I did some fact-checking and it turns out I’m a little off on the numbers – Bleed has been in production for over two years, but not quite three. My bad. Still, a pretty long time, right?? I figured I’d show a bit of how the game started and how it’s changed over the years!
Bleed was originally created with two goals in mind; to be an incredibly quick and fluid sidescroller, and to be as dark and violent as possible. Huh? Well, before Bleed, my games had a very goofy style. People enjoyed them, but a common complaint was that they were a little… you know.
So in an effort to reach a wider audience – especially on the XBLIG market – I was gonna make an uber-violent, uber-bloody ass-kicker of a game. It was going to star a ruthless, animalistic warrior on the brink of death, clawing his way back to life through a surreal hallucination of a dream word. He’d probably look something like this.
I put together a two-level prototype to test everything out – collision detection, enemies, bosses, dynamic camera, etc. Here’s some footage of a run-through I whipped up!
You can see some… interesting gameplay mechanics at work. The air-dash move is there in a basic form, and the game rewards you for narrowly dodging attacks by super-powering your weapons for a brief time. Inspired by Bayonetta, most likely (that game rocks.)
The boss even survived, at least in spirit! I really like the idea of battles that become progressively more outlandish, and it’s an enemy that forces you to use all the gameplay basics to fight effectively.
So what the hell happened? Two things.
The game was going to be heavily focused on story – but at the end of the day I had to realize that 99% of players just don’t care. Besides, I’m not exactly Shakespeare. I have no doubt that it would have ended up as a pretentious, self-important mess.
Much more importantly, doom-and-gloom, ultra-serious-for-no-good-reason just isn’t me. I’m a lighthearted, fun-loving guy and I think it would have come off inauthentic. I believe what I have now is much more entertaining, and a more pure expression of myself to boot!
Some other notes:
-People who played the prototype were freaked out by the hero character and thought he was supposed to be an enemy.
-There used to be separate buttons for jumping and air-dashing. It was confusing and most people ended up awkwardly air-dashing everywhere when a jump would have sufficed.
-Do those tilesets look familiar? If you think so, you’re probably wrong. You should just forget about it.