Guacamelee! is an upcoming action-platformer in the Metroidvania style for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. Drinkbox Studios, the creators of the Tales from Space series, developed the title as a cross-buy game for Sony. The Canadian developer has worked hard on the title since its early stages back as a simple PowerPoint presentation in 2011 to the polished and kinetic final version that gamers will be able to play tomorrow (Apr 9). Guacamelee! has been to many conventions, Sony events and various other shindigs where the studios has had a playable version available for people to get their hands on and experience the colorful and stylized world of Guacamelee. Players will take on the role of Juan Aguacate, a downtrodden agave farmer, who must rescue El Presidente’s daughter from the Evil Charro Skeleton (For a bit more on the game check out an early preview here). After a long wait, Guacamelee! will be released this April 9 on the PlayStation Network for $14.99.
Gaming Illustrated was fortunate to have the opportunity to ask the funny and all around great guy, Chris McQuinn from Drinkbox Studios some questions about Guacamelee!
Gaming Illustrated (KM): Guacamelee was announced way back in October 2011 with news that a playable version of the game would be at Toronto’s Digifest. Since then, it seems like you’ve guys have had playable demos at tons of conventions and shows leading up to the announcement of the game being a PS3/PS Vita exclusive in 2012. How has the game changed since its early demo builds and has fan reaction/input affected the direction of the game?
Gaming Illustrated (KM): With the recent news about Sony’s push for cultivating indie talent, how has the experience been working with them bringing Guacamelee into gamers’ hands? They seem to be very supportive of the title as it is often mentioned in their upcoming PS Vita game line-up.
Chris McQuinn: Our experience with bringing Guacamelee! to PSN has been positive. The game has been given some really nice opportunities to be shown at Sony events in addition to being one of the games people first see when playing the Vita at store kiosks. What more could we ask?
Gaming Illustrated (KM): There is a heavy co-op emphasis in the game, where one player will control Juan and the other player, a female Luchadora named Tostada. Will there be a unique story for her or is she just a mysterious figure that pops in to help Juan?
Chris McQuinn: In between. The main storyline of the game is focused on Juan, with Tostata having a supporting role. Essentially she is Juan’s spiritual guide who answers some important questions along the way. Of course, if Tostata is being played as the second player in co-op then Juan will have his spiritual guide the entire time.
Gaming Illustrated (KM): What will be added to the experience of Guacamelee when playing co-op versus single player?
Chris McQuinn: Isn’t everything more fun in co-op? Co-op will offer the combat experience some fun little differences, such as throwing enemies back and forth to each other which is somewhat hilarious. But don’t think that fighting enemies in co-op will be a cakewalk, since we do add a damage modifier when the second player is present.
Gaming Illustrated (KM): The game is obviously Mexican-theme and draws from Mexican culture and folklore. Why did Drinkbox decide to use a heavy Mexican influence and style for the game?
Chris McQuinn: The original motivation came from our animator Augusto during our game brainstorming sessions. He’s Mexican, and had been a bit homesick when he suggested a Mexican themed world for our new game. Once the rest of us started reading up and learning about the deep rich folklore of Mexico, we were all in.
Gaming Illustrated (KM): How much research went into the game for the folklores and the specifics of Mexican culture? And how much went into the specifics behind the Luchadore culture, fighting styles and spirit?
Chris McQuinn: Lot’s and lot’s. I knew we were doing due diligence to Mexican folklore when members of the team started telling Augusto about Mexican stories he had never heard of. Books, people, and obviously the internet were great tools in the learning process.
Gaming Illustrated (KM): Video games do not feature much diversity when it comes to protagonists and the cultures they represent. How has your studio approached representing Mexican and Latin cultures in the game? Have there been any issues when working within an underrepresented and often stereotyped culture and people?
Chris McQuinn: We really didn’t set out to make a statement, but we did set out with the intention of creating a game that was interesting and unique – which the Mexican luchador theme has allowed us to do. The reception from Mexicans and non-Mexicans has been nothing but positive, and that’s been really encouraging for us to know we were portraying our main character Juan the right way. So far so good?
Gaming Illustrated (KM): What is the single thing about the game that will have gamers ready to sell a kidney to play Guacamelee! now?
Chris McQuinn: Making the World’s Greatest Enchilada.
Gamers will be able to make the World’s Greatest Enchilada in Guacamelee! on April 9 when it is available for purchase on the PSN.