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Interview RPG Codex Interview: Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden 2 (Soon on Kickstarter)

Crooked Bee

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Tags: Barkley 2: Revenge of Cuchulainn; Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden; Eric Shumaker; Kickstarter; Tales of Game's

Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden appeared out of nowhere in 2008 and took the internet by storm, soon becoming a hit indie title. Basketball-themed, humorous and parodying traditional JRPGs and the RPG Maker community, Barkley was one of the most unorthodox and best-written PC RPGs of recent years. And now that 4 years have passed, a sequel has been announced and a Kickstarter is to be launched next week by Tales of Game's (sic), the team behind the first game. The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa, TMROTNN:EFN7-ROC:TOGOTM-C2OTHBS for short, is an unlikely title for a game. But then again the sequel itself was long considered unlikely by those who enjoyed the first game.

You may know that the core person behind Barkley, Eric "Chef Boyardee" Shumaker, goes by the name of cboyardee on the RPG Codex forums and posted about the sequel's development in the Codexian Game Development Thread. So I guess, the developer being a Codexer, it should come as no surprise that while the first game was more of a (faux-)JRPG, Barkley 2 is going to be much more of a WRPG: non-linear, with complex character development and choice and consequence. In this interview, we talk to cboyardee about the game's concept, fully non-linear gameplay and C&C, class-changing character development and character creation that lets you influence not just the character's statistics but also the state of the world, and other exciting matters (such as Arcanum influences on Barkley and Barkley 2). Have a snippet:

When you say the game is going to be non-linear, what kind of non-linearity do you have in mind? Does it mean that Barkley 2 is going to be a fully open world game where you can go anywhere and (attempt to) do anything right from the start, or that it's going to have multiple routes through the game and multiple ways to solve quests? To what extent is your character build going to determine what you can or cannot do?

Let me give you three examples of how this game is non-linear -

First, the world itself is completely open. You can go anywhere you want or do anything you want so long as you are strong or clever enough to handle the challenges. This doesn't mean it's recommended! Think Gothic.

Second, there are multiple ways to accomplish the same thing. For instance, the very first part of the game is all about getting out of Tir na Nog, this awful megacity that the main antagonist, Cuchulainn, is corralling dwarfs into. You can do this by escaping through the sewers or this whole goofy quest where you impersonate the newly-appointed governor or through other ways.

Lastly, many of the choices you make with your character are permanent and irreversible. You can change classes, but the statistics you distribute and the choices you make for your character last forever. There are a lot of very big choices that change the entire game. For instance, over the course of the game, you can acquire robotic parts. If you acquire enough, you permanently become a robot and you can never change back. This affects mechanics - robots equip items entirely differently and have a different set of skills - as well as how certain people react to you and even the endings available to you.

I don't know if there will ever be times where your character build, or the distribution of your base stats, will ever stop you from completing things but there is a lot of content available only to certain classes. I mentioned the robot thing before. The content available to you is based more on the choices you make with the world than the choices you make with your character's statistics - but there may be times when certain options are only available if you have X amount of piety or luck or whatever.

About the complex character development - can you elaborate on how it's going to work? What new RPG mechanics does Barkley 2 have in store compared to the first game?

You start the game by creating your main character, going through a very long and detailed creation process that was inspired by games like Megatraveller 2, Darklands and Ogre Battle. You make choices at different stages of your character's development that determine not only personal statistics like their alignment, attributes and class, but also crazy things about the world, like whether certain things exist (the legendary Blue Duergar...), character names and the game's starting time (which is a lot more important than it sounds!)

When you level up, you get to distribute points into your attributes and sometimes your class changes. I don't want to say how or why your class changes, but it's pretty simple and it spoils the fun of figuring it out on your own. Classes give you passive abilities that boost your stats and active abilities you can use during combat, so they act more as a way to increase your available tactics than as something you rely on, but you may find there are some classes or abilities that help your particular play style more than others so you try to build your character around them. That said, there are certain classes that have plot or quest significance and a few that drastically alter gameplay. This is a game that highly encourages experimenting, so mess around. You really can't ruin your character, there is no "optimal build".

You posted about the sequel's development in the Codexian Game Development Thread, and when we discussed this interview you told me that, while Barkley was a straight up JRPG, Barkley 2 is going to be more of a WRPG, "fully non-linear," with "complex character development and building mechanics" as well as some "serious choice and consequence." What motivated you to expand the game's concept like that? Do you believe Barkley 2 may appeal to the Codex crowd?

It's weird, because the idea for Barkley 1 and Barkley 2 developed simultaneously. We talked about Barkley 2 a lot as we made Barkley 1 and we even drew ideas from it. For instance, the characters of Cyberdwarf and Cuchulainn were originally from Barkley 2 and we put them in Barkley 1. To me at least, this whole game feels like a very organic extension of the first. This is what we always had in mind from the beginning.

At the same time, we want to do very new things (not just for the series, but RPGs as a whole) with this game and differentiate it from the first in some ways too. It does feature a completely open world, much deeper character development and a very different combat system - so mechanically it is very different, but the tone and themes and humor are very much coming from the same place.

I think there will be people who will pass over this game like mondblut because it's an action RPG, and that's fine. This isn't a turn-based game so it's not going to be everyone's thing here. I like turn-based games more too, but turn-based games with one character suck, so we decided to make it the best ARPG we possibly could. I think people who like games about exploration, choices and mystery will enjoy this!​

Be sure to check out the game's screenshots and read the interview in full: RPG Codex Interview: Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden 2 (Soon on Kickstarter)
 

Deuce Traveler

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I really loved Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden. It was the right touch of humor and the price was great (free)! If the game mechanics are solid then I'll applaud them for making a good game, but this is one game where I never thought to myself how great it would be to see a sequel. And I wouldn't have bothered with the first one if there had been a price tag attached.

Also: "This isn't a turn-based game so it's not going to be everyone's thing here. I like turn-based games more too, but turn-based games with one character suck"

You mean like Ultima 1 or Fallout 1 and 2? Those levels of suck?
 

grotsnik

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9481.png


Magnificent. But why the violin/guitar?
 
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I don't understand why they're not more concerned with the legal aspects. Sure there's a reason the game features amnesiac robots or whatever, but the origins of the game could put them in trouble, considering it used Barkley's likeness, copyrighted images, sprites ripped from Genesis games, and music like Ian Gillian's Eternity from the game Blue Dragon. They are not non-profit hobbyists now.
 

Pope Amole II

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I don't understand why they're not more concerned with the legal aspects. Sure there's a reason the game features amnesiac robots or whatever, but the origins of the game could put them in trouble, considering it used Barkley's likeness, copyrighted images, sprites ripped from Genesis games, and music like Ian Gillian's Eternity from the game Blue Dragon. They are not non-profit hobbyists now.

E-e-eh, did you read the article? Their name is " The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa" which is unlikely to bring any copyright infingements, their main character is Hoopz Barkley who doesn't really resemble any real persons and from the screenshots it doesn't look like they've ripped the sprites out of anything. It's a kickstarter for a sequel, not the original game.
 

HotSnack

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Also: "This isn't a turn-based game so it's not going to be everyone's thing here. I like turn-based games more too, but turn-based games with one character suck"

You mean like Ultima 1 or Fallout 1 and 2? Those levels of suck?
I wouldn't say "suck," but TB games where the player only controls one character against hordes of enemies aren't great at best, and don't really play to TB's strength of finely coordinating a team of adventurers.

Also, the dev is a codexer? That'd certainly explain why the save system was so :troll:
 

Deuce Traveler

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Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture
Also: "This isn't a turn-based game so it's not going to be everyone's thing here. I like turn-based games more too, but turn-based games with one character suck"

You mean like Ultima 1 or Fallout 1 and 2? Those levels of suck?

I wouldn't say "suck," but TB games where the player only controls one character against hordes of enemies aren't great at best, and don't really play to TB's strength of finely coordinating a team of adventurers.

The defendants would also like to submit the following pieces of evidence for rebuttal:
The Geneforge Series
1st Person dungeon crawlers like the Lightning Warrior Raidy series
More rogue-like games than you can count
 

deuxhero

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Also: "This isn't a turn-based game so it's not going to be everyone's thing here. I like turn-based games more too, but turn-based games with one character suck"

You mean like Ultima 1 or Fallout 1 and 2? Those levels of suck?

I wouldn't say "suck," but TB games where the player only controls one character against hordes of enemies aren't great at best, and don't really play to TB's strength of finely coordinating a team of adventurers.

The defendants would also like to submit the following pieces of evidence for rebuttal:
The Geneforge Series
1st Person dungeon crawlers like the Lightning Warrior Raidy series
More rogue-like games than you can count

Uh, Geneforge wasn't based on one character. You could solo it, yes, but the main point was your minions who were under your direct control as long as you didn't make them dumb as bricks.

Rogue-likes are obviously a different beast with their insane complexity.
 

CappenVarra

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one of the screenshots said:
[Status: Neurotypical
:lol:

Let me guess, obsessively organizing your inventory might promote you to the legions of Neanderthal? :P
 

LeStryfe79

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Damn, that really looks like prosper! In terms of what's legal, Kwan allows anything as long as it's a comedy, which this clearly is.
 
Repressed Homosexual
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Damn, that really looks like prosper! In terms of what's legal, Kwan allows anything as long as it's a comedy, which this clearly is.

Sure, but in terms of ripping copyrighted assets, surely not.

My fear is that it might bring attention from some of the copyright holders like Warner Bros who didn't know the first game existed, and might want to take action against the people who are now trying to make a profit. What can a garage operation do against something like this?
 
Repressed Homosexual
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Damn, that really looks like prosper! In terms of what's legal, Kwan allows anything as long as it's a comedy, which this clearly is.

Sure, but in terms of ripping copyrighted assets, surely not.

My fear is that it might bring attention from some of the copyright holders like Warner Bros who didn't know the first game existed, and might want to take action against the people who are now trying to make a profit. As I said, there are many ripped assets in the game, such as the theme from the Space Jam movie itself.

What can a garage operation do against something like this, against an entity with unlimited funding?
 

Menckenstein

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Damn, that really looks like prosper! In terms of what's legal, Kwan allows anything as long as it's a comedy, which this clearly is.

Sure, but in terms of ripping copyrighted assets, surely not.

My fear is that it might bring attention from some of the copyright holders like Warner Bros who didn't know the first game existed, and might want to take action against the people who are now trying to make a profit. As I said, there are many ripped assets in the game, such as the theme from the Space Jam movie itself.

What can a garage operation do against something like this, against an entity with unlimited funding?
They'd get Kotaku'd.

"Does Warner Bros condone rape?"

"Japanese man puts Warner Bros logo styled cookie up his ass"

etc
 

eric__s

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Well, I'm pleased RPG Codex hasn't lynched me for making an ARPG yet. Hope I'm not speaking too soon.


You mean like Ultima 1 or Fallout 1 and 2? Those levels of suck?
Haha, there are exceptions, but I'd say the ability to control more than one guy in an RPG adds way, way more complexity and strategy. I mean, it's probably the #1 requested feature for Age of Decadence. We're still working on the systems, everything is still very early, but I think what we've got is very solid!

I don't understand why they're not more concerned with the legal aspects. Sure there's a reason the game features amnesiac robots or whatever, but the origins of the game could put them in trouble, considering it used Barkley's likeness, copyrighted images, sprites ripped from Genesis games, and music like Ian Gillian's Eternity from the game Blue Dragon. They are not non-profit hobbyists now.
We're being extremely careful. We've talked to lawyers and everything and so far we've been given the clear. We're going to continue to be really careful, but like Pope Amole II said, this is an entirely different game and the original Barkley was actually made under a completely different company, or rather, Tales of Game's didn't exist as a federally recognized business entity at that time and also wasn't afforded the same legal rights we have now.
 

almondblight

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Sounds wonderful (and good interview). How many days are you shooting for? Having it close right around Christmas or New Year's might cut some funds (though closing on July 4th didn't seem to hurt Dead State). Also, how about non-combat skills?

We've talked to some very cool people about stretch goals - Leon Arnott about a Mac port

:thumbsup:
 

Murk

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You have my money. Take it. Make me happy like I used to be.
 

ghostdog

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This is fantastic, I loved the first part of the Barkley Saga.




Very nice pixel art. I'm not too crazy about the combat though.
 

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