Three blogposts in, and we haven’t even said much about the game yet. Let’s change this.
Comic Shapeshifter is going to be a 2D Action Platformer. We had projects that we started before this, but they are in 3D and even more ambitious than this one. Partly for this reason, we put the other projects on hold and started Comic Shapeshifter. We’ve dabbled a little bit in game development before (Javed’s even making his own game “Brock Crocodile”, which got greenlit on Steam). We are making Dimensim™: Comic Shapeshifter Junction Shark’s official first effort.
We’ve already introduced Saja, the shapeshifter, and teased a little about the story. The main “hub” to which everything is connected to is The City. There are forests with spirits and ghosts, an industrial area filled with robots (who won’t like intruders like you!) and there is a whole colony of people living under the city. There are more areas, but we won’t spoil too much for now.
There are moments in Comic Shapeshifter where you can explore the city a bit, and do some heroic or funny missions when you want to take a break from the main story. We’ve narrowed down which games we look at for inspiration regarding Comic Shapeshifter. Once we decided that our game is going to have platforming, fighting, exploring and shapeshifting, we looked at how other games have done that. I first thought the idea of shapeshifting into other characters is slightly similar to games such as Kirby, Kid Chameleon and Mega Man. Especially Mega Man Zero and ZX are franchises we are very fond of, so we looked at what it is we enjoy so much about them.
The platforming in the Mega Man games is great and using all the different abilities is fun. However, our approach will still be quite a lot different. In Mega Man’s case, your character mainly swaps the colour and gets different attacks. For Comic Shapeshifter, Saja will shapeshift into the characters of her comics — and that includes the way they move, be it agility, jump height, if they can swim or fly, and so forth and so on.
The level design for our areas will also change drastically depending on where you are. There are underwater areas, and underwater-levels aren’t something I usually find very fun in platforming games most of the time — designers tend to just let their characters walk around, with everything just being slower and floatier. The way we solve tedious underwater-sections is by letting you transform into a shark mermaid, for example. That lets you go fast, and gives you quite a bit of control and a fun move-set. (You will also be able to use the shark mermaid above water by the way — but as mermaids have no legs, her moveset might just be a liiiittle bit different on ground. Wink.)
We still have a lot of work ahead of us. We are continuing with our playable characters, and made a generic tileset that lets us test level designs we come up with. It doesn’t look very pretty at the moment, as all of it is placeholder, but here’s what our prototype looks like at the moment. Again, I cannot stress enough that this is SUPER EARLY STUFF. Look, it even has Saja’s old design which we haven’t ever shown on this blog so far.