Akaoni Studio interview

When we asked Akaoni Studio for an interview, studio director Jose Manuel Iniguez jokingly said he’d do it in exchange for six pints of blood. A few weeks later, a rather pale looking Luke K staggered into the Critical Gamer offices clutching a handful of bloodstained pieces of paper. He’s been having ‘a bit of a lie down’ for three days now…..

CG: What player experience were you aiming for with ‘Zombie Panic in Wonderland’?

JMI: One of our main goals is that the player has fun with Zombie Panic in Wonderland. It´s a traditional action game that consists of shooting at everything that moves, avoiding the enemies and destroying everything you can see. The control is very simple; everybody will be able to dominate it in minutes. Everything will depend on aim and reflexes.

We also want everyone to enjoy the artistic side of the game. We have concentrated on  looking after the design of the characters and screens. We have had help from talented Japanese illustrators and we have also concentrated on the music. For example, for a level with oriental atmosphere we created a theme with human voice and choirs. To do so we had the help of a prestigious Japanese opera singer.

We hope that everyone laughs with the story that takes place. The story is told between levels like manga in movement. Once again we had the help of a talented professional Japanese mangaka.

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CG: The name, and screens released so far, make it clear you’re not taking yourselves too seriously. Do you think too many games today take a po – faced attitude?

JMI: (^v^) If you have found the title and the images funny, wait to hear the sound track from the oriental level with the choirs.

The truth is that Zombie Panic in Wonderland reflects our character and humor. We love having fun and when we start to think up stories or situations to use as themes in our games it always ends up being very surrealistic. I can´t imagine myself thinking up dramas or moving stories. But anyway, I like serious games too so I suppose that it´s good to have a choice.

CG: What influences played a part in the content and art design of the game?

JMI: The pictures and images are directly based on japanese manga and anime in general. The style and design of the characters is that used by the illustrator that we chose to create them.

The game system of Zombie Panic in Wonderland has been based on action games like Cabal, Blood Bros and Sin & Punishment. These systems, adapted to the Wii remote, offer an intuitive control that contributes to increasing the playability.

Lastly, as a game designer, both zombies and fairytales are some of my favorite themes.

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CG: Zombie Panic obviously has a ‘score attack’ feel. Will there be online leaderboards?

JMI: At the moment that´s not included in our plans but if we have enough time and energy at the end of the project we will definitely consider it.

CG: We see that a second player will be able to wreak havoc alongside you. Any online modes?

JMI: The cooperative mode doesn´t accept the option online.

CG: The game seems to have a retro feel. Is this what you were going for, and if so, why?

JMI: The truth is I love retro games and I think that you can see that in Zombie Panic in Wonderland. The “spectacular” factor is very important in videogames but I think it isn´t good to forget that most of all, videogames have to be fun. The company´s logo was created under this mentality.

CG: How many levels are planned?

JMI: We have planned a minimum of nine levels with three final enemies.

CG: Will you be bringing the game to PSN or XBLA in the future?

JMI: In the last few weeks we have started to talk about that but nothing has been confirmed yet.

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CG: What can we expect from you in the future?

JMI: Games full of quality and fun. Most of all we want to win the players´ trust with our games (we are working as hard as we can and have done since the first title).

Ah, yes, and I’m sure there will be more zombies and surrealistic situations.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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