What the heck is HEAVEN VARIANT?
HEAVEN VARIANT is an indie horizontally side-scrolling action game under development for PC by Zanrai Interactive, a three man gang of developers headquartered in Dallas, Texas, USA. The game is a modernized throwback to the golden age of 2D action games, and the game’s aesthetic style is heavily influenced by classic shooters and animation of the late 1980′s and 90′s. The game is about space colonists fighting amongst each other when dealing with intervening and taking sides on the war-torn Earth or staying neutral in the planet’s problems. Players will be able to use their fighter to transform into a robot, kill enemies, and steal their weapons. The title will be released digitally. We are currently on Steam Greenlight and if you’re interested in what we’re doing, we’d love to have your vote!
Is this game a bullet-hell shooter?
HEAVEN VARIANT is not a bullet hell shoot ‘em up,. Bullet-hell games have increased in popularity over time, but we’re intentionally avoiding bullet curtain “pixel dodging” as we are aiming to recreate a more old-school feel from back in the day. We miss those kinds of shooters, so we’re making one.
Does the main ship transform into a robot?
You will be able to play the game in jet mode or robot mode and switch between them whenever you want. Each form fires its main weapon differently. Some enemies are more suited for one form over the other.
What’s up with the game’s style?
HEAVEN VARIANT is a homage to nostalgia, while using modern technology, and we’re embracing a lot of the “cheese” that was present in older games and film to accomplish this. Key to our style is exaggeration: everything is over the top. The music has an intentional retro flare, as does the character dialog, fashions, technology, vehicle aesthetics, and hair-styles to mimic tropes from media of the late 80s and early 90s. Our main character especially is derived from the “rebel with a cause” mischief maker trope popular in that era’s fiction. You might call it “neo-nostalgia,” but then again, you might just call it a homage. We’re clear to emphasize that we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or take ourselves too seriously.
What’s the game’s story about?
The game takes place two hundred years in the future where humanity is separated between those living on war-torn Earth and those living in peace aboard orbital space colonies. Those in space have a strict policy of neutrality when dealing with Earth nations (and their troublesome politics), but a growing subset of colonists desire to take a stance and intervene in the planet’s issues, and have staged an insurrection in space to accomplish this. Complicating this situation is the recent colonist discovery of the human soul. As a result, the Space Military Corporation DIVINITY has used this new energy source to create ferocious warmachines referred to as “soul capable” (SC) vehicles, machines powered by their pilots’ own inner-being. It’s up to DIVINITY to prevent these weapons from spreading to the planet before curbing the rebellion is impossible. The pilot tasked with this job is Eind Westgunne, a reckless and self-absorbed pilot who’s fiery spirit powers his Heaven Variant machine to the max.
What’s up with the controls? Did you change them at some point?
When we first got started, Heaven Variant was designed to be a twin-stick shooter, but it no longer is. After testing our original prototype, it just didn’t work. Weapons now have a number of firing angle presets specific to each weapon that allow the weapon to rotate on the player ship’s “weapon axle” and fire from different positions. Most weapons have two positions, other higher skill weapons may have more (or at times just a single unmoving position).
Who is this game developed for? Is this some kind of casual game or are you targeting the hardcore shmup audience?
This is by no means a casual game. Older shooters had a simplicity to them that made them easy to pick up and play, but retained enough depth for veteran gamers. We aren’t aiming to make the game easy to finish, but we aren’t wanting to make the game intensely brutal, either. It’s a core component of our development strategy to invite shmup veterans and newcomers alike. We just want to make a fun game so if that’s your bag stick around.
What engine is HEAVEN VARIANT using?
HEAVEN VARIANT is being developed with the UDK.
Why use a development blog?
We want to hear what you have to say about our progress! Our goal is to fundamentally include community feedback into our development process which means your voice is important to how we shape the game. We definitely want to hear what you have to say, plus we want just want to interact with everyone! There’s going to be all kinds of crazy shenanigans going down, especially development related stuff, and maybe even a few sexy surprises. And if Twitter is your bag, we’re on there all the time talking about everything, just click the Twitter link at the top of the page!
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