Mainstream nostalgia tends to follow a 20-30 year cycle, with creators incorporating elements of media they loved growing up. For example, the years 1977 star wars was inspired by Flash Gordon soap operas of the 1930s and 40s, while sitcoms of the era like MASH POTATOES and Happy Days were all about the 50s. Recent media like stranger things and Thor: Ragnarok are steeped in ’80s aesthetics, and many video games over the past few years have been pulled from consoles like the SNES. PseudoZap Bad Boro wears its 90’s inspirations on its sleeve.
Studio co-creators and cousins Peter Mosur and Konrad Messyasz grew up bonding around video games, and their interests were incorporated into Bad Boro — described as a two-stick brawler, but ultimately because “we don’t know what else to call him,” according to Mosur. Its mechanics come from a variety of sources, but the game’s visuals and sound design focus heavily on creating a “punk vibe” befitting its 1990s New York-inspired setting. Game Rant spoke to Mosur and Messyasz about the elements contributing to Bad Boroof design during its four years of development.
The mechanics of Bad Boro are the sum of several parts
Mosur remembers many family gatherings with his younger cousin where they played video games together. One series they bonded over was The Legend of Zeldaamong other Nintendo classics, but Mosur said “the first major game” he showed Messyasz was dark souls 3. This has Bad Boro‘s artist, who goes through Zals online, in a big Soulsborne phase during the interim before breath of the wild released in 2017.
This interest had a huge influence on Bad Borowhile PseudoZap decided to make a “really difficult” game with a mysterious world, vague narration and strange characters. hollow knight was another game Mosur played when they started development the summer before Messyasz started college – their first major effort was creating a demo for the Play NYC indie game festival in August 2018 However, “We really didn’t want to do a Metroidvania,” so they mostly stuck around. hollow knightnarrative design.
In terms of mechanics, Mosur said that indies like Enter the dungeon were big for him and his cousin, and that twin-stick style is evident in Bad Boro. ARPG like Diablo also contributed to its top-down design, with players controlling protagonist Tino as they travel through an expansive megacity, use special abilities, and defeat goons – many under the influence of rogue AI installed to run the operations of the city for utopian ends. Mosur said they took a lot of inspiration from the Soulsborne games, but “we were also doing our own thing.”
“It wasn’t like we sat down with the intention of doing ‘this’ or ‘that.’ was a convenient way to incorporate 2D art.
How 90s Cartoons and Newgrounds Influenced Bad Boro
The idea of creating a “very stylized and drawn 2D game” to represent this futuristic vision of 90s New York came early. Messyasz is an illustrator like his father, and much of his style is influenced by cartoons from the 90s and early 2000s. He points to the “neurotic or manic facial expressions” of Ren and Stimpyvillain design The Powerpuff Girlsand the gritty, edgy style of Invader Zim as sources of inspiration.
Messyasz was also an active Newgrounds user under his alias Zals, with games and cartoons his friends would share defining much of his design sensibilities. “That harsh, rough style that a lot of games had, and the super thick outlines that were usually a product of animation in Flash, always stuck with me a little bit,” he said. Mosur said he went to Newgrounds around the early 2000s, but was surprised to find that “it was making a comeback.” The recent phenomenon Friday night funkin is just one example of the website’s continued influence.
In terms of Bad Borotop to bottom 2D aesthetic, Messyasz said the Game Boy Advance title Mario & Luigi: The Superstar Saga was another key influence. He specifically studied his “expressive and cartoony sprite work” to impact character design in Bad Boro.
“With 3D you can just rotate the sprite and you’re done, but with 2D you either have to tediously cover each direction with a single animation or cleverly animate single actions so you can cover a large area around it. ‘a character. using smear frames.’
For the Play NYC demo, Mosur said he used an “ultra-realistic” style that was not sustainable in terms of time and effort. His later, more cartoonish style shows an understanding of “what details can be omitted without sacrificing the integrity of the art”. Yet it retains the original intent of PseudoZap recreating the feeling of living in New York. Mosur is interested in urban exploration, taking pictures of graffiti and abandoned places, and many of the real-world discoveries he has made have become benchmarks for Bad Boro.
exploring Bad BoroThe megacity of will not be an explicit objective, but it will naturally be open enough for players to explore and find secret areas or graffiti if they wish. In fact, an idea the duo floated for Bad BoroThe upcoming Kickstarter (launching on a date to be determined) unlocks tiers for backers to design their own graffiti, whether it’s a custom piece of art or a person’s name.
Roaming the megalopolis of Bad Boro with electronic beats
Another area where Bad Boro leans into its 90s aesthetic, it’s the music. Mosur said he has always dabbled in music as a creative endeavor, with a particular interest in electronic subgenres like acid house. This is another interest he shared with Messyasz; who fell further down the rabbit hole with styles like UK garage, dubstep and 2-step; so having “a weird mix of 90s electronic music” became an obvious direction for their playing.
The original demo was composed by Mosur using his own sampler and synthesizer, but for the upcoming demo coinciding with his crowdfunding campaign, the team sought out a professional musician. Their current UK garage specialist partner will be revealed alongside the demo’s track listing with this inevitable Kickstarter, and the funding will hopefully allow them to hire this musician for the full game alongside other hands.
Mosur said he had been interested in creative pursuits from an early age, with Messyasz also being in tune with his artistic training. Their family bond and host of shared interests in games, music and other media has led to a particularly copacetic indie project. Although her final release is still a long way off, Mosur thinks she has a lot of potential.
“We went to conventions, inviting people to play it. When we were newbies, people tried it to let us know what they like or what’s weird… It’s our first game , and we want it to be perfect.”
Bad Boro is currently in development for PC.
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