A couple months ago (a couple dozen months, to be precise), during last year’s GDC, we found out that, although Keen’s gameplay was near spot-on, some other aspects of the game could be improved. Game Connection — a huge matchmaking event for developers and publishers — made us see lots of people from all around the globe give their impressions on Keen. Some Japanese players said it looked too Chinese. Chinese players felt the game was too Japanese. A couple industry hotshots found the game’s setting somewhat unappealing, and the protagonist a bit generic.
Off we went, back to Brazil, to fix most of these issues. The key changes, so far, are:
1- Not Japan, not China, not Asia. Keen overall aesthetics was always evidently influenced by Asian tropes, but, unlike Star Wars, our depiction of Asia was overly stereotypical, if not a bit sloppy; we were mixing lots of nations, as if Pelé dancing some Tango in Caracas was a good example of the Peruvian culture. We got rid of overly obvious references and re-imagined Keen’s universe as a brand new place, using Asia as a guideline, rather than copying/pasting cliches.
2- Kim was dull. Swords are awesome, but swords are also ridiculously overused. We switched Kim’s mighty blade to a Naginata — a weapon more associated with female warriors. Plus, we finally gave her some skates, to go with her rad, roller-derby-esque “Tony The Tiger” attitude. It also makes a whole lot of sense, as she’s the only character sliding instead of walking tile by tile (plus, it introduces a new VIDEO GAME LOGIC question: who skates on grass?)
3- Logo had nothing to do with the rest of the game. Ok, it was a neat logo, but it was totally off; had different finishing, with a big katana sword that could be seen NOWHERE throughout the game. It also had crappy legibility when small, relied too much on colors, and some people read it “Kccn.” The new one has more of that cutey “sticker look” we use everywhere else in the game.
Check out Keen’s modifications and tell us your impressions! Demo version can be downloaded here and here.
Money can be donated here!!! We need that. Badly.