The "Dimension Shellshock" DLC for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge recently arrived on console and PC, adding new playable characters, an addictive co-op survival mode, and more. To learn more about the decision-making and co-op balance behind both the main game and "Dimension Shellshock," we spoke with Frederic Gemus, Game Designer at Tribute Games.
Co-Optimus: Thanks for taking the time to visit our interdimensional compound for this obviously in-person interview. First, could you tell us a little about your experience in game development and some of your favorite beat ‘em up and non-beat ‘em up games?
Frederic: I’ve been working in the videogame industry as a Game Designer for over 16 years now! I started my career at Ubisoft Montreal, where I worked on varied franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Rainbow Six Siege, Far Cry, and even Just Dance. [I] joined Tribute Games four years ago. I’ve been a retro gaming fan forever, so it only made sense to me to join them since we share the same passion!
As for some of my favorite games, I’m a big fan of The Simpsons arcade game for its fun multiplayer and simple mechanics, the Streets of Rage series for its slick combat and cool realization, and the TMNT II The Arcade Game on the NES for its unique take on the fast-paced arcade gameplay! Outside of the beat’ em up genre, the Mega Man X series on the SNES, Super Metroid, Rocket Knight Adventures, the Castlevania series, and the Sonic the Hedgehog series are probably all pivotal parts of the reason why I became obsessed with making video games!
Frederic Gemus of Tribute Games
Co-Optimus: Before we discuss the “Dimension Shellshock” DLC, let’s focus on the main game itself. After a successful launch, Shredder’s Revenge received new features like custom games and selectable character color palettes. Can you talk about the process of gathering player feedback and deciding which features and tweaks to implement post-release?
Frederic: Every time we release new games or content, our teams spend a lot of time reading the feedback online and in our Discord servers in order to see what our players think. I think this is the main reason why every piece of work we do is so well received! We review all of these points of feedback and discuss them as a team, decide which should be addressed, and how to address these based on our plan. We can’t obviously answer every request, but we do our best to respect both our community and what we want to do!
Co-Optimus: Shredder’s Revenge features a variety of bosses drawn from the 1987 TMNT cartoon, Playmates toy line, and other sources. Among those bosses is Wingnut, a flying alien bat who appears in the “Panic in the Sky” level. Wingnut traditionally appears alongside his partner, Screwloose the mosquito. Why doesn’t Screwloose show up in the boss battle?
Frederic: This is a tough one! We thought about having both of them, just like in the cartoon, but ended up deciding to only have Wingnut alone in the end. For the nature of the boss fight, we thought it would work a bit better since the attack patterns we wanted to have for this fight only made sense for a single character (like the dives, or the missile attacks). Plus, we wanted this fight to be more of a “reactive” one, where players would need to dodge many projectiles, and we thought that having two “targets” for this fight might steal away the focus. In the end, we looked at TMNT: Tournament Fighters on the SNES, which also featured Wingnut alone, and thought that it wouldn’t be tragic if we did the same. Sorry, Screwloose! We did, however, add him as a cameo in one of the dimensions we visit in Survival Mode!
Co-Optimus: Oh yeah, it was nice to Screwloose in there. Now then, the Xbox, Windows Store, and Steam versions of Shredder’s Revenge support cross-play, but the PlayStation and Switch games don’t. Is there any chance that cross-play will come to those remaining platforms in the future?
Frederic: [That’s] something we'd like to accomplish at some point. However, considering the complexity and some technicalities, it's not currently on our road map.
Co-Optimus: Here’s hoping it’ll happen someday! Focusing on the present, the “Dimension Shellshock” DLC has just arrived on all platforms, adding two new playable characters and a survival mode, not to mention a ton of background cameos. How long did it take to create the DLC, and did it involve any development challenges?
Frederic: We started the development of the DLC not long after the release of the first title update. The team was smaller, but what we learned from the main game made us work a lot more efficiently. A new game mode that would have high replayability was our goal, and we iterated on many ideas to come up with the actual design for the Survival Mode: we did internal playtests every day for many months, tweaking, adding and changing the rules in order to come up with final gameplay. It was fun for me to work with the whole team’s input and feedback in order to craft the whole experience!