Interviews// Hell Yeah! The Wrath of Arkedo - PART 2

Posted 9 Oct 2012 16:27 by
Camille Guermonprez
Camille Guermonprez
The chaps at small indie developer Arkedo were once advocates of boxed games and retail. But something happened during their experimentation with the PlayStation Network (PSN) and Xbox LIVE Indie Games that made them change their minds.

Now, the studio is a huge supporter of the digital market. In fact, co-founders, Camille Guermonprez and Aurélien Regard, believe that digital offers a better deal for gamers and developers alike.

(Before proceeding to read this, we have already covered a lot of ground with the guys, in part one of this interview. You may wish to catch up first by reading that here.)

We also discuss the indie development scene at large, the design of Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, and what Camille's daughter will be thinking of her dad once she's old enough to understand the double entendres within...

Aurélien Regard
Aurélien Regard
SPOnG: One thing I noticed about Hell Yeah is just how striking and colourful the artwork is. This whole idea must have been kicking around in your heads for a long time, right?

Aurélien Regard: For a while, yes. I mean, before we worked on Hell Yeah we had only been working on family titles, really. So to counter that, we wanted to make a really involved game with lots of colours and blood everywhere. The blood had to be very colourful and cartoonish.

The gameplay for Hell Yeah ended up being heavily based on humour, with many jokes - it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. So, it had to be colourful really anyway, in order to keep you laughing.

Camille Guermonprez: It’s fake blood. Fake things. To be honest, Hell Yeah’s conception was really born out of our frustration. We had a pretty tough year before we made this game, and so one day we sat down together and decided that for our next game, we’re going to kill monsters.

We’re going to kill monsters and there’s going to be fucking blood everywhere, okay? [laughs] It allowed us to release our frustration.

Aurélien Regard: Sometimes you start a project because you just have to break out and do the thing that’s been itching inside of you to get out. It has to be spontaneous. To that end, we really wanted to have some monster destroying in this game and be in a situation where we’d be making a fun game for people to play, and we would have fun making it.

Camille Guermonprez: All the guys at Arkedo have the capacity to make a game like this. It felt liberating to do Hell Yeah. The previous year, we were like little boys hiding in the closet for two years, unable to see the light. Then, it was like someone opened the doors and said to us, “Go outside and play!”

Aurélien Regard: We were incredibly lucky to be so free to be able to work to our own contraints - that was all thanks to SEGA.

SPOnG: I want to talk about one of the modes you have here, called The Island. I remember playing the game and the pair of you stopped me, tried to move me back into the main game. Camille, you said to me that it was “just a fucking joke”.

Camille Guermonprez: [Laughs] Yes.

SPOnG: ... Why put something like that in there if you don’t want people to play it?

Camille Guermonprez: Because it’s a joke [laughs]! We love jokes. It’s very important to have jokey situations in this game.

Aurélien Regard: It does actually have a small use though - you can manage your dead monsters and make them work so that you can collect a rare item, gain money and restore health over time.

Camille Guermonprez: But we wanted to have as many ‘WTF’ moments as possible. At the same time, we wanted to make... and we’ll see how this plays out in different territories with different cultures... we wanted to be as free as possible and so over the top, but we didn’t want it to be too outrageous or super-violent.

Aurélien Regard: It’s not made to shock anyone. It’s just for fun. A game shouldn’t be shocking just for the sake of it.

Camille Guermonprez: We wanted to set our game a bit like a Pixar movie. You know, when you watch a scene with your kids, and you’re laughing for a completely different reason than your kids are.

So we wanted to make two things happen - the first was be so over the top that the violence isn’t there anymore. It’s so silly, completely stupid... the blood is like ketchup. You are completely out of the reality of the violence, and just looking at a cartoonish depiction.

The second thing we wanted to do was add another layer of reference - the jokes. So children will laugh at the more slapstick, colourful side of the action, and yet there will be certain things in the text or context that will make an adult laugh.

My daughter is playing Hell Yeah at the moment and she doesn’t get all the bad jokes, only the visual ones.

She is going to come back to me when she’s 13 or 14 years old and say, “Dad, I understand now... You’re bloody dirty!” She understands that the Prince of Hell (Ash) must be respected and can’t be seen playing with toys in the bath. If someone catches you, everyone will laugh at you, right?

At the same time, in ten years time she is going to ask me why Ash is having a wank in that bath [laughs]! And that will be the moment where I say, “OK, let’s talk [about the birds and the bees]!”

SPOnG: Speaking of bees, there’s a rather suspect microgame where Ash has to grab honey from a honeypot.

Camille Guermonprez: Yeah? Of course. You just put your finger in the honeypot.

SPOnG: Yeah...

Camille Guermonprez: Yeah... [laughs] The thing is, if you understand the joke, then you’re the dirty one! That then becomes your problem, not mine [smiles].
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