One indie’s journey to resurrect local multiplayer

Alex Calvin
One indie’s journey to resurrect local multiplayer

In 2012, Geraldo Nascimento left his native Portugal to move to the UK in order to develop games.

A life-long gamer, Nascimento started doing software consultancy work during his Master's degree in computer science at the University of Lisbon, and realised he wanted to make games.

But he says going indie in Portugal is not encouraged, so he moved to the UK.

You don't feel that if you stay in Portugal you can go make games,” he explains. There isn't much push to go out and do your own thing. So I didn't really feel safe in doing that. But then eventually with an MA and the explosion of Twitter you just get so exposed to news every day and the whole indie boom worldwide.

That pushed me to start working. I did a game for my MA and another in my free time, then became acquainted with Unity, which is what I've been using for my own long-term project.”

He continues: The experience I've had trying to make games since I came to London and gaining experience with real people, and not just on the internet, is very motivational.”

That long-term project is the tough-to-pronounce Xyrtica (above), a bloody local multiplayer hack and slash that Nascimento is making in his spare time alongside German artist CrazyArcadia. That's in-between Nascimento's job as a game client engineer for a social casino game firm.

The difficulty in pronouncing Xyrtica is an issue,” Nascimento says. We changed the name. It was originally Gun Katana, which is a very cool name. But there's another game with the same name, only with a hyphen. We didn't want confusion. So we had to come up with a new name. We might change it again.”

The game is very much inspired by Dennaton's Hotline Miami series, specifically some of the more over-the-top elements from its sequel, Wrong Number.

I played Hotline Miami loads and loved it,” Nascimento says. And then the trailer for the second one came out, and there's a move where a character has two Uzis and can move them in an arc.

Seeing that really sparked something in me. It was a huge inspiration for the look and the gameplay of Xyrtica.
We want to build on that with different mechanics."

"I'd like some of thebig publishers to
invest in local multiplayer because
it's a different energy."

Geraldo Nascimento


Xyrtica is focused on local multiplayer – a game feature that has fallen by the wayside in recent years.

It's a product of the indie community” he says. There were some local multiplayer meet-ups at the London game space so I figured I could do a quick mock-up of the game and have it experienced by real people and get feedback.

Since then it's been feeding back on itself. It has given me a lot of joy seeing people play it and raging at each other and laughing. It's a really visceral experience that's not the same with just single player.”

But why has local multiplayer not appeared in many games recently?

It's because of the onset of online multiplayer and being able to play with a lot of people around the world,” Nascimento explains. There's less focus on gathering your friends in your house or somewhere and having that experience. That's one of the factors. It's hard to say why it went away but I feel that it's coming back. There are a lot of indie games doing it now. I'd like to see the big players invest in local multiplayer, just because it's such a different energy.”

Xyrtica is set for a 2016 release, with no platforms confirmed yet. But Nascimento is aiming on bringing it to all devices.

It looks like this would really be at home on the PlayStation 4,” he says. There are similar games there. We're not working on ports just yet, but as we're developing in Unity I'm sure it would be easy. I'd also like to be on Steam and Xbox. We have some ideas for game modes that involve the Wii U controller, something like the Luigi Mansion mini-game in Nintendo Land, something like that. But that's just an idea at the moment. That's just our ideal scenario.”

GET EMAIL UPDATES

Subscribe