Karrion Killer has been released! I'm so happy to have finally finished this short-form game about slashing your way through waves of rotten meat, and strange fleshy monsters!
For the moment, the highest scores (besides mine and LeviRamirez's) are:
EliwoodScyther with 14,794
TomFulp with 5,923 (also, thank you for being the first person (that I know of) to play the game!)
negixnodoka with 3,583
I wonder if anybody's seen the ending just yet... I don't think so, but I might be wrong about that?
Anyhow, with Karrion Killer now finished I can delve into post-mortem reflections about it, and discuss some of the scrapped content...
My primary inspirations when approaching the game were DOOM, Monster Party, and Downwell, although Levi might have his own different list of games he drew inspiration from with this project.
I like to describe the game in a few key "phases" of development, because it started life fairly differently to how it ended up when we finally released it.
Stage 1: "Piconjo Kills Newgrounds"
Karrion Killer started life as this conversation I had with a few people on Hotbun that got a little out of hand... This was around the time Oney was under scrutiny from Twitter for something mind-bogglingly ridiculous, and I remember I just kinda got sick of it. I think the initial idea was "Let's make a shooter/platformer thing where you kill Newgrounds characters or something as a twitter NPC", but I ended up getting carried away with the idea and conceived a game where you'd play as Piconjo (to make it more "subtle" commentary on the issue) and you killed Newgrounds characters, culminating with a face-off with Oney or somebody else from Newgrounds. You could use Piconjo's lanky arms to grapple onto surfaces and launch enemies around. The ending would have seen Piconjo turning into the NPC meme or something equally stupid.
Of course, this never went anywhere and was purely conceptual, thus it ended up scrapped.
The Piconjo origins of the project are still referenced via the "Besitzen Sie" palette, which is meant to serve as an homage to the Piconjo character.
Stage 2: "Night of the Living Foreskin"
When we started to better define the project, LeviRamirez and I settled on creating a unique world with distinct characters. It was originally to be called "Night of the Living Foreskin", and play in a more top-down setting ala Binding of Isaac, but we ended up settling for the River City Ransom-esque map of the final after a bit of back-and-forth discussion about it.
The "Night of the Living Foreskin" title was actually the basis for Karrion's design as an amorphous, yet vaguely human fleshy sack, and was the main reason I designed him as a pink character.
In discussing Karrion, I believe it was at this point that we decided upon the idea of unlockable colour palettes as rewards for playing through the game.
We wanted to keep an NES "horror" theme with all the character palettes, although some are a bit more fitting of that definition than others:
In order, the palettes are homages to: Friday the 13th NES, Firebrand and Arthur from Ghosts and Goblins, Swamp Thing NES, Sweet Home NES, Simon Belmont from Castlevania, Jaws NES, Piconjo, Dad n' Me/Chainsaw the Children, [none], Ridley from Metroid, the Xenomorph from Alien 3 NES, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde NES, Devil World, Abobo's Big Adventure/Double Dragon, and the last has no reference that I'm aware of (it was the only one I didn't make myself).
It was around this time we toyed around with the idea of random dialogue, and decided upon the idea of a death screen that'd spit out horror-related quotes from old movies and games, with quotes deriving from BEN DROWNED, Bride of Frankenstein, It, Pet Sematary, Space Funeral, South Park, Minecraft, and many, many more. I think it turned out great, and I'd often find myself killing Karrion just to see what death quote I'd get.
Stage 3: "Karrion Killer"
When the game took its final shape, there were a few alterations that were necessary to make pre-release, most of them somewhat significant.
Firstly, there's an unused ghost enemy that would shoot at the player, approach them, and swiftly teleport away if you used your scythe swipe attack. This ended up being to complex and it wasn't immediately readable, so the idea was ditched in favor of removing the enemy entirely.
It also kinda helped with keeping the game fast-paced. One of the main goals we had with combat was that the player should always be able to attack, so if they're chasing an enemy down or defending, that's their own fault for playing too recklessly. Ths ghosts went against this whole idea in execution.
I brought up the idea of the final round having an Icon of Sin-esque static boss who'd summon enemies endlessly to attack Karrion. I think it's removal was for the best, since that'd probably have led to players cheesing it's monster summoning powers to get a higher score.
Sadly, it was never designed, so I don't really have any cool graphics of it to show off.
There was, however, one last feature that never made it in...
This is "Korpse", he was to be the Luigi to Karrion's Mario and would have been unlocked... somehow. We cut him from the game for precisely that reason: we didn't know what to do with him. I think I floated around the idea that he'd be unlocked after beating the game, but that felt kinda lame to be honest.
In the end though, Karrion Killer is a game I'm pretty happy with. It's got a lot of charm to it, and I think it's definitely an experience I'll look back on very fondly!
Levi and I might collaborate sometime again on some more games, but most likely not until after 2020's finished up. Look forward to it!