Old School Gamer Magazine chats with the development team behind “Woodpunk,” Phil Gonzáles (Co-Founder Game Design, Programming, Music) and Sergio Suárez (Co-Founder, Artwork, Graphics- and Sound Design) who detail the game’s origin and goals and how their love of Old School and Indie games played a huge role in the creative vision of the game.
Old School Gamer: How was this game born?
Phil Gonzáles: WOODPUNK was born during the Ludum Dare #36 game jam. The theme for the event was “old technology” and due to our passion for roguelikes, we decided to pursue the idea that finally leads to WOODPUNK. We did not have time to finally submit the game for judgment, but we found the concept of procedurally-generated weapons and large hordes of enemies so promising and interesting that we decided to continue developing it!
We’ve been working on WOODPUNK ever since!
Old School Gamer: What was development like?
Sergio Suárez: At first we were static with WOODPUNK’s development during the Ludum Dare. We had a limited amount of time for submission, and we couldn’t implement everything we wanted to develop. Once we understood that the game had potential we settled and started developing the game for the long run, looking for efficiency and good quality content.
The main approach to development was to create the best content for the player and to promote replayability. During development we constantly thought about new game modes and how to implement them into WOODPUNK; survival mode, story mode, protect the machine, special waves of enemies…a couple issues arose here or there, but nothing game breaking.
Now that we’re nearing release-date, we’re in heavy crunch mode, we want WOODPUNK to be the best game possible!
Old School Gamer: What makes this game special?
Gonzáles: We want to transmit a frenetic sense to the player when they are playing WOODPUNK. They will have to fight against hundreds of enemies simultaneously, all with their individual A.I. and while using more than 1400 possible weapon combinations! All environments are destructible, so the players can see all the chaos and debris they create when fighting large hordes of enemies with a chain blade, automatic large fire gun or a laser shot-gun!
Old School Gamer: What games influenced this one the most?
Suárez: We grew up playing beat’em ups like Golden Axe, or action adventures like Zelda SNES. We want the player to feel what we felt waking up every Saturday morning to play these games, so we’re heavily influenced by these. We’re also big roguelikes fans, we like the replayability these games offer, so Nuclear Throne or Enter the Gungeon are big influences.
Old School Gamer: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Gonzáles: Our main highlights during development are those moments when we’re showing a new build to players in events like Gamescom. We receive feedback and renew our energy to go back to the office and work hard!
Old School Gamer: Who will enjoy this game the most?
Suárez: Woodpunk is a hard game! Players who will enjoy WOODPUNK are those who like to be challenged and like fighting against large hordes of enemies with the help of a large weapon arsenal! They will have a procedural system to better the weapon and fight the increasing challenge of harder enemies and bosses! For those players who want to play with friends, we have implemented a local co-op, where players can beat the games‘ story mode, or try to achieve the top ranks of our online leaderboard!
Old School Gamer: Bottom Line, why must someone play this game?
Gonzáles: With WOODPUNK the player will fight hundreds of on-screen enemies each with their own strategy, and have at their disposal more than 1400 weapon combinations!
Thanks to all the different game modes, amount of enemies, and all the possible weapon combinations, the player will have a new experience each playthrough!
Old School Gamer: How do you want this game to be remembered?
Suárez: We want WOODPUNK to be remembered as a game which pushes the dual stick shooter/ roguelike genre forward.
Old School Gamer: What’s next?
Gonzáles: After releasing on PC, we will continue working on updates and the ports to Xbox, Play Station and potentially even Switch. Later, who knows, maybe it’s time to enjoy some sweet vacation time!
Old School Gamer: Anything else you’d like to add?
Suárez: We hope you guys have fun playing WOODPUNK, and we are open to feedback on our social media and Discord. We want the community to participate heavily in making WOODPUNK a better game!
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.