An Interview With the Developers of Wulverblade
Wulverblade is a side scrolling beat-em-up coming soon for the Nintendo Switch, set in ancient Roman Britain.
After watching the trailer for Wulverblade, we got in touch with the developers to learn more about it.
Many games opt for a medieval setting, so it’s interesting to see a game like Wulverblade choose 120 AD for its setting. What inspired you to pick this historical setting and premise?
Britain’s history goes back many thousands of years yet we rarely see or hear much about the times before Rome had settled here. Our ancient history has always been of interest to me and visiting stone circles and old Roman ruins had always ignited my imagination. There are so many incredible tales from this era as the native British tribes fought to retain/regain their freedom for hundreds of years against the might of Rome. It seemed like the perfect setting for Wulverblade!
Wulverblade is described as having a cinematic, historically accurate storyline. Would you describe it as a story-driven game? How much research went into the development of the plot?
The game has been in production for 5 years now and I’ve spent as much time researching as I have actually making it. In fact, dare I say, I may have spent more time researching, ha ha. It’s become something of an obsession. In my search for the locations for the game I’ve climbed the highest mountain road in England, trekked through remote moorland, and covered hundreds if not thousands of miles in the search of making this game something special. Sitting atop the ruins of an old forts defensive tower high up upon the highest mountain pass in England was probably one of the most inspiring moments of my life!
One thing I always remind people when talking about the story is that we have gone on the facts and information available to us. Sadly the ancient Britons didn’t leave a written history as that wasn’t part of their culture, so all we have to go off is the words of Rome. These are always very one sided so the information available has to be taken with a grain of salt. We have also woven in this island’s incredible folklore and folktales. This was a land rich in superstition so it seemed wrong not to include elements of that too. Needless to say though, I feel confident in saying that the story follows as accurate a timeline as possible and almost all the elements in the game have historical research behind them in one way or another.
Are there any resources you’d recommend to players interested in learning more about this era of history?
Well, you maybe interested to know that there is a HUGE resource in the menu system of the game where you can learn all about the period in much more detail. Like in an RPG where you unlock lore, in Wulverblade you unlock history! I painstakingly documented just about everything along the way during my research and you get to unlock all this during the game. Everything from dramatic aerial footage of the locations to photos and fact sheets about weapons, tribes, Romans, and just about everything else you could wish to know! For those that are interested, there is a huge amount to see and read here.
According to its description, the side-scrolling beat ‘em up gameplay of Wulverblade was inspired by Golden Axe, Sengoku, and Knights of the Round. What games would you most compare it to, and what makes Wulverblade stand out?
I’d definitely put Wulverblade alongside all the aforementioned titles as due to those being weapon based brawlers they are the closest in terms of gameplay. We also took a huge amount of inspiration from Final Fight and Streets of Rage as their combat mechanics were pretty genre defining at the time.
We didn’t want to simply do what had been done before though. When creating Wulverblade we spent a whole year taking the elements that we believed worked best from the classic titles and used those as our core foundations. From there we then built on that with combat additions that we believe compliment the genre without detracting from the retro roots. We have a vast degree of additional mechanics like dashing, blocking, countering, running, heavy weapons, and combos. So there’s quite a lot of extra elements that make our combat very different.
Will Wulverblade make use of any of the Switch’s special features, such as HD Rumble? Is there a reason Wulverblade is coming to the Switch before any other platform?
For us and I think just about every developer out there, the prospect of making your game for both a Nintendo and also a platform that is essentially a home console ‘on the go’ is just the dream combination. Everyone in their hearts loves Nintendo, they are the roots of this industry and it’s an honour to appear on one of their consoles.
2 player local co-op is a big feature in Wulverblade and how we would love for most people to experience the game. It works brilliantly in single player too, but nothing beats sliding the controllers off and playing next to your friend. No other system allows you to take your console out and about and play side by side so easily. That’s a feature that really stands out to us as we grew up playing side by side in the arcades. The Switch is the closest thing available in the modern age to that experience. And to us, that’s magic.
As far as why we chose to do a 4 week exclusive with Nintendo, it was down to just how amazing they’d been with us. All the other platform holders had been great, but Nintendo’s approach to dealing with indies has been, well, mindblowing. They loved the game and were willing to shout about it, so it seemed only fair that we gave something back as a way of thanks.
What can you tell us about how co-op will work?
There are two distinct modes in Wulverblade, the campaign and the arenas. In the campaign you play side by side as either two brothers or brother and sister in your quest to draw out the Romans and destroy them before they attempt to invade the north. The story is everything in Wulverblade and it focuses around the 3 siblings, Caradoc, Brennus and Guinevere. As you play, the story unfolds via beautifully illustrated and narrated cut scenes. When you play in co-op you are playing as two of the three characters and it just really intensifies the experience to work together with someone through the story.
In the arenas you can play one of two ways, ‘with’ your friend and fight off the hordes of enemies using your own strategies, or go it alone, switch on friendly fire and fight for individual glory, stealing kills, stealing food, and inflicting pain on your friend.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about Wulverblade?
Just to say that Wulverblade has been a passion project for 5 years and is literally the realisation of a childhood dream. We’ve sunk our hearts and souls into this game and really, genuinely hope that the world loves the rich story and gameplay as much as we do. We’ve already got an amazing free update for the game in the works and that will roll out around a month after release. We truly hope you all love it!
We enjoyed this look into Wulverblade and the amount of research and history behind its development. What are your thoughts on Wulverblade? Let us know in the comments.