There aren't a lot of intentionally funny video games and while the first Matt Hazard didn't exactly light up the sales it did tickle a lot of funny bones. With the release of Matt Hazard:Blood Bath and Beyond coming up quickly we shot over a few questions to Brian Etheridge, the producer of the game, to see how this game differed from the first one and what we can expect from Matt Hazard's upcoming adventure.
What's the skinny on the plot of Blood Bath and Beyond and how does this tie in with the previous Matt Hazard game?
The skinny is this… Matt is in trouble and only Quentin A. Meyers (previously known as QA) knows what’s going on. General Neutronov, one of Matt’s many arch nemeses, is running amuck on the Marathon Megasoft game servers. He’s hatched a plan to get rid of Matt Hazard forever by kidnapping the old 8-bit Matt Hazard and putting him under 6 feet of digital dirt. Of course, Neutronov will have to drag the old 8-bit Matt through 8 levels of Marathon’s classic back catalogue of games; old gems such as Chest of the Pirate Queen, the ill-fated Legend of the Death Wuzzles, and of course The Adventures of Matt in Hazard Land, Matt’s first digital foray.
Matt Hazard: Blood Bath and Beyond technically takes place after Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, but the storyline is not really a sequel to the events of Eat Lead.
A lot of people have noticed that the game is similar to another XBLA game that rhymes with "Fadow Somplex", can you describe how the game is different from the other title? Could you talk about the inspirations behind the game?
Well, it’s actually funny that so many people have drawn the conclusion that we’re going after “Fadow Somplex”. Not only was Blood Bath and Beyond announced first, but it seems that some people haven’t been scouring Wikipedia for Matt Hazard backstory like they should have. In 1993 Marathon Megasoft’s Dark Outpost was the first 2D game with a flashlight that mysteriously made things glow in different colors. Funny how things come full circle, isn’t it?
In all seriousness, there are huge differences. They obviously share some major characteristics (like both being side-scrolling shooters), but the gameplay is drastically different. Many have said that Super Metroid was inspiration and that Fadow Somplex was not meant to be Contra. I would say that, from the start, Contra and Metal Slug were huge inspirations to us. The constant stream of bullets, enemies, and blood is what we wanted. We wanted to bring that old-school quarter muncher feel to XBLA and PSN. Also, we built the game to be a co-op experience from day one. I’d say that those are the main differences.
Matt skewered a lot of video game figures and genres in his first go around, what kind of feedback did you get from people inside and outside the industry about the parodies in the game? Did you think you were too harsh or is there room to further lambast the industry?
Giggles, chuckles, gasps, the occasional “Oh no you di’int”… those sorts of things. Generally, the industry people would ask me things like, “Aren’t you worried that you’ll get sued?!?” but the regular folks just laughed.
All the things that we played at are things that gamers recognized. Some of them were things that kind of ticked us off, but most of them were just industry clichés; things that we all knew about in the backs of our heads.
There is plenty left to parody, but this time around we are not telling the same kind of story as in Eat Lead. Blood Bath is a totally different type of game and the comedy comes more from the action than the dialogue (Though the one-liners remain a hallmark of the series). With BBB being so fast and frantic, we knew that we had to rely more on visual humor… like a giant, mutated penguin puking its guts out. Not your cup of tea? How about pack of pirates getting turned into crispy chunks by Matt’s flamethrower? I don’t understand why you don’t think this is funny…
Regardless, the levels themselves are filled with enemies you will think you have seen before and areas you will swear you have visited in a past gaming life.
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