes, Executive Producer, for example has a record that consists of being the lead designer on the MMO Neverwinter. He joined the team in 2013. In total, they are a thirteen person team and have two games between them, Brawlhalla and Dungeon Blitz.

Sparkes said "since we are a small company we all wear many hats and that we love to make these games." He went on to say that they are striving to make clean games that aren't bogged down. The goal is to have an art style that is similar to a 2D Saturday morning art style. "It's a throwback to how games used to be."

Brawlhalla spread from their first game, Dungeon Blitz in 2011. They began to add more to Dungeon Blitz but as time went on they realized that the new content could be its own stand-alone game and Brawlhalla was born. The game has grown to include online and off-line play as well as a competition and a ranking system for the players. Sparkes said, "We hope to attract everybody by making it as accessible and easy to get into as possible. The game can take a while to master but it’s still fun right off the bat. It’s a game you can play with your kids or with your friends in the dorms."

BattleWhen I asked about the storyline of the game but when Sparkes spoke about it for a bit I felt like I should have figured it all out before - It's pretty self-explanatory. The lore and storyline is not nailed down right now but there is some. The developers wanted a wide variety of characters and the idea of having the best warriors of time come together and fight forever was the underlying theme. Valhalla - In a sense.

Now, you must be asking "But why is there a minotaur and space pirates in Valhalla?" Sparkes had an answer; “It shouldn't be limited to one era, people from all time and places have fought and earned this honour, so why should they be excluded from Valhalla.”

A wide range of characters is something that is important to the team so that there is something for everyone. At the moment there are 14 different characters that populate this game. They range from the well-aged and undefeated Viking Bödvar to Queen Nai an Amazonian warrior, to even Orion a strange technologically enhanced warrior.

This list of 14 will surely grow in the future. Each character offers different attack strength and defensive statistics so that no character is the same or over powered. Each character also has their special weapons and items that are specific to them and their play style.

Battle 1With such a diverse group of fighters their weapons are just as diverse; there are swords, guns, rocket lances, and bouncing bombs to name a few. They wanted to make sure it stayed fun and light-hearted because they were not shooting for a gritty game; I believe that hit that mark. Sir Roland for example has may have a low speed ranking but he has access to a rocket lance, yes a rocket lance, and a sword.

When you start the match all the characters have no weapons, but as the game progresses items are dropped from the sky for your character to pick up. You have the option of getting one of your two weapons or items.

Aside from just weapons being dropped, special items are too. A land mine can be dropped or a spiked ball, for instance. When the land mine is thrown it sticks to the ground until someone walks over it and then it explodes. A horn is another option for help. It is dropped and when blown it can have a flying protector bring you a weapon and knock everyone in its path down.

Battle 2The scenic backgrounds complement the idea of a wide area and time span. Each one can be more difficult than the other and as interesting. In the background of every map there are angelic warriors who will bring you items and more importantly whenever you are knocked from the map they will fetch your body and bring you back to the fight. Each battle takes place high in the sky on machine battlegrounds or Aztecan ruins or some other worldly location. You must balance fighting your enemy while not falling to you doom.

Overall, this game offers a well-balanced and exciting game that is fitting for all ages. Blue Mammoth Games is hoping for a release date sometime in 2015. The largest factor will depend on the features and the community. Once it goes into full operation they will fix a few last minute issues and then the game will release but it will not stop there. There are a large amount of things they want to keep adding in like storyline and more characters. Needless to say, they will continue to support their game even after release (Good on you Blue Mammoth!)

So, if any of you play this game and love it as much as I do you should definitely show it support when, if it ever comes up for an award. This is the kind of game that truly deserves many badges and trophies, so show them the same love that they have shown, and continue to show, to their community.

Finally, I asked what he wanted his fans to know and I will let him finish off this article. “We pay attention and we learn what the community wants the game to be. Once it's in the wild it's up to the community to decide what they want it to be and we are lucky enough to keep adding to it. We are on a long journey with this game and I like that we work with the community to create this game."

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