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Night City Assault Interview with Xtra Mile Games Robert Jacob

‘Beat Em Up’ games have been around since the early eighties with 1984 title Kung Fu Master proving to be a hugely influential game, since then the genre has continued to grow with millions of kids worldwide flocking to local Arcade’s to spend their pocket money for the chance to take down hordes of baddies. The ever popular genre spawned some of video games greatest titles with Streets Of Rage, Golden Axe and Teenage Mutant Turtles all proving extremely successful.

Xtra Mile Games, an independent studio formed in 2013 from Australia have taken to Kickstarter to raise funds for Night City Assault, a Beat Em Up title, that aims to emulate the classic games of the eighties, while also putting a new spin on the genre. Xtra Mile aim to deliver new titles inspired by classic games from the nineties.

We recently had the chance to chat with Robert Jacob of Xtra Mile Games, who is in charge of Night City Assault’s Story, Music and Direction about their exciting project.

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PressA2Join: ‘Beat Em Up’ games have always been very successful down the years with Streets Of Rage a prime example of the many great titles available. Night City Assault looks like it could follow a similar path to those great games, but how did the idea come about and when did you decide you wanted to make this kind of game?

Robert Jacob: My brother and I were playing a 2D beat ‘em up for Christmas a couple of years ago after having not touched the genre for about a decade. It was a very enjoyable albeit short experience. Afterwards we started discussing why the genre has stagnated, mostly disappeared, its strengths and weaknesses and how to bring the 2D sprite beat ‘em up back and make it relevant again.

My idea was to throw in a story campaign with RPG elements and missions, and design a map which the player can explore, Metroidvania style. This allows players to freely roam the map as they choose with multiple routes. Every new decision is a potentially dangerous one, as there are no health pick-ups to speak of. Your survival depends on finding a save point and recovering health there.

The focus on missions also gives variation to the fighting in the game and we’ve got more ideas to provide even further variety over the whole campaign.

I remember what it was like to be a kid, throwing money at an arcade machine to play ‘Beat Em Up’ games, I would imagine you’re fans of the classic ‘Beat Em Up’ games, do you have any personal favourites?

RJ: Sure do! Dynamite Dux, Streets of Rage 3, and Aliens Vs. Predator just to name a few.

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Night City Assault is a ‘Beat Em Up’ title with Role Playing elements, can you explain a little about how will that work and how the two will work together?

RJ: Instead of being restricted to levels, you’ll be able to roam and explore the map as you please, take on missions, upgrade your characters stats and abilities and unlock new moves. The arcade style of the game is replaced for a modern campaign. There aren’t any lives or continues here. If you’re taken out, it’s game over and back to your last save point.

The game has a 2 player co-op mode, how exciting will it be to experience Night City Assault with other players and will it be Online co-op or local?

RJ: Playing with a buddy will result in narrative changes and require you to work together to keep each other alive! As such as it’s most suited to local co-op, but we’ll look into the possibility of online co-op.

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Can you tell me a little about the game’s Characters and the kinds of enemies/bosses players will face when walking the streets?

RJ: The map contains various themed areas each with their own factions. You start off facing the “Punks” on the streets, but you’ll soon encounter the “Rollers”, “Dragons” and more. Being set in the 80’s, you can expect to see enemies influenced by the era. As for bosses, well…don’t want to give away too much at the moment, but an angry chef with meat cleavers can be seen in the trailer.

Other than Roy Silver or Officer Chan, will there be any additional characters to play as, or will there be any additional characters in the future?

RJ: We’d like to add a third playable character, though each additional character adds a huge move set and balancing issues. It’s a time and fund issue like most things, but never say never!

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Night City Assault looks beautifully designed, the characters look cool, overall the game has a great feel to it, how much fun is it to create?

RJ: Thanks! It’s been a tough road with many obstacles, but we’re in good shape now to make significant progress as the back end now works for nearly all the functions and features of the game. It’s awesome to see a new section of the game come to life and we’d love for the beat ’em up community to get involved and help us shape the game!

So out of the three stretch goals, the final one remains a secret, any chance of getting the reveal out of you? *laughs*

RJ: A certain platform!

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Obviously, you’d like to see the game make it to the PlayStation 4 and Wii-U, were the Xbox One and PC always priorities?

RJ: Yeah, we chose the Unity engine to make porting to various platforms an easier task. We start developing for PC and move outwards from there. Since Microsoft was kind enough to send us development kits free of charge, Xbox One became the console priority.

As for the games difficulty, will players have to be an Arcade master to make it through Night City Assault or will this appeal to players with no ‘Beat Em Up’ experience?

RJ: We’re hoping to make it accessible to as many people as possible. While the game will be challenging, with reaching every save point a sense of achievement, the RPG element allows you to level grind to make the game easier if you’re struggling. Additionally, an easy difficulty mode for casual players is being contemplated, but nothing is set in stone yet.

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Is there anything else you would like to say to readers or potential backers interested in Night City Assault?

RJ: We’d like everyone to try the demo and show their support. It’s early and still rough, but get involved and help make the game reach it’s full potential!

Massive thanks to Robert Jacob of Xtra Mile Games for taking the time out to chat with us, be sure to check out Night City Assault’s Kickstarter Campaign and show your support.

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Dan has been gaming for nearly 30 years and has survived everything from Nuclear Fallouts to Zombie Outbreaks but his main love is Survival Horror and don't we all know it. Favourite games include Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto, he can be regularly found cruising the streets of Vice City listening to the classics.


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