Gungrave began life as the gothic “Wild West” shooter for PlayStation 2 in 2002, amid a revival of supernatural Western tales in fiction. The game’s protagonist, Beyond the Grave, was a sleek gunslinger designed by Yasuhiro Nightow, known for his work on the Trigun animated series. In substance and design, it paid homage to this classic franchise, attracting a large player base. Gungrave popularity was enough to spawn a sequel – Gungrave: Overdose — and his own animated series.
While dormant after this brief success, studio Iggymob remained a fan of the series – and in 2017 relaunched it as a VR action shooter. According Kim KayCOO of Iggymob, via translator and Gungrave GORE Project Manager Bobby J. Parkit was an important turning point in modernity Gungrave the comeback.
‘When we first did [Gungrave VR], it was more of a testing phase,’ Kay told GamesHub during a recent PLAION publishers showcase event. “At the time, there were quite a few VR shooters. It all started with me thinking ‘oh, why not make a VR version of [Gungrave]? What would it be like to do Grave in virtual reality?
“Most of the feedback we got when making the VR version was that people were asking for a Nope-VR version. There’s so much we can tell users about the story…and we couldn’t really show everything they wanted. We wanted to show a deeper version of the Gungrave series, and its unique pleasure.’
This feedback process led to the creation of a full-fledged third-person shooter designed to take direct inspiration from the original. Gungrave games on PlayStation 2. Gungrave GOREready to go out November 22, 2022, is described as a new chapter for the franchise. During a recent preview, we were able to get a brief glimpse of the upcoming title and found it to be a gory, gothic power fantasy.
According to Kay, the game is designed to be user-friendly for newcomers – although a working knowledge of the original Gungrave series is recommended. It is a direct sequel to the second title, Overdoseand continues the events predicted in the games of the early 2000s.
“I think it will be more fun if you play the previous versions,” Kay said. ‘But even for newcomers who have never played Gungravewe’ve added a little video on the menu that explains a bit of the story – so they won’t have any problems playing the game and understanding.’
That said, Gungrave is not beholden to the mechanics of the past – and instead pays homage, while modernizing the flow of combat and gameplay systems.
“Most shooters have a reload system,” Kay said. ‘Traditionally, in the Gungrave series, you do not need to recharge. So you don’t need to hide and reload or dodge – we don’t need all that. You just have to keep moving forward and kill everything you see.
In active play, this means Grave functions as a solid, heavier figure that can take a lot of damage – a hurdle for enemies to overcome. Without access to high-speed attacks, or attacks that require a lot of finesse to survive, players can simply unleash their weapons on advancing enemy hordes, rolling and firing with every button press. This way you can clean hallways in an instant.
Lily: Gungrave GORE Preview – A Gory, Goth Power Fantasy
Grave is powered by a force known as “necro DNA” – which also returned him to a semi-undead state in the game’s canon – allowing him to move forward without worrying about his own security. All he cares about is protecting Mika, the daughter of Grave’s former love.
“The only thing he remembers is that he has to protect a girl named Mika,” Kay explained of Grave’s mission in THIS ‘It’s the only thing he remembers.
With this missive as their guiding star, players embark on a bloody quest to protect Mika and save the world from the evil forces of Millennion, a corrupt organization filled with goons and ruthless villains.
That lore has already been set for the Iggymob team, built by developers at Red Entertainment and other contributors to the franchise’s 20+ year lore. But according to Kay, the most difficult challenge in developing a major sequel to this series was not by adapting the story – it was by making a mark in a tough, trend-based gaming industry.
‘When [Iggymob] started to develop the game, Souls-like and open world [games] were all the rage – these were gaining the most popularity in the gaming world. So at first we tried to make the game look like Souls – or an open world. When we first imagined the prototype, there was no fun in doing it.
‘While you play the game, [you’ll notice] we have a unique style of play for Gungrave. It would have been very difficult if we had to do it with open-world or Soulslike gameplay. The hard part is that we spent a lot of time going back to the old school style.
Iggymob was very keen on these changes, as they believe diversity in action games is essential. If every game is a Soulslike game, the market is flooded – and it’s a lot harder to stand out. But by grounding Grave and his abilities in a classic arcade-style gameplay inspired by PlayStation 2-era classics, Gungrave GORE forges its own identity.
“We would have lost the fun we have had we followed the path of the train,” Kay said.
By pursuing a new path and spending more time developing the identity of Gungrave GORE, production shifted from the limited “last generation” PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles to the modern PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. According to Kay, this process was an eye-opener – and allowed the team to THIS a more immersive overall experience.
The quality of the visuals has been greatly improved by this transition – as seen in our preview of the demo – as have the controls and gameplay. On PlayStation 5, the upgrade also enabled the inclusion of haptic feedback and adaptive trigger feedback on the DualSense controller.
“It’s going to be a more dynamic experience because you can feel it through the controllers,” Kay said.
While the team overcame a series of challenges in creating the game, including developing through the coronavirus pandemic and battling a frozen investment industry – which meant there were times when the team was not being paid for their work – they were eventually able to maintain stability and progress with the support of publishing partners.
“Our team still had hope and passion to develop the game, so kept going,” Kay said of the long development process and constant iteration.
“The whole development period was a bit prolonged – but fortunately and fortunately we found partners who believed in our passion, who believed in us. So we got a chance to work with more people to make the game.’
After a long period of waiting, Gungrave GORE is finally ready to launch on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Windows PC on November 22, 2022.
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