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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rapstar Heroes

Small game company Nitric Burn Studios are partnering with underground rap group Shindiggaz to create a web game titled Rapstar Heroes. The 4-person, San Francisco-based company is setting its sights high by infusing the game with elements from popular retro titles like "Turtles in Time," "Streets of Rage," and "Super Mario Bros."

Streets of Rage and Mario? If you think it sounds like a recipe for disaster, think again. The game takes place in 2011, when aliens invade the earth. Game play is split between real-world Pittsburgh (beat-em-up style) and an alternate 90's hip-hop/retro game world in which the player will jump 'platform-style' a la Super Mario Bros. (art is conceptual)

Nitric Burn Studios hopes to create a game that is not only fun to play, but also promotes music, art, and film. The hip-hop group Shindiggaz are producing and recording the entire soundtrack, so expect to be jamming while fending aliens away from Pittsburgh.

The studio was kind enough to answer some of my questions about the game and about themselves via e-mail:

Legendary Urban: What were some of your favorite video games growing up as kids?
Kader: Dungeon Keeper, Civilization 2, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sim City 2000, Doom
Pisano: Commander Keen, Sim City 2000, Jill of the Jungle, Whack Thorn
Weber: Duke Nukem, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Monkey Island Series, Ultima 7 (Parts 1 & 2), System Shock
Jack: Toe Jam & Earl, Ultima

Legendary Urban: What are some of your favorite video games now?
Team: (At the moment)
Kader: Company of Heroes, Age of Empires 3, Civilization 4, Fallen Earth
Pisano: Ultimate Mortal Combat 3, Gun
Jack: Civilization 4, World of Warcraft, Fallout 3, Oblivion

Legendary Urban: The warp world in Rapstar Heroes is said to feature some hip hop and video game inspired enemies, could you explain a bit more?
Kader: Its not only enemies, but the whole environment is built to reference games like turtles in time, streets of rage etc. as well as 90's hip hop. For instance, the health powerups are a pizza box and chicken. Also, the warp world backgrounds will reference sonic stages (such as Emerald Hill Zone) and Mario levels.

Legendary Urban: Is the game being built around a soundtrack, or will a soundtrack be recorded later and integrated into the completed game?
Kader: The soundtrack will be built for the game but Shindiggaz already build beats using samples from old games and TV shows. All of the in-game characters are based on real people and will do the voice-overs and help out with the FX.

Legendary Urban: When can we expect to be able to play Rapstar Heroes?
Kader: Right now we are at a stage where all the artwork is about 80% done but the programming is yet to start. The project is on hiatus whist we wait for KickStarter funding but we expect to start developing again the end of this month [March 2010] with the game being complete the end of April [2010]. Not only will the game be finished but there will be some exciting features that integrate with our servers and gaming back end.

Thanks to the team for the interview. Like Kader said, the project is being funded on KickStarter.com. Help fund this project and you could end up getting your own character in the game! The team also expressed their hope to eventually create an iPhone app and possibly and Xbox Live Mutiplayer facet to the series if it is successful as a browser game.

Legendary Urban will keep you posted with the latest from this promising title!


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