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#IWOCon Dev Talk: HyperParasite



Troglobytes Games is a small indie dev team from sunny Barcelona, Spain. The core team is composed of both industry veterans and young talents. HyperParasite is a rogue-lite twin-stick shooter/brawler that never plays the same twice. Collect and control 60 different characters as the body-snatching alien Parasite with a grudge against humanity. Fight to the top of the food chain: possess the President, push the Big Red Button and one-up the human race.



Q: What is something that makes your game unique?


We created a challenging action roguelite with a fresh twist on the genre. You are the bad guy, an alien Parasite with a mission: destroy the humankind! Being able to snatch the body of the humans, your enemies, you must reach the Exagon, snatch the President, and push the Big Red Button. But as HyperParasite, out of the body of a human you have only 1 (yes, ONE!) hit point. While waves of humans will try to kill you, you need to snatch a human as soon as you can and fight back, hopping from a host-body to another to avoid the permadeath. So, the innovation in the game experience is that you "need" your enemies to survive as they represent your extra lives and weapons! But it is not that easy: at the start of the game many humans are "locked" meaning you cannot possess them, but run after run, you will unlock all 60 of them. So here comes a bit of strategy: if unlocked, don't kill the strongest of the enemy on the screen but take advantage of it and snatch it to have more chances of surviving. Procedural generate maps, different abilities, upgrades, items, skills, synergies, and secrets make each run unique and there is always more to discover. HyperParasite is set in the roaring '80s: many characters are inspired to the icons of the decade (the whole Second Act is an homage to the movie "Big trouble in little China"), the game visual reminds the ones from the arcade game and PS1 while the synth-wave OST is the cherry on top.

Q: How do you deal with negative feedback about your game?


We showcased the game at many events and we cannot really recall any strong negative feedback as the game has been widely appreciated by the lovers of the genre. While in Early Access, we received some suggestions about the difficulty of the game, and we created new mechanics to soften the challenges. The hardcore gamers still find the game a "tough nut to crack", tough. Anyway, we added the "Wrong Millennium" mode in which all the contents of the game are unlocked and the player can cherry-pick the starting character among the 60 available.



Q: How did you design the gameplay mechanics of your game?

We loved the "snatch the enemy" core mechanic of an 1991's platform arcade game, "Avenging Spirit" and we implemented it in a modern action roguelite twin-stick shooter. Of course we add to all the contents required by the 2020 gaming scenario, and along those, we created sub-mechanics to keep the game balanced, yet fairly challenging and engaging. The mechanics were designed to be discovered after some runs and it is possible, sometimes necessary, to combine them to progress in the game.

Q: How do you make gamers engaged in your game?

Being procedural generated, each run offers different content and the player can decide to use several strategies, accordingly. The game offers many objectives to the player, such as unlock a character, find a secret location, collect a permanent item and so on. There is always something discover, maybe a new sub-mechanic, and that will give a new and fresh approach to the game. In different moment of the progression the player can seize the opportunity to enjoy different gameplay. For instance, when the player has unlocked some characters and has hopped from one host-body to another, he will have the possibility to snatch a Mini-Boss will try to keep it alive as much as possible since it is one of the most powerful characters of the Act. Of course, it could take some run, but we designed also how to mitigate the grinding. Be sure to check the HyperParasite Wiki for guides and hints.



Q: What pieces of advice would you tell to new people trying game dev?


In my opinion, "Developing a game" is totally different from "Developing a game that people will buy". Indie game devs need to acquire strong marketing skills (we are still learning and it's a never ending process). They need also to build up the fame of the studio taking part to jams and working on small projects that the studio can complete, in terms of resources and competences. It's important then to choose the correct socials to reach the attention of your potential audience, to plan the actions to keep your potential buyers engaged and willing to speak about your game, and to answer to your Call-To-Action. A strong feedback on the social could help to promote and even fund your project later on. You may also build up relationships with the local entities that could help you developing the game. Also keep always under the radar the online events (very common nowadays). After publishing some titles, you may think of developing a game a publisher will fund.


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