First things first: Sushi Castle is a Binding of Isaac clone.
We totally acknowledge it, and there’s even a link on the game’s page that sends you to Binding of Isaac on Steam so that you can buy it. Our goal was to make a shorter game at a cheaper price, and we don’t think it competes directly with BoI at all, they’re on totally different levels.
We had the chance to work with an amateur artist for some months and we really wanted to play a game like BoI on the Xbox (that’s our main gaming platform), so we though it would be a great experience to make a similar game on it. We think the results are really good being this his first game and doing the whole game from the ground up was a great experience for everyone involved.
We also love Binding of Isaac (and Super Meat Boy too, you can check our Gamerscores) and if you’re a PC gamer you should totally buy it, right now it’s on the Steam sales. Actually, doing this game has increased our respect for Binding of Isaac a lot.
Both Edmund and Florian did an awesome job and they took really smart decisions on a lot of things. For example character design and customization is done in a way that saves lots of frames of animation. We modified those parts in our game because we thought that they were unique on BoI, and we wanted to keep it that way.
We made this game for the people that can’t buy BoI or wants more of that kind of gameplay. There are kids that can’t play the game on PC (they don’t have Steam accounts), and also our game is way less disturbing than Isaac (I like Edmund’s twisted style, but it would be a little too much for a 10 year old to play, I think).
Furthermore, my main computer is a Core2Duo with an NVidia 9600GT and BoI runs fairly bad on it when there’s a lot on screen. It’s totally understandable because it’s a Flash game (and actually it runs well if you consider all that is going on at once sometimes), but we made a game that runs really fluid on the console (60 FPS most of the time), so it’s also an alternative for people that don’t have a PC powerful enough.
We prefer to retain the feeling of the game and add our own modifications to the mechanics . For example, we had to use a dual stick control scheme, because on the Xbox we must use a gamepad, so we decided to remove the bullet inertia. It just felt weird with the dual stick controls.
By doing that the shooting becomes snappier and the battles are faster. The shooting angles were limited to eight, basically because the artist had to draw lots of frames of animation already, so we balanced the enemies and the gameplay in general to account for it.
Two of the bosses are really clones to bosses in BoI (the sumo guy and the samurai) but the other ten were completely designed from scratch. There can be some similarities on those, but they weren’t intentionate. The rest of the game is done in a similar way, many of the first level enemies are mostly clones of BoI, but later enemies aren’t.
The same is true for other things in the game: we started with some clone items to have the game up and running, to be able to test it as soon as possible, but then we added many items that weren’t copied. We also tweaked most things to balance the gameplay and smooth the difficulty curve (although it’s still a difficult game).
We also added some new types of rooms like night rooms or 8-bit rooms, and include improvements like showing the character stats on the main interface (to be able to compare the items’ effects on the player).
DLC PLANS AND PRICING
The DLC milestones are done using our sale estimates, and you can see we weren’t planning to become rich. In fact, we haven’t reached the first milestone yet. Also, all the “DLC” will be released as free updates to the game, as a way to thank the players for their support. It’s not the first time we do that, both Little Racers were enhanced with online modes after they reached a number of sales, but it’s the first time we show the updates on the game itself.
We received some comments demanding that we should have released Sushi Castle for free. You can afford that if you’re doing it as a hobby but we’re trying to make a living of developing games. We can’t even do that, it’s not possible to release free games on the XBLIG Marketplace.
In fact, there’ also people that asked us to increase the price of some of our games, that they we’re too cheap for what they offered. Sadly, we shouldn’t do that, because to be on the “Top Downloads” chart, your best bet is to sell the game at 80MSP ($1). In that case, we recommend people to buy some of our other games to support us.
THE NEAR FUTURE AND CONCLUSSION
Our future plans rely on Steam Greenlight, because our most beloved games (and the ones with more fans, judging by the player response) are sadly not our best selling titles on XBLIG. We have many ideas that we would like to try on new games (we have an internal wiki filled with stuff), but we also think we need more experience before tackling a big and risky project (always within the limits of a small studio).
Making games is our dream job, but we still have to pay the bills, so we don’t always get to do the games we would want to do. But we try really hard to make our games as fun and polished as we can. Because when the day is off and we arrive at home, we’re gamers just as everyone else.
As you might think, we would prefer to be releasing a completely original game each month, but it’s hard to keep a young company profitable here in Spain. Some persons even said that we should get killed for cloning games, or even worse. Please try to put youself in our shoes and hope that we get the chance to do more unique games, because we would love to.
Thanks for reading the whole thing!