Resogun Postmortem Talks About PS4 Development, Scrapped Ideas & More (Update)

April 8, 2015 Written by Jason Dunning

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Update:

Housemarque published their own video postmortem for Resogun, giving us a look at never-before-seen development builds and more as it went from inception to release in November 2013:

Original Story:

Yesterday, Housemarque Lead Programmer Harry Krueger went on Gamasutra and posted a big postmortem for Resogun, which was released along with the PlayStation 4 in November 2013, then came to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in December 2014.

As Krueger revealed, Resogun was developed by a core team of 12 members – and around 20 when you add in support from their R&D and art departments – in about 20 months, with an additional 12 months spent on the Heroes and Defenders expansions.

Starting out as platform-agnostic, Housemarque had access to PS3 and PS Vita dev kits in-house, so they used those as a reference for potential platforms. Since multi-platform development was considered, the weakest platform, in this case the PlayStation Vita, became the lead hardware.

So how did it come to be a PS4 game? After a year or so of development, they saw that their release schedule matched up with Sony’s launch window for the PS4. Krueger adds:

This was the first time when the idea of a PS4 exclusive came up. Transitioning to a different platform at such a late stage represented a moderate risk, but after several talks with Sony everyone agreed that Resogun would benefit greatly from becoming a PS4 exclusive and harnessing the extra power we’d get from such a machine.

Although we received devkits fairly late (roughly eight months before the PS4’s launch), we were already largely aware of the possibilities the PS4 would allow through features like compute shaders and 8GB of unified GDDR5 memory, so we started working within these lifted constraints immediately.

By moving to PS4, they were able to forget the early compromises and “push the game to its full potential.”

Early on in the development of Resogun, Housemarque was planning on having “brighter colors, blue skies, and a more naturalistic tone, to represent environments that we thought would be the human habitats.” The first level was prototyped to include a huge tree in the background, but as we know, they eventually went for a darker tone.

Here’s a quick look at some of the many ideas that didn’t make the final cut for Resogun:

  • The Weapon Shop – By killing enemies and saving humans throughout the level, you’d collect orbs which functioned as in-game currency. At the end of each phase, a weapon shop would descend onto the playfield, allowing you to exchange orbs for power-ups. While the implementation was great, they felt it negatively impacted the pacing of the game.
  • The World Map – Housemarque was originally planning to have 10 levels in the game, and a world map would have connected them with each other. In between levels, you’d land on the map and be able to select the next level from multiple routes. “It was unnecessarily complicated, and we ended up discarding it because, once more, it affected the intensity and flow of the experience.”
  • The Humans – Originally, Housemarque had humans that would be easily killed by enemies, and eventually by you. Later on, humans were given an extra glow to indicate the power they’d give you, with special humans giving you power-ups and normal humans doing nothing. Since it was difficult to communicate and hard to keep track of during gameplay, they scrapped it.
  • 360-Degree Shooting – Just like Super Stardust HD, Housemarque first prototyped Resogun with 360-degree shooting, allowing players more freedom. By limiting shooting to horizontal-only, it forced players to move more, make more decisions, and take more risks, ultimately creating more gameplay.

While they’re happy with the original version of Resogun, “having a tight and immovable deadline tied to the PS4’s launch meant that certain compromises were made regarding the amount of content we delivered.” This led to a short Arcade mode that limited the long-term appeal of Resogun, and didn’t give them enough time to effectively prepare for future expansions, leading to some problems once the Construction Kit expansion was released.

Are you still playing Resogun?

[Source: Gamasutra]