Well, firstly I want to say a BIG thank you to everyone that came along to GEEK in Birmingham last weekend. The show was a GREAT success for Wulverblade as the reception it got was plain and simply AMAZING.
I barely slept on the draw up to the event with worry, as I’ve personally never shown anyone the game running, let alone opened it up for people to play at will. I was so nervous that people wouldn’t like it, or wouldn’t ‘get’ its retro roots, or wouldn’t feel at home with the controls. I was just super nervous.
But by god was I wrong there!
Seemingly everyone that had a play of the game came back for another go and some folks brought their mates back and others we’re literally playing the game all day on and off. I don’t think either the arcade or the big screen version sat stationary for more than 15 minutes the entire weekend, and that was from 10am – 9pm. There were even crowds and queues at points too.
The reaction the game got in 2 player mode LITERALLY made my year. I could see people smiling, laughing and ‘whoooow’ing all the way through. The fun that people were having was amazing to see. I stood by smiling like a Cheshire cat.
99.9% of people clicked with the controls immediately and were soon nailing mini combos and finding their own techniques, it was so good to see. We as a team have sunk the better part of a year into honing this combat system into what it now is, adding in features, removing others, and infinitely tuning the moves to ‘feel’ just right. I’ve come away from this show with literally NO changes to make to the main play mechanic and that is so rewarding (bar a little more leniency on projectile accuracy).
When we showed Wulverblade at GDC (which really, we probably shouldn’t have done) it was too early in development, way too early. Barely a 3rd of the moves were in there and the demo was choppy at best. But we came away from that show with a lot of lessons learned that it made it all worth it. This time around we showcased a condensed vertical slice of the game, so rather than showing a section of the campaign, we created some polished arenas (where you fight off waves of enemies) to allow people to just play the games core mechanic, as a taster if you will.
Well, what I never expected was that people enjoyed these little arenas that much that almost everyone said they would have been happy enough to take Wulverblade as it was there. After telling them that the arenas are basically ‘little extra’s’ everyone seemed really amazed. It did show that the arenas could well prove to be a popular feature in the game and an area that we’ll likely add some extra love and attention. I simply cannot wait to see people’s reactions to the campaign and story as that is what the game is all about.
One of the more reassuring aspects of the weekend were seeing Wulverblades reach. I thought our game was going to be enjoyed mainly by retro loving 30+ adults, with maybe a scattering of younger players getting in on the action, but man, was I wrong there. Turns out that not only the retro heads loved it, but kids ranging from 8 upwards couldn’t put it down and we even had a couple of pensioners jump in and enjoy it too. Amazing.
Ok, I’m rambling on WAY too much. Can you tell that I’m still a bit giddy?
So the next show is Play Expo in Manchester on October 11th-12th where the numbers are WAY bigger, like 25,000ish, so I’ll be tweeting throughout that event and updating here too :)
Thanks again you awesome people!