Old School Gamer chats with creative director Zack Johnson and programmer Victor Thompson, who detail the Open World Western RPG and how its retro look and creators love of Nintendo make it a perfect fit on the hybrid console.
About West of Loathing:
Don’t let its humble look deceive you — West of Loathing is a massive open world adventure brimming with stories, saloons, and silly side quests. Customize your player with 3 character classes (Snake Oiler, Beanslinger, and Cow Puncher) and more than 50 stylish hats. Pick up random junk to boost your skills and gain an advantage in combat. Befriend or be-enemy the other travelers you meet along the way. Shovel cow patties. Drink whiskey. And whatever you do, keep your face off the Sheriff’s wanted posters… no good ever comes of that.
Leave your family farm and head west to find your fortune in a huge, humorous game inspired by classics adventure/RPGs Quest for Glory and Paper Mario.
• A sprawling open world: Traverse snake-infested gulches, punch skeletons wearing cowboy hats, grapple with demon cows, and investigate a wide variety of disgusting spittoons — nearly 100 unique locations to explore!
• A goofy spin on good ol’ RPG gameplay: Charm your way out of trouble as a silver-tongued Snake Oiler, plumb the refried mysteries of the cosmos as a wise and subtle Beanslinger, or let your fists do the talking as a fierce Cow Puncher.
• A “colorful” cast of stick-figure characters: Interact with dozens of NPCs and hundreds of enemies — some of whom are good, many of whom are bad, and a few of whom are ugly.
• A gag around every corner: Wordplay and dad jokes abound — along with at least one drunken horse, more than 50 hats, and liberal use of the Oxford comma.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What does it mean to you to be on the Nintendo Switch?
Zack Johnson: We’re all ’80s kids, so it’s pretty exciting to have a game we made hit a Nintendo platform. It’ll really help us justify all the time we spent playing Super Mario Brothers to our moms.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How is the Switch version different from the Steam version?
Johnson: The biggest difference is the addition of controller support, which we’re hoping to patch into the PC version soon.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What was it like to develop on the Switch?
Victor Thompson: Developing for the Switch feels a little more hands-on than developing for, say, Windows or OSX. Even though we use the Unity engine, there a lot of details of the Switch operating system (and even hardware) poking through. I think this is intentional! Nintendo wants our game to look and play as well as possible on the Switch, and that finer level of control helps us make that happen.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you think this game will be received by Switch diehards?
Johnson: We think it’s a great fit for the platform, and I can tell you from personal playtesting experience that it feels really good to play on the hardware. We’re pretty sure the Switch community is gonna love it.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Johnson: After the Switch version is released we’ll get back to work on DLC and other ports.
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.