Old School Gamer Magazine chats with Wrestling Thunder City creator Rodolfo Carrasco Correa, who discusses the upcoming Game Boy Color wrestling RPG.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?
Correa: It was during the times of the covid days. I had my first child and my wife and I could not do much in terms of going out or visiting places due to the lockdown. I wanted to play video games but didn’t find a wrestling game that offered much outside of the ring. I figured I could try my luck at developing the game that I couldn’t find at that time. Also, like many of us, I had to get into a project to keep a healthy mindset during those times so it matched perfectly for me.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What is your role in the game?
Correa: Considering the constraints of my day job and having to be home office while having two kids and a dog, I assumed the role of game design and storytelling. It allowed me to leverage community resources from itch.io for most tilesets but I commissioned the music. I adopted the mantra “the simplest way is the only way” to keep things simple as it is my first try at game development. I knew I wouldn’t have the time to do it all by myself.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What has development been like?
Correa: As I mentioned before, I have serious time constraints so to create time I have to either wake up super early or go to bed really late. I recommend none. They suck. But if you really love it you find ways even if they are not all sugar coated.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?
Correa: I think that is an honest love letter to wrestling in general so wrestling fans will see it. It is a unique experience in the genre. I sometimes have to explain that the game is “about” wrestling more than it is a “wrestling game”. There’s plenty of those in the market and they’re all reduced to what happens in the ring mostly. The faces are funny when I say it is a game about wrestling but there’s also a ghost story investigation, The Beatles references and nakedness.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What games influenced this one the most?
Correa: The mobile game NJPW Strong Spirits. The stats in that game come and go randomly for your characters due to certain choices you make. I remember RPGs were known for being focused in part on decision making that led to different outcomes. I wanted to have that back in my game more than spending a few hours leveling up to grow stronger. Especially with the constraints of the game boy graphics.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Correa: Yes. My laptop died and lost a big part of the game haha. But at that moment I wanted to try making the game in Unity, so as not to have so many restrictions and go wider and bigger. I mostly lost time testing things rather than good ideas or artwork.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What were the major lessons learned?
Correa: Just do the rpg genre’s first and most important strategy: Save your progress often. Also stick to a plan. I’ve been doing this game for two years but mostly because I’ve got distracted with voxel art design, 3D, Final fantasy Tactics mechanics… etc. It could have been done by now. But hey, time is a funny thing. Is it really a year or two or three if you just dedicate an hour a day to it? I’ve enjoyed every minute so I’m ok with everything that happened.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Correa: I think older mechanics are time tested and that’s why developers go back to them time and time again. They have proven their worth. But getting deeper into the water and taking risks is also important. But with GB Studio there’s only so much you can do. That’s excellent for starters. It keeps things in scope.
Old School Gamer Magazine:T he marketplace is crowded. How do you think you stand out?
Correa: By testing the old phrase: “If I built it, will they come? I don’t think there’s many wrestling games that focus on a unique story that’s for everybody. Hardcore puroresu fans to the more colorful, tv friendly pro wrestling fans and everyone in between.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How have your previous experiences in industry helped this game?
Correa: This is my first go. And I’m glad I took the first steps. It has been really rewarding. I feel complete doing this. I’m 40 years old and I wish these technologies for developing your own video games were available when I was a teenager.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want this game to ultimately be remembered?
Correa: To me personally as the start of a great game dev adventure. I want to keep learning, especially programming which is not my forté. If it wasn’t for the GB Studio community that has helped me sort things out whenever I ask questions in Discord for instance they are there in the minute I would have given up a time ago. For the players? As an inspiration that you can do amazing things with the tools there are for game dev, even with the little knowledge you might have. Study the templates, study older games, you’ll get it done if you really want to.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Correa: Wrestling Thunder City: The Movie! haha Just kidding… Next it’s to finish the game and plan for physical releases if it all goes well. Remember: when starting “the simplest way is the only way”.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add?
Correa: Just a big thanks to all the community that’s always there to help newbies and old dogs like me with following their game dev dreams with their continuous support. And my wife for keeping up with my messin around the laptop haha.
Link to demo: