Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Devs Serious About Fighting Games

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl Devs Serious About Fighting Games

SpongeBob Squarepants' Patrick Star throws a belly flop against Ren & Stimpy's Powdered Toast Man.

Screenshot: Nickelodeon / GameMill Entertainment / Ludosity

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is an upcoming Smash-like that, despite its licensed nature, already sounds like a completely legitimate fighting game. Not only are the main developers experienced in building their own popular platform fighter, they are also planning to implement a restore netcode for the best online experience. Kotaku had the chance to speak with folks at Ludosity, the studio behind All-Star Brawl, about their hopes for his relaxed yet competitive future.

Ludosity might not be a household name, but it found itself in the limelight thanks to the Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl reveal earlier this week. The Swedish-based studio was founded over ten years ago and employs less than a dozen people. Ludosity has released several games during this decade, most notably the one from 2018. slap the city, a platform fighter in the vein of Super Smash Bros. which has even been featured at major Smash community tournaments.

“Shortly after the success of Slap City, we were approached by Nickelodeon,” Ludosity CEO Joel Nyström told Kotaku via email. “At first I didn’t think it was real. You get a lot of weird emails and offers every week, so at first I rejected it as spam! “

The tiny studio finally realized they weren’t scammed and got in touch with Nickelodeon, who laid out their plans for a platform fighter. Ludosity has developed a demo, and by early 2020 the developers were in production on Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl alongside co-developer Fair Play Labs from Costa Rica and publisher GameMill Entertainment.

This last name may not have inspired confidence in those familiar with his previous mediocre work on Nickelodeon-licensed games, but the niche community of competitive fighting game players immediately realized the enormity of the involvement. by Ludosity. Here is a group of people who had previously shown an intimate knowledge and familiarity with creating a proficient platform fighter, and they were tasked with making a game featuring classic cartoon characters like SpongeBob Squarepants, Hey Arnold! It was almost too good to be true.

Folks descended on Ludosity’s official Discord channel following the Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl reveal to inundate the developers with questions about the upcoming game. And they were more than happy to oblige, letting slip little details about the project’s gameplay mechanics and use of rollback netcode.

The Wild Thornberries' Nigel Thornberry and Danny Phantom duke it out.

Screenshot: Nickelodeon / GameMill Entertainment / Ludosity

Elias “sinxtanx” Forslind, the chief designer who joined Nyström in answering our questions, was the most vocal; he explained that the team was drawing inspiration from both Smash and their previous work on Slap City to imbue the release with aspects that would appeal to those familiar with playing those games at every level.

“If Slap City played a bit like the old Smash games, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl definitely plays like its own thing,” Forslind explained.

But Nickelodeon isn’t really interested in making a competitive fighting game, right? Not that Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl needs that kind of official mandate from its rights holders to spawn a dedicated community of high-level players, of course. I mean, just watch Shrek SuperSlam. But the idea of ​​a massive cartoon chain wanting to break into the fighting game community was so out of the realm of possibility for me that when Ludosity cleared me up during our conversation, I was floored.

“Nickelodeon is absolutely in favor of making the game competitive,” Nyström said. “It’s been part of the conversation from the start. That’s why they came to us.

“My approach to the relaxed / competitive question is the same as with Slap City,” Forslind added, responding to a follow-up question about the balance between the two. “When you make a game fun to play, everyone can have fun with it. This is great for me, as I don’t have the crazy skills like competitive players, but I can still enjoy the casual free-to-all matches in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl.

Nickelodeon has also given the studio surprising freedom in the development of Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, so much so that the developers say very few of their suggestions have been turned down.

Every character’s moves and fighting style, from Patrick Star of SpongeBob Squarepants to Powdered Toast Man of Ren & Stimpy, comes entirely from Team Ludosity. If it has to do with gameplay, Nyström said, it was probably an idea that came to them. And while they’re obviously not ready to talk about the final roster size or DLC plans (“There’s some talk” about post-release media, I’m told.), Ludosity has even been able to provide information on the selection of characters. It’s both surprising and encouraging that Nickelodeon is open to this kind of collaboration, a dynamic that bodes well for the game’s success outside of its built-in licensing potential.

Despite being a few months away from its release, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl already has a lot on its cartoon shoulders. Not only is it a promotional vehicle for a ton of classic and beloved Nicktoons, but also the added stress of bringing in a bunch of people for whom it seems like nothing is ever good enough in the gaming scene. competitive combat.

While still blown away by the overwhelmingly positive reception earlier this week, the folks at Ludosity seem to be garnering attention in the process. The developers are still interacting with the burgeoning Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl community on Discord – they had to open a new channel to keep the studio’s original space from being overwhelmed by discussions about the new game – and have a very clear picture of what they hope to achieve with this ambitious project.

“Protecting Nigel Thornberry’s edges is a goal in itself,” Forslind joked, referring to the character’s status as a character. internet meme, before adding, “I hope this game can inspire others to continue experimenting with the genre of platform combat as well. He’s over 20 now, but it still looks like a young genre, with a lot of potential. ”


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