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HomeRunning a studioIn Guntouchables enemies power up with the upgrades that you leave behind

In Guntouchables enemies power up with the upgrades that you leave behind

In Guntouchables by Danish indie developer Game Swing, enemies randomly power up from the upgrades that a team of four players can’t lift out of the levels. This leads to some unexpected and quite frankly, explosive situations as the game progresses. 

Game Swing was founded in 2013 by five Danish game design students. Back then the company was called Reign Bros, but a few years later they decided to change the name. “It always triggered so much explanation that we decided to abandon it”, explains co-founder and CEO Martin Sommer. “The name Game Swing is playful and somewhat awkward, which I believe fits our games somehow.”

After coming out of development of their multiplatform game OddBallers, the team knew they wanted to make a game for PC first and foremost. “The core of the idea was to make a game where players could complete as many objectives as they want within a mission. However, they wouldn’t be able to receive the rewards until after the mission was completed. The mission would gradually become harder, so it would be a critical and very tough decision to determine exactly when to leave and bank your rewards.” 

Bloodsucking freaks

But the team felt that the game needed an incentive to push players to go for more objectives. The solution is actually quite clever. Between rounds the enemies get random upgrades for the objectives the players didn’t clear. So while the protagonists are upgrading their gear and abilities, so are the bloodsucking freaks that are out to kill them. 

To make sure all upgrades and weapons are properly balanced, Game Swing does playtests throughout development. “We solve everything by keeping on testing”, says Sommer. “Weapons, player upgrades, enemies, enemy upgrades, missions and levels can come together in so many different ways. Add to that, that the whole core of the game relies on that balance to be right to provide enough challenge, without becoming unfair or impossible. Yes, I would say balancing is the hardest part.” 

Extremely fun

But when it all comes together, Guntouchables is a blast to play. “I’m just really excited to see how well the game works when played by a group of friends. It’s extremely fun and engaging already, but we have so much further to go. I’m also really proud we’re making a game without any nonsense or bloat. You get what you see, and we are not wasting anybody’s time or money with fluff or opaque stuff.” 

Part of the appeal of the game is the simple, but effective art style by Art director and co-founder Lars Bindslev. “We wanted a look that was expressive and distinct, but also super quick to achieve”, says Sommer. “Lars is really good at nailing that stuff.” With a small team of only seven people, everyone can pitch an idea or voice an opinion. In the end though, Sommer has the final say. “I carry the overall direction. But we use both internal and external playtests a lot to determine what is right for the project.”

Amazing co-op experience

Looking ahead to the release later this year, Sommer feels positive. “We hope to make a game that offers a meaningful and amazing co-op experience. Making something that gives other people a great experience together is by far the most rewarding reason to be in this industry.”

Guntouchables is part of the European Games Showcase during GDC in San Francisco. Check the EGS website for more information.

Eric Bartelson
Eric Bartelson
Editor-in-Chief of PreMortem.Games. Veteran game journalist for over 20 years. Started out in 1999 for game magazines (yes the ones made of paper) such as PC Zone Benelux, PlayNation and GameQuest, before co-founding Dutch industry paper Control Magazine.
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