Sometimes you just want a spot of mindless action, ludicrous explosions and… cats. Knowing this eternal truth, Chunkybox Games have put together Wildcat Gun Machine, the purest articulation of violence and felines that we’ve seen this side of Thundercats.
To better understand this festival of gore, we got in touch with the mysterious ‘Dave’, the one-man-band behind Wildcat Gun Machine, and asked him some questions. If you like the idea of strapping yourself into a mech and laying waste to a level, then read on…
Could you please introduce yourself and your role on Wildcat Gun Machine?
I’m Dave and aside from the music which was composed by the amazing GODONTGO, I developed Wildcat Gun Machine as a one-person-team.
Could you give us a quick rundown of Wildcat Gun Machine?
Wildcat Gun Machine is a bullet hell shooter packed with a massive arsenal of weapons, epic boss battles and a challenging level of difficulty. You can also pet the cats.
Going by the over-the-top (and cat-filled trailers), Wildcat Gun Machine looks like it just wants to be no-nonsense fun. Is that fair?
That’s right. I like to call the game an ‘explosion rollercoaster’. There’s no story to the game, it’s just about the action and making sure the moment-to-moment gameplay is as polished as possible.
How does a player progress?
The game has a linear campaign so players navigate through sprawling maze-like dungeons filled with challenging enemy encounters. There are perks and weapon upgrades the player can use to upgrade themselves and become an unstoppable force of destruction.
You’ve been at pains to point out that Wildcat Gun Machine is hand-crafted. Are these constructed levels, rather than something procedurally generated?
That’s right. The levels aren’t procedurally generated and there isn’t a rogue-like element to the game, it’s more like a classic arcade shooter. By taking randomness out of the gameplay, you can design very specific challenges and really mess with the player through the enemy encounters. It also means the gameplay can be designed around the types of weapons I know the player will have access to.
What can you tell us about the forty gun types? Will they feel wildly different from each other?
The gun variety is there to keep the game feeling fresh. The player should be discovering new weapons pretty frequently and if a certain gun doesn’t suit their playstyle, they’ll find another pretty soon. There’s classics like the shotgun and flamethrower, as well as more out there weapons like a gun that fills the screen with ice shards. The BFG also makes an appearance.
The highlight from the trailer for us (aside from the cat) is the ridiculously OTT mech that you can strap into. What’s the story behind it? Do we get to use it frequently?
There are a few giant mechs in the game. After each major boss fight the player is rewarded with one of these mechs and a screen full of enemies to mow down. It’s to make the player feel super powerful for a while and break up the challenging gameplay.
What was the inspiration behind the enemies? They mostly make us feel uncomfortable.
The enemy designs are intentionally gross to make it more satisfying to see them explode into piles of guts. It’s just like popping pimples.
The moment to moment gameplay draws a lot of inspiration from games like Enter the Gungeon (minus the rogue-like element) as well as high intensity shooters like Doom.
You’ve been building a Discord community. How much has that factored into the finished product?
Discord, as well as the Steam forums have been a great way to reach out to the community. There have been a few online demo events where I was able to get feedback from players, which was invaluable developing through Covid and the lack of trade shows to get feedback from.
How does it feel to be launching a first game? And a multiplatform one at that?
Slightly nerve-racking but it is extremely exciting to finally have the game out there.
What’s the secret to an awesome boss battle?
I feel like bosses that require the player to learn their attack patterns and find opportunities to attack are the most rewarding. A heart pumping music track is also important.
The Steam page says there are ‘monster closet combat puzzles’. What is a monster closet when it’s at home?
I’m not sure, but I’m sure it doesn’t smell great.
And finally… are we going to have our asses handed to us?
For sure. But it’s ok, Wildcats have 9 lives.
And finally, finally… whose is the cat in the trailer?
I wish I could say we hired a professional stunt cat, but it was the cat of someone at the marketing agency who put together the trailer.
Hopefully that tickled your fancy, as Wildcat Gun Machine isn’t far away. It’s due for release on Xbox, PC, Switch and Playstation on May 4th, which will be here in no time at all. You can be sure that we will be giving it the traditional TheXboxHub lowdown and review when it arrives.