There is no better way to kill time at work than with a launching game. Instead of being productive, thousands of people every day fire penguins, hedgehogs, and other objects through the air in simple browser games, using the stat points they earn from each attempt to boost hangtime. These games are fast, simple, and require very little mental energy to enjoy.
All that’s missing is blood, an epic storyline, and flying daschunds. Thankfully, Berzerk Studio, via Adult Swim Games, has rectified the situation with the release of Titan Lunch Retaliation, adding the brutality and gravitas the genre previously lacked. As the titular titan, players leap from a tall cliff, soaring through the sky and spearing enemies with a grappling hook and sword to keep afloat. A magnum opus of the highest caliber, Titan Lunch Retaliation asks a lot of important questions about the nature of man, his struggle for sustenance, and the consequences of heroic actions.
Or maybe it’s just a game about stabbing eyeballs and dragons. Whatever. To find out a little more about the game and its design — very little, actually — I spent five seconds talking to Étienne Jean, lead artist and one of the founders of Berzerk Studio, about Titan Lunch Retaliation. Then, Rémi Lavertu, the "kinda PR guy" at Berzerk Studio, took over, as Étienne had to go and fluff his bed of money. Here’s what they had to say about a game that nobody is talking about.
Michael Rousseau: Where did the concept for Titan Lunch Retaliation come from?
Étienne Jean: The idea came from my head. Seriously, we wanted to make a toss game with a brutal concept. I thought about it for quite some time and came to the conclusion that killing stuff to remain in the air was pretty badass.
Rémi Lavertu: For the artwork it's mostly kickass things that we think about pretty much all the time; there's not much more to it beside "being awesome" really.
MR: Can you tell me about the titan motion capture you did for the game? I don't see the titan you used listed in the credits anywhere. Was it some unnamed unionized frost giant you decided to pass off?
RL: We wouldn't dare do that! It was actually quite a pain to get a titan in the first place, especially as we used to smite some a few years ago while searching for the answer to the riddle of steel and thought maybe we could have killed our actor's uncle/father/son.
After reaching out to an old hermit who used to shelter titans after "Operation Olympus" in 1993, we were able to contact one who was working as a janitor in a bacon factory — a place where they kill pigs and make bacon and other kinds of pig meat, I guess — who was willing to help us against a few bucks and an ancient statue of a naked pagan deity. It took us three weeks to find the right place and equipment to get the motion capture done, and it went quite well until we found out our titan friend was hunted down by ancient undead hoplites who caught up to him while we were having ourselves a beer-heavy party after the job was done.
Hordes of creatures came in and we only had empty beer bottles to defend ourselves but we somehow managed to fight off the enemy. The reason why the titan isn't mentioned in the credits is only to help him keep low profile.
MR: So, why is this titan trying so desperately to recover his lunch? Can't he get another meal? Where is the emotion coming from? What drives the titan?
RL: It is mostly a matter of principle, actually, and I guess many people can relate to the titan in this case. When you're hungry for some nice piece of meat and it gets stolen by whomever for whatever reason, it is legitimate to get fueled by rage and hunger and to seek vengeance through bloody rampage. Titans and other manly beings usually have access to unlimited supplies of food, booze, and women, but being a badass means that you won't accept defeat or humiliation.
MR: The one burning question on everyone's minds: What happens to the titan when he falls off the bottom of the screen? Pain? Death? A long walk back to the cliff?
RL: We can't say for sure exactly happens at this point in space and time, but you should have noticed that the titan is a godly being with an unquenchable thirst for blood and/or retribution. Whatever happens, he'll always come back!
MR: What inspired the different enemy designs? I get the dragons and harpies, but the flying fez monkeys are anachronistic.
RL: Inspiration comes from anything, anywhere, at any time. In this case, Étienne was inspired by various mythical monsters, but there are always exceptions; the monkeys are a direct reference to the Wizard of Oz, and we think flying dachshunds are just very funny!
MR: Why make light of such a desperate life and death struggle, though? How are games supposed to move forward as a powerful narrative device if we keep filling them with hilarious animals?
RL: We firmly believe that one shall struggle enough in his own life to accomplish mighty deeds, and therefore needs the game to reach a temporary peace of mind through fun and relaxation.
MR: What does Titan Lunch Retaliation do that other launch games don't?
RL: An elaborate gameplay and a deep — at times even philosophical — story.
MR: What's next for you and your team? Where can you possibly go after this?
RL: We shall keep on making awesome/kickass/badass/thundering games with awesome/kickass/badass/thundering characters forever and ever until doomsday (2012). Anything else is irrelevant.
MR: Anything else you would like to add before I get back to stabbing eyeballs with my grappling hook?
RL: Live fully, be awesome, and remember that if you listen to fools, the mob rules! Thank you.
MR: If you say so! Thanks for your time, and good luck with your future object-launching games.
RL: It has been my pleasure! Good luck with your future spasm-inducing interviews!