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Neon Blood

If Cyberpunk 2077 was a pixelated turn-based RPG: Introducing Neon Blood

The full dev team from ChaoticBrain is comprised of tech director Alejandro Chipelo, pixel artist Roi Turregui, and narrative director Daniel Pérez, and the trio of young talents told us everything about one of IndieDevDay's most promising and striking games.

Audio transcription

"Alright, we're in Barcelona for the IndieDevDays Day 2 for me and we're taking a look at a very interesting game which, you know, combines some stuff that I like and the good thing is that we have the full development team here with me this is ChaoticBrain and you guys are developing Neon Blood which is, from the outside it looks like an action game but it's actually an RPG with a fantastic, I have to say, and that's because of you with a fantastic pixel art on top of a 3D environment so, of the three of you guys, who can define the main concept of the game?
It was like a remix of the things that we love and we like and we take a couple of inspirations of Blade Runner from the environments like one in particular game that is Octopath Traveler developed by Square Enix that mixes and blends very well the 2D pixel art characters with the 3D environments and we love RPGs we kinda think like, ok, we like Cyberpunk 2077, we like Blade Runner we like this kind of aesthetic of cyberpunk themes and so on what could it become like an RPG classical game like Octopath Traveler, Final Fantasy and so on but with cyberpunk theme and aesthetic and so on it was like, oh my god, our brain explode and we started to think oh my god, the main character could be a detective with lots of problems in a very high populated city with all these kinda cool things and it came along very well my point is that I love action and gory, so that's perfect that's a very important point that you have to be a really fan of all the things that you like for example in a video game, cyberpunk, RPGs, to make something that you like for example we are trying to make a game that we really enjoy to play, that's the point and you said action, you know, the first time I saw the game I thought it was an action game as I said but of course you do have some action in the game you have some combat, which is turn-based, but then you showed me cinematic which is pretty gory, as you said, pretty John Wick-y, right?
but before that, being this your first game how did you guys make the art work on top of the 3D environment?
it was at the beginning like a kinda thing of trial and error because at first it's a bit difficult to blend these 3D environments with the 2D pixel art the first iteration of Neon Blood was completely different with more simplicity characters and style of pixel art very low poly, could you say, with less pixels for characters and so on and then we tried to enjoy our ride and to take our style with pixelated textures for the 3D environments, with all the lighting and the shaders involved personally I entered later, not from the beginning and when I entered I thought we need to desaturate everything because we have some great shaders which make the lights reflect so we don't need that colors, we need something more noir, more dark and this, with some kind of art animation, I made that refined the pixel art and the reason is not only that you are fans, the reason is there is a story behind it there is something you guys want to tell in this interesting world so what can you tell us about what's going on narratively?
narratively, we actually want to tell the story of a detective on the cyberpunk environment we started writing that, for example, the first iteration of the Neon Blood script was with him, just too much meetings, talking about well, we can do this, or if Axel takes this and we end with a script of 16 pages we have to say, ok, we have to cut this and after iteration, iteration, iteration, we leave something more cartoonish something more, maybe foolish, something more..."

"perhaps like Octopath, like you said, as in cartoonish, and then you went more serious no, no, it was, for example, when he joins us, all the game turned over to be more dark in this case, more noir, to take the game more serious the people can play it and say, ok, it has some funny spots, but it's a dark story, I mean, it's hard so this is, for example, the narrative has evolved a lot on the developer and what can players expect to do in the game?
I mean, of course there is some exploration, you're first person, if I'm correct, or third person?
third person, you see the character, you're exploring the world and then there is turn-based combat, so what do you have to do here?
Do you have to, sort of, are you following missions, or is this a linear path and then you find enemies that all of a sudden, randomly attack you?
Yeah, well, it's for you, but there's a mode in the game that's really enjoyable that is the detective mode, that helps you to follow some clues and the game, I think that the main, no, the most interesting thing in the game is that you have to be following that clues, and when you are advancing through the game you get faced to some combat, to new characters, to new enemies, and that kind of stuff but the main thing you have to do is investigate, so that is the detective You start like a regular police, a regular detective, and then with the process of the story of the flow of the narrative, you end up becoming the key part of a revolution that aims to destroy the foundations of this cyberpunk and noir aesthetic We have two cities, one very luxurious and one very poor and the luxurious city is trying to aim to destroy the poor city They want to become like a very, very rich and very high populated city but you are a detective from the poor side of things and you try to make a revolution and try to make things as equal as possible but yeah, the world is not only white and black, it's like a scale of grey You start the game as a standard day for detective Axel McCoy and all the things start to be wrong, I think He starts investigating something, violence between gangs on the city but he has like a string, he can pull, he's like, ok, this is not only for the gangs he has more involved, this is something from Bright City, this is something that is more deep than it seems to be From the big wigs, right?
Yes And mechanically, how do you combat?
Because, of course, we talked a little bit about exploration but how do you combat?
It's turn-based, but what type of abilities do you have at your disposal and how can you deal?
I don't know how many enemies are you perhaps facing, are there bosses in the game?
Yes, exactly, for the combat you usually have three characters One is the main, it's Axel McCoy Following the story, some people will follow Axel Will join your party Exactly, yes Some of them are a typical RPG role, I think There is a tank, a rogue, a shooter, something like that You have to choose two of them that will combat with you and you can battle against up to three enemies This is a turn-based game You have abilities, you have items, it's like a standard RPG game in that part but all the animations that are involved in the combat is what makes the difference And bosses?
Yes, there are a lot Of course, there are going to be bosses There are bosses Okay, I think I got a general overview on the game but this is just your first game as we said so what's the status of it?
Is this vertical slice, is this pre-alpha?
Are you guys ready in the release?
Where are you at right now?
We keep developing the game Right now we are like a very early, early, early pre-alpha Right now we have like six months to a year left of development We are finishing right now the main core loop of the game How you interact with the detective mode, all the bosses, all the fights and so on But yeah, we are working very hard We keep development and this is like the first iteration to the real world that we show Neon Blood What we have here is actually not going to be public in a few months but when we release it we will tell on Twitter and Steam, all that stuff Where are you guys based?
In Madrid I'm from here, Barcelona He's playing local this time And you also have a publisher already so I guess with this vertical slice you sort of very easily convinced the publisher and you're working together from now on in this journey, right?
Yes, we started with Meridiem the last year About September, almost a year actually and it was amazing, it is amazing work with them and they give us a lot of feedback so the game has improved even beyond our imaginations right now And then I don't know if you can answer here Having Meridiem with you guys does this mean that you guys are going to release on several platforms and launch physical editions as per usual with Meridiem?
We are aiming to release Neon Blood in all the major platforms That's it, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox, Steam, Epic Games and so on And we are working right now, we can't tell so much but it's a scope for a physical release next year, yes And you're also part of the PlayStation Talents Program, right?
Yes, the PlayStation Talents Program is helping us a lot with the development Very, very, very helping us Mainly with the part of the PlayStation but they are working with us in the programming side, marketing and so on Is there anything that I missed that you think is very special about the game that you want to convey here?
I believe it's very, very clear but it's our first game, we have a lot of desire to prove ourselves in this industry and try to create the best game possible in our capacities and we are happy to be here and enjoy the ride This is our opening letter to the video game industry Please cross fingers and stay Looking forward to playing Neon Blood very soon and thank you so much for your time Thank you"





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