Old School Gamer Magazine chats with Jon Price – Co-founder and Designer of the new Nintendo Switch dual-stick shooter, “Aperion Cyberstorm.” A combination of Metroid and Geometry Wars, it’s a unique experience inspired by some of the greatest games of all-time.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?
Jon Price: Aperion Cyberstorm started as a prototype made by our programmer, Matt, who one day came into the office with it in tow. He’d nailed the core loop, and off we went.
It started in the XNA framework, but when that was no longer supported, we weighed up our options and chose to move the project to Unity. During that time, we worked out what we wanted to do with it, and that’s where Campaign mode came from. Versus was there from the start. Onslaught actually took a little longer, as it was going to be a trick-shot mode i.e. destroy seven enemies in this configuration in a certain time frame, but we felt it didn’t match to the strengths of Aperion Cyberstorm, which was flashy neon and bullets, however, you wanted to go about it.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?
Price: Players can combine their abilities to do more damage. Combining spiral bullets and rockets to create spiraling rockets that cover the map, for instance. It supports up to five players in all modes, comes with a wealth of customization options and unlocks!
Old School Gamer Magazine: What games from the past have influenced it?
Price: Aperion Cyberstorm isn’t a game that’s directly descended from one game in particular, but we were inspired by the Geometry Wars and Metroid series, along with classic bullet hell games like Ikaruga and Dodonpachi.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What did you learn during the development process?
Price: As this was our first title as a student and university graduates, we ended learning everything about the art of game making, the business of it, and how not to go stir crazy working on one title for so long. We also got to meet lots of other developers and learn their stories and aspirations, which was the most encouraging.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories?
Price: Showing a game to people who’ve never played it before is an experience. You see things breaking, and you hope no-one has clocked it. Remember: it’s a feature, not a bug. Early on we had a few players escaping the map and going for a wander into the inky void.
During development, we’ve had happy accidents, such as player five. When developing the game for Wii U, our technical lead, Rich, spawned a fifth player into the world for a test, controlled by the gamepad. We haven’t looked back since.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Bottom line- Why must someone play it?
Price: It’s a rare title that’s happy to accommodate a whole host of people at once, in lots of ways. We wanted to make a game that’s accessible to as many people as possible, while supporting those single player moments where you just want to blow stuff up or go on a journey – with it being on Switch you can have a journey while you’re on a journey, hah.
Old School Gamer Magazine: The game is beautiful. What inspired the art?
Price: It’s a mix of two things: Geometry Wars and Metroid. During development, we spent a lot of time listening to synthwave albums, which may have come out in the game’s style… To give the player a better idea of where they were and what they were doing, we reduced the insanity of the map colors, and upped the ships and bullets. That isn’t a negative for the maps, though, as it gives them a darker, almost Super Metroid look.
Old School Gamer Magazine: The Switch was a monster in 2017. What is it like to be a part of their 2018 lineup?
Price: It’s incredible to see the wealth of titles coming to the platform. We’re glad to be a part of it, because each week we’re getting to discover new games, too!
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Price: More stuff for Cyberstorm if we can, like new maps, and a few other ideas, one of which we’re incredibly excited about.