BitSummit 10 Developer Q&A: Who needs Mega Man when you've got Bat Boy?
Updated: Sep 16, 2022
For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Japan's longest-running independent game dev festival, BitSummit, reconvened this August in Kyoto. A special deputized deployment of VGG staff attended the weekend-long event and reported back with exclusive Q&As with developers in Japan's pioneering indie game dev scene. Check back in with us to explore an exciting batch of upcoming games in VGG's BitSummit 10 coverage.
Read on for an inside conversation with the developer of Bat Boy, a throwback NES platformer with a quest to rescue Bat Boy's brainwashed sports-hero teammates and confront the interdimensional mage Lord Vicious.
Bat Boy is a new entry in the NES throwback platformer genre, developed by Sonzai Games and X PLUS Games. The main gimmick of this title is the player’s bat which, outside of simple utility as a weapon, can be used to strike balls and projectiles in order to defeat enemies or solve puzzles. Hardly a screen goes by without some event that feels most suited to a baseball bat, so the gimmick is far from just a baseball skin for the game’s hero. We managed to talk with Adam Bolton from X PLUS Games at BitSummit about the upcoming title.
VGG: “To start off, please introduce yourself and the game.”
Bolton: “My name is Adam Bolton, I do PR and Market for X PLUS Games. We are showing Bat Boy at BitSummit."
VGG: “If you were to describe this game to someone who had never played video games before, what would you say?”
Bolton: “It is an 8-bit '90s callback to platform adventure games.”
VGG: “I imagine you’ve played the game itself.” Bolton: (chuckling) “Too much.”
VGG: “Too much? Perfect! Then what would you say is your favorite part of this game?”
Bolton: “When I first started testing it and working on the game in the office, I always appreciated how much of a smooth flow there is to going through the stages. If you pick up that tempo, attacking, traversing, and sprinting for the goal, it has a really nice rhythm to it with some neat traversal mechanics. You know, Bat Boy has a baseball bat: An attack, it’s deflecting projectiles, it’s using it as a jump pad as you go.”
VGG: “It looks really smooth too!”
Bolton: “Yeah, there are a lot of people working hard on it.”
VGG: “Nowadays there are a lot of 8-bit style platformers. What would you say differentiates Bat Boy from the rest of them?”
Bolton: “Well, I wouldn’t say that there’s too much that does. Sometimes it’s just that nostalgia hit; you don’t have to be wildly different if it’s that kind of formula. We do have our own visual style, we have a tremendous composer working with us making some incredible chip tunes …(In) the later levels the soundtrack is just killer.”
That must be why Bat Boy was among the six nominees for Bitsummit's Excellence in Sound Design Award, which is presented to the game that best epitomizes artistic excellence in an original musical score!
VGG: "Would you know the inspiration behind Bat Boy? Even just in choosing the name Bat Boy?”
Bolton: "I don’t know where the sports theme came from originally, but X PLUS, our parent company, we’re actually known for making premium collectible toys. So we do like Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Godzilla statues, and things like this. So our company works with … Sentai hero kind of stuff, so it was an easy choice to make it a Sentai hero game. Even Bat Boy has Ultraman colors: red and white. I came in after the game had been conceptualized.”
Bat Boy has since been successfully Kickstarted, though a tentative release date has not yet been decided. If you like what you've read here and want to follow its road to launch, wishlist the game and check out its demo on Steam and follow the developers on Twitter!