Aug 01

Retro/Grade Interview with Matt Gilgenbach of 24 Caret Games

Retro/Grade is a game coming soon to the PlayStation 3 which feels both fresh and familiar. A mix of rhythm and the classic shoot-’em-up space shooter, it also makes use of a guitar peripheral if you so choose. One more thing – the game is played out in reverse. Sounds wild? Read on for our interview with Matt Gilgenbach, Co-Founder, 24 Caret Games.

Travis: I’m sure I’m not the only one to say that I am glad to see a release date for Retro/Grade – congratulations on the upcoming release!

Matt Gilgenbach: Thank you! It’s been a long time in development, but hopefully gamers will appreciate all the effort we’ve put into Retro/Grade.

Travis: There are some interesting components to this game. There’s everything happening in reverse, the option to use a guitar, the rhythm-based gameplay, all in the classic shoot-’em-up package. What was brought up first? How did the other aspects of the game get included?

MG: We started with the idea that it’d be fun to play a game in reverse. When brainstorming how a game would work in reverse, we thought that a rhythm game would be a good fit because you can match the timing of something that already happened. We then realized that if you are undoing things, you’d have to match position as well, so a sidescrolling shooter constrained to lanes would work great. Finally, we thought that if we have 5 or less lanes, a guitar controller would be a perfect fit.

Travis: There is a story, which I presume ends more climatically than the game well, starting. Aside from the story mode, what does the game offer? Regarding the difficulty, are my fingers going to be tied in knots near the end? Conversely, will the game present a challenge to those more familiar with rhythm games?

MG: Our story mode is really the tip of the iceberg for Retro/Grade. The meat of the game is the challenge mode. Challenge mode features a Super Mario World style map with warps and secrets that has 130 challenges and many fun rewards such as other player ships including Super Meat Boy and the ability to play the music from the game in a DJ mode. The challenges are based on the story levels, but feature fun twists such as changing tempos, differing win conditions, and more!
We have 6 difficulties for the campaign mode ranging from really easy to brutally difficult, so I think gamers should be able to enjoy the campaign game regardless of skill level. If the hardest campaign difficulty is too easy, we have some insane challenges that are even more difficult! The challenge mode covers the range of difficulties, so there will be enjoyable content for everyone there too.

Travis: How big a part does music play in the game? Who composed this excellent music?

MG: Since it’s a rhythm game, music is extremely important. We were fortunate to work with Skyler McGlothlin, one of my favorite musicians who did an amazing job composing music that not only sounds great but works with the game design goals.

Travis: What has been the most challenging part about creating Retro/Grade? What has been the most rewarding?

MG: The most challenging part has been not losing hope for such a long development cycle. We had an ambitious vision for Retro/Grade and a small team, so it’s been hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel at times. However, we never gave up because of the support of fans, which has really been the most rewarding part. To see the enjoyment on the faces of people who play the game at PAX and to hear them so excited about it has been extremely rewarding.

Travis: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me! I’ve been looking forward to this game played in reverse.

MG: Thank you, and I can’t wait for people to start playing!