One of the most fondly remembered home-grown developers from the early 1990s was the Bitmap Brothers. Its unique approach to games coupled with obvious graphical flair was something refreshing in the Amiga days, when games like the Chaos Engine
and Speedball 2
became lifetime favourites with the children of the 90s.
Now Speedball 2
is to be reborn, in more ways than one ? the original game is being re-released on Xbox Live Arcade, much to my delight, and a remake is in the pipeline for next generation consoles. This is the part where we go ?Ooh-er?, as remakes of popular games of yesteryear tend to end up being quite disappointing affairs.
Developer Kylotonn is dedicated to the project though, and the involvement of Mike Montgomery of The Bitmap Brothers
only reinforces that the new Speedball 2
could be every bit as exciting and fantastic as the original. In a special Q&A-fest, SPOnG spoke to Yann Tambellini, Creative Director at Kylotonn, to learn more about the remake and what pitfalls they are trying to avoid. Come back soon for a Q&A with Mike Montgomery on the project as well.
First, could we get a little background information on you? What interested you about working on video games and how did you get into the industry?
Since I play video games (on Amstrad CPC, Amiga...) I?ve always had this desire to develop games. This is why I began studying 3D arts, and began working in video games industry on the Ironstorm
shooter, then as a Creative Director on the BOS
(Bet On Soldier
) trilogy. I had the intention of creating games - and not only graphic universes - that?s why I?m now Creative Director at Kylotonn Studio, for Speedball 2
and Crusaders: Invasion of Constantinople
SPOnG: Speedball 2
is very fondly remembered. Was the idea to remake the game your own or were you approached by the Bitmap Brothers? How did this project come about?
The idea came from Frédéric Bichat (Frogster Interactive). We?ve worked together for years, on Bet on Soldier
, moreover we have both been fans of the game for 17 years, that?s why he came to see us with this idea of making this brand-new Speedball 2
With the original game being re-released on Xbox Live Arcade, why also focus on an updated 3D remake?
The XBLA version is very similar to the original game, the game-play hasn?t changed. We wanted to get inspired by the great classic Speedball 2
, but also to treat it differently, because everything has evolved. The graphic universe is more futuristic and the gameplay is more modern. By developing this new Speedball 2
, we take into account the evolution of sports games since the first version was released (1993), unlike the XBLA version which is a 3D exact copy of the former game.
What improvements will this remake have over the 1990s original?
Everything has changed and improved - above all the gameplay. We have played, looked at and studied the gameplay offered by other sports games such as Pro Evolution Soccer
, FIFA Soccer
or Virtua Tennis
, in order to work out richer and deeper gameplay, while observing the original Speedball 2
One of the major improvements is the Advanced mode, which features a lot of new tackling moves and impressive jump and power shots. The Advanced mode corresponds with an enhanced and freely configurable control system, which goes far beyond the one-button-control of the original game. Players will get up to eight different and strategically useful camera views to control their matches from every angle. Moreover, with all the available modern graphic technologies we are also able to create atmospheric 3D-arenas and lively animated models for the Speedball gladiators with all the effects.