It's a big year for Bomberman fans, with Super Bomberman R 2 finally coming out later this month. That game won't feature co-op, however, so it falls on other games to pick up the slack. One such game is the upcoming Dynablaster from BBG Entertainment. To learn more about Dynablaster's Bomberman-style gameplay and co-op features, we talked to Stephan Berendsen, Founder and Managing Director of BBG Entertainment.
Co-Optimus: Thanks for dodging countless bombs to reach our office for this decidedly in-person interview. First, could you tell us a little about your experience in game development and some of your favorite games?
Stephan: I started at the age of 16 with two friends at my first software company. We developed game software, programming languages, and tools for SHARP MZ home computers. In 2001, I started the mobile gaming company, Living Mobile. We licensed mobile games from Japanese companies like Hudson Soft, Capcom, Bandai, etc. and ported these games to European J2ME feature phones. After selling Living Mobile in 2005 to The Walt Disney Company, I started BBG Entertainment in 2008. Our first product was a science-based brain training game, Train Your Brain with Dr. Kawashima.
My favorite games are Boulder Dash, Sokoban, Chip´s Challenge, Pac-Man, and Tetris.
Co-Optimus: Can you tell us what everyone on the core team (outside of Intellivision) contributed to Dynablaster?
Stephan: Dynablaster (our first version from 2016 and our new version from 2023) was developed by the same core team. This team of three people is very experienced and has worked together for many years. [We also] had some excellent internal beta testers.
Co-Optimus: As for Intellivision, how did the partnership come about, and did anyone from Intellivision make significant contributions to Dynablaster’s development?
Stephan: When Intellivision announced their new Amico console, we liked the idea. We contacted [them] in 2019 because we wanted to port our games, like Dynablaster and Einstein Brain Trainer/Brainduel, onto the Amico. Intellivision sent us dev kits, and we started to port our games. During this porting process, the Intellivision team, especially Tommy Tallerico and Mike Dietz, gave us lots of feedback and great ideas to improve Dynablaster. Tommy had so many great ideas for new features, and Mike helped us a lot to improve all the visuals. Tommy even composed the music and sounds for Dynablaster.
Co-Optimus: It was good of them to help out! What inspired your team to resurrect the franchise?
Stephan: We love retro games. We already released our first Dynablaster version in 2016 for mobile (iOS and Android). All of us like to play this strategic multiplayer action game. Therefore, we decided to develop a completely new 3D version with local and online cross-platform multiplayer for PC and consoles.
Co-Optimus: Focusing on the new Dynablaster, is there an in-game story, or is this more of an arcade-style game?
Stephan: It is an arcade style game. There is no in-game story.
Co-Optimus: What are the game modes in Dynablaster?
Stephan: The game itself includes 50 levels [and] 5 different worlds: Garden, Warehouse, Forest, Desert, and Castle (inspired by the original Dynablaster).
It also supports the following modes:
Single player: Players can choose from either Tournament or Key Picker mode. In Tournament, gamers take on AI bots in intense time-limited 1-minute battles. When time is up, the game area gets smaller, so players need to apply even more strategy to survive. In Key picker mode, players must find and collect keys to win a game. There is no time limit, but they must still take on AI bots. (It's not necessary to destroy them to win the match, though.)
Multiplayer: Players can choose from either Tournament or Co-op mode. Tournament in multiplayer follows the same principles as in single player, only against real players. The goal is to reach 2500 points to win 2500 virtual coins. Co-op is also similar to single player’s key picker mode; gamers have to collect keys of their own color to win.