WayForward is a studio that’s no stranger to looking back, whether it’s to its own games – with re-releases of the Shantae series, for example – or revamping the past work of other developers – as is the case. case with the upcoming Nintendo Team Advance Wars remake. The GBA duo, Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp, is coming to Switch in December.
Prior to that, however, the WayForward team is revisiting one of their own catalog with BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites, an improved re-release of their 2011 2D side-scrolling hack-and-slasher starring the incumbent. dhampir, a game that originally came to Wii and other platforms courtesy of publisher Majesco.
With new IP owners Ziggurat Interactive now in place, we recently caught up with Adam Tierney, director of BizDev and Publishing at WayForward, to discuss the upcoming game, where this remaster comes from and what it is. than revisiting your own work from a decade ago …
Nintendo’s life: Can you tell us how the idea to remaster BloodRayne Betrayal came about?
Adam Tierney, WayForward: Ziggurat acquired the rights to the IP BloodRayne and its previous games, and of course WayForward developed the third game in the series (Betrayal). They reached out to us to ask if WayForward would be interested in porting the game to modern consoles, and also to explore any upgrades or additions (if any) we could address when porting the game. BloodRayne Betrayal is a game we’ve always been very proud of, so we were excited to be back in this world.
How did you decide on the exact parameters of this remaster project and what adjustments / improvements to make (and what to leave out)?
Ziggurat and WayForward discussed it together over a few phone calls. What we chose were generally features and additions that were good value for money, meaning they were achievable but also made a noticeable difference in gameplay.
Laura Bailey and Troy Baker are some of the biggest names in the dubbing industry these days – was their return to the franchise planned early on or did they come later?
I think we may have discussed the possibility of recording them during the original production, as we were working with the two on another project around the same time (Silent Hill: Book of Memories). But in 2011, WayForward was still looking to do in-game VO effectively, so the decision was made to primarily skip VO for gaming.
bringing back Laura and Troy made a lot of sense, as Betrayal was the only BloodRayne game without a full VO
As we discussed possible improvements for Fresh Bites with Ziggurat, bringing Laura and Troy back made a lot of sense, as Betrayal was the only BloodRayne game without a full VO, and it also had a lot of text dialogue, just waiting to be voiced. .
In terms of art and assets, have you had to rebuild or redesign anything from scratch? Tell us a bit about this “transfer” process.
First, we took a look at what the original production source materials were and at what resolution they exist. Often times, we illustrate and animate a project’s resources at a much higher resolution and then scale them down based on the needs of the current project. When BloodRayne Betrayal came out ten years ago, it was a 720p resolution game. Now the PS5 and Xbox Series X both support 4K resolutions. So we had to bring the art to that level of detail.
For the character animation, we also used a smart form of automated scaling that looked for patterns and curves in existing art and then made it bigger. The results were quite astonishing, much sharper and more detailed than I would expect from any type of automated process.
For veterans of the original game, what do you think are the most notable gameplay changes? Are there any design adjustments or new content?
We identified a few areas in the original game where players were often stuck or tended to stop playing due to a sudden increase in challenge. Then we made minor tweaks to it to make the game a bit more fair and balanced than it could have been when it was first released.
We identified a few areas in the original game where players were often stuck or tended to stop playing due to a sudden increase in challenge. Then we made minor adjustments to it to make the game a bit more fair and balanced.
We’ve also tweaked Rayne’s health and damage values slightly. But that was all put on an in-game rocker, so while we believe this subtly refined version is the best version to play, players who want to play the original version without these gameplay tweaks still have that option.
How many titles did you consider before choosing “Fresh Bites”?
Hahaha, I don’t even remember, it was so. Probably over 50, maybe even over 100.
You launch on all console platforms, so how do you compare the resolution / frame rate of the Switch version?
Obviously, the Switch version cannot do 4K resolution. It comes out in 1080p on a TV screen or in 720p in portable mode. But if not, the Switch version should look and play the same as on other systems.
Is it cathartic to get another pass at a game you put to bed ten years ago? How did you feel revisiting your work from that time?
It was fun, yeah! It has always been one of our favorite games, so being invited to help reintroduce it to a new generation of players has been appreciated, and I’m glad Ziggurat gave us this opportunity. And the added character VO looks like such a natural addition that it’s hard to remember the game worked without him.
Thanks to Adam for speaking with us. BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites is out on Switch September 9 – keep an eye out for our review soon.