By Andrew Dodson on August 17, 2013 at 8:00am
Everyone probably remembers that one show that they would rush home after school every single day to catch the last half of their favorite TV show. Or if the bus was going particularly fast that day, you might have even gotten to watch the whole thing. For me, that show was the "Power Rangers," and I'm sure I was not alone in that boat. In the early- to mid-90's, "Power Rangers" was the show to watch; it had superheroes, giant robots, aliens, monsters, and too many cheesy special effects and one-liners to count. Even though each episode was essentially the same thing, the show had an energy that captured the imagination of any kid that watched it.
Fifteen years later, it's hard to exactly recall that energy that made "Power Rangers" so irresistibly awesome, but recently a game appeared on Kickstarter appears to making an attempt at that energy. Enter "Chroma Squad."
"Chroma Squad" is being developed by Behold Studios out of Brasilia, Brazil, and it looks like something unique. It's a turned-based strategy game where the player takes control of a studio making a TV show with a super sentai theme. For those that don't know, "sentai" is a Japanese word referring to the concept of a team of superheroes that have the ability to transform (usually each hero has a color associated with them) and typically also summon some kind of giant creature or robot to help them in times of need. In "Chroma Squad," the player controls their squad of sentai heroes to defeat the imagined foes that their studio sends to them while they're on set during filming. Hopefully, they manage to make a hit episode for the TV show. It is pretty meta.
With past games like "Knights of Pen and Paper," super unique and meta games are kind of what we expect from Behold Studios.
Player Theory managed to get a second to interview a developer at Behold Studios and talk a little bit about "Chroma Squad" during the last days of their Kickstarter project.
PT: Can you take a moment to introduce yourself and tell us your part in the Behold Studios team?
SC: I'm Saulo Camarotti, producer, co-founder, and programmer at Behold Studios.
PT: I have to say, when I heard about a turn-based tactical game based around sentai heroes, I was already in. The part where the player is running a TV studio filming a sentai show threw me a little bit. It's a really unique concept. Was there a specific reason to make it a game about a TV show rather than just about the heroes?
SC: We're always trying to make something new, epic, or awesome in our games. We really like the meta language, so, that way we could make tons of jokes about the game and the theme. Jokes like, "Why don't we just use our strongest weapon at once?" would only be possible in a meta-game like this.
PT: I'm interested in the TV studio part of the game. In the Kickstarter, you mention that buying fireworks might increase the damage of your heroes, but what about things like lights and cameras. How will they affect the game?
SC: We have tons of items that will affect your studio. Most of them improve your episode quality and with that improve your audience and get more fans to your studio. In every episode you record, you'll have to worry about the things you'll use to make the episode cooler, and get the audience's attention.
PT: In the Kickstarter, it's mentioned that there will be different 'roles' to be filled by the heroes. Can you tell me about these roles and what makes them unique in the game?
SC: Each character has its own role in the game. For example, we have Lead, Assault, Assist, Scout, and others, and each of them have their own skills, items, and roles in battle mode. We have some group skills as well, but each role is responsible for balancing the team.
PT: I love the old-school animation that you're using in "Chroma Squad." Is there any reason you decided to go with that particular style rather than using newer graphic-rendering techniques?
SC: We all love pixel-art! And we're making a game where you could feel at home and remember how it was to watch "Power Rangers" while jumping over the couch when you were 10 years old.
PT: The story part of the game interests me. s the story going to be based on the heroes in the show or based more around something happening at the TV studio? Or a mix of the two?
SC: It's a mix between the two. We have the story that happens in the episodes, but occasionally the actors forget that they're not really heroes, so, they mix up the reality sometimes.
PT: Can you tell me about an enemy that the player may have to go up against?
SC We have tons of enemies. On our Kickstarter page, we show some of them. For example, the "Cardboard Boxer."
PT: It's pretty obvious that the "Power Rangers" had a pretty big influence on this game. What other sources provided inspiration for some of the things we'll see in "Chroma Squad"?
SC: We all watched "Flashmen," "Changemen," "Jiraya," "Jaspion," "Black Kamen Rider," "Cybercops," and some others. But everything from geek pop culture we're using as reference. Just like "Knights of Pen & Paper," this is not a game just for sentai fans.
PT: The end of the Kickstarter video teases at a giant robot vs. giant monster fight - a fundamental part of the super sentai genre. Can you hint at how the kaiju battles are going to work, or is that a secret until the game is released?
SC: Sorry, it's a secret! I can tell you that it is turned-based like "Final Fantasy" or "Deep Dungeons of Doom," and it's going to be awesome!
PT: "Chroma Squad" is already a success on Kickstarter. How was the experience using Kickstarter to get the game fully funded? Were you worried when you first put it up?
SC: We were counting on "Knights of Pen & Paper" community for this KS campaign. We thought that the major websites would post about our project, considering that the game comes from the same team that did "Knights." And we were right! Everyone posted about us - Kotaku, TouchArcade, PocketTactics, EuroGamer - and that was really awesome. We're very excited with all the feedback, and it's very good to start a project knowing that we have already some fans.
PT: "Knights of Pen & Paper" (which is a super fun game) was your most recent success - winning the Student Showcase at IGF this year. Are there any specific lessons you learned from "Knights of Pen & Paper," during development and after, that you're able to apply to "Chroma Squad?"
SC: Tons of them! We actually did a week of meetings where we discussed our major rights and wrongs of "Knights" and how we could use them all to improve "Chroma Squad," things like multiplayer (that is a must) and micro-transactions, which we removed completely.
PT: Are there any future projects that Behold Studios are brainstorming right now, or is "Chroma Squad" the main focus right now?
SC: "Chroma Squad" is the main focus, but we're always working on other projects including some board games.
PT: Last question. Serious question time. Of all the super teams that exist now, which one would you want to be a part of?
SC: Behold Studios.
"Chroma Squad" is in the final days of its Kickstarter, and while already successful, they could definitely still use some support to make sure this game is as perfectly cheesy and fun as it needs to be. The game is estimated to be in the hands of the players by December of this year.
Chroma Squad Kickstarter Behold Studios Behold Studios Facebook