- One thing has stayed the same throughout development, the focus on movement and player control at the heart of everything.
- We’re slowly unraveling the DNA of Blue fire and realized how this very fast, hard and precise 3D platform works in the connected adventure world that we wanted to create
- We had a lot of fun seeing how players combine their favorite skills and power-ups to personalize them Blue fireExperience and now we are excited to see how the Xbox community brings our hero to life.
A small glowing character stands in the middle of a bridge, alone in the dark. As you move forward you start to feel the ease and fluidity in the controls, you jump and move gracefully through the air and ground, performing jumps, double jumps, sprints and attacks, all of which merge with momentum and both great satisfaction and give very quick and precise control over the little creature on the screen.
When you reach the end of the bridge, you will discover a large platform and a pile of rubble in the middle. The rubble comes and comes to life as it resembles the shape of an antagonist. This pretty much describes the first playable demo of Blue fire we have evolved!
Now, two years later, we are excited about the launch Blue fire on Xbox! We had a lot of fun seeing how players use the movement set we created and combine their favorite skills and power ups to personalize them Blue fire
A lot has changed since development began – I don’t even know where to start – but one thing has stayed the same: the focus on movement and player control at the center of everything. We always introduced ourselves Blue fire as a game that would have a unique twist and original innovative ideas along with many familiar elements. And we knew very early on that our uniqueness would arise primarily through the combination of our movement with our world structure and level design.
But to shape this uniqueness was not easy or to define from the beginning. It was quite a long exploration, a lot of thinking, brainstorming, and testing.
We only worked on the controller for quite a while so that it felt really good, super fast and precise. We tested many skills and powers including double jump, spin attack, dash and double dash, air strike and more. There was even a time when we let the main character slide down ledges like she was skating. Once we became comfortable with the feeling, we began to try different situations, distances, and mechanics that could work with it and were appealing.
As we moved forward, we slowly untangled the DNA of Blue fire and realized how this very fast, hard and precise 3D platform works in the connected adventure world that we wanted to create. Through tests and iterations, we got to know the special features of this platform formula and further developed and polished our controller.
We didn’t have exact references from games that had the kind of 3D controller and world structure we were developing and were only able to look at certain snippets of other games, mostly 2D hardcore platformer, Metroidvania games, and 3D platformer. In some ways we may have mixed these genres, but figuring out what that mix would look like was quite a task and there were a lot of things to discover for ourselves.
We faced many challenges and were very careful about which battles we wanted to fight and which ones we wanted to pass on. The ability to improve player controls throughout the game, rather than improving player inventory or actual stats, was difficult to reconcile with the non-linear experience we wanted to provide. In the end, we had to sacrifice a bit of the non-linearity in the first third of the game to make progress fairly straightforward, while as we continued to add a lot of side content and quests so as not to lose the non-linear sense of adventure.
We also had so many optional platform upgrades that we had to balance the level design in the late game so that it wasn’t too easy for players who had them all and at the same time not too difficult for players that couldn’t. We finally found a good balance by making sure players encounter a good number of upgrades early on, rewarded explorations and side quests, and discreetly guided them to secret areas.
Another way to accomplish this was to create optional but very rewarding challenges called “Voids” that were extremely difficult in terms of platforming. This balanced the difficulty level for very good players who had accumulated a lot of power-ups so that anyone could take on a difficult challenge at any time – as this was part of the core of the game.
We learned a lot about our formula during development and even more when we launched the game and saw player feedback. We are now very much looking forward to applying this experience and knowledge and starting work on our next project!
A Dark World Awaits – Travel through the lost world of Penumbra to explore unique areas filled with diverse enemies, sharp 3D platform challenges, quests, collectibles, and more. Embark on an extraordinary journey through the devastated Kingdom of Penumbra and discover the hidden secrets of this long-forgotten land. Explore mystical temples, meet survivors and take on strange quests to collect valuable items. On your adventure, slash your way through fearsome enemies, roam mysterious and deserted regions, jump through deadly traps and finally master the art of movement.