Co-Optimus: What’s been your main focus in creating a game that’s been inspired by such a well-known franchise? Are you trying to capture that particular feeling and style of jumping in those games (along with iconic sound effect), or has it been more of nodding the hat?
Chris: Control and gamefeel are big focuses of ours. It's important to us that anyone who grew up with the MMX games (specifically MMX1-4) feels right at home with I; we've changed a ton of the underlying systems that make up the Mega Man formula, but that core gameplay is very similar.
Co-Optimus: What’s been the toughest aspect of development thus far? Are there particular mechanics that sound simple on paper but end up taking a lot more time to get just right?
Chris:: Netcode is not fun to debug. I don't know if it's the hardest part of development, but it's definitely the part that sucks the most when something goes wrong. (Yes, 20XX's co-op works online via Steam!)
Many mechanics need more work than they initially seem to. I've lost count of the number of iterations we've put into lots of the platform types, and especially into the controls.
Co-Optimus: The Mega Man series has been, typically, single player only. You’ve added co-op, both couch and online, to 20XX. How does co-op work in this game?
Chris: Right now, co-op is mostly about having an extra player there when fighting off baddies, and having someone to mess up your jump because they triggered that falling platform, getting you killed. We're fiddling with adding some co-op specific mechanics, but they feel a bit against the spirit of the game in their current iteration.
Co-Optimus: Are there any special abilities that are triggered between you and your buddy?
Chris: Not yet! We're adding a New Super Mario Bros.-esque bubble for Casual Co-op in case one of the two players is having trouble getting across a platforming section, though.
Co-Optimus: When playing online with someone, is there anything that would carry back into their game? Any progress or unlocks?
Chris: Yup! Progression in online co-op is much like single player or local co-op. As you play, certain elite foes will drop Soul Nuts, which you use to unlock more stuff to drop in future runs (or start with, if you're playing the brand new Casual Mode).
Co-Optimus: How has your experience with Steam Early Access been so far?
Chris: It's been amazing. Over the past months, we've built a community of players that has consistently given us honest, constructive feedback every time we've patched the game (every other week!) since we entered Early Access. I really appreciate the time our community members take to write up their thoughts about recent changes (or what changes they'd be interested in seeing) – 20XX is a better game for having had their feedback. We can't implement everything that gets suggested (for lots of reasons), but we read and consider every single piece of feedback that comes our way.
I can't imagine blindly launching 20XX without having gone through Early Access first. (Thanks, community!)
Co-Optimus: What are your favorite co-op games?
Chris: I love this question – so many answers! When I was a kid, I loved Super Smash TV, Secret of Mana, and Battletoads. (Honorable mention to NES TMNT and the Simpsons arcade game.) Much of my teenage years and early 20s were lost to Ultima Online, Everquest, and WoW (maybe not traditional co-op games, but totally co-op games nonetheless). My most recent favorites are probably Hammerwatch and Risk of Rain.
We'd like to thank Chris for taking the time to talk with us and answer our questions. 20XX is available via Steam Early Access for $11.99