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Interview with Luke Spierewka, One of the Developers of SUPERHOT

Luke Spierewka, one of the developers behind the unique time-based indie shooter SUPERHOT, answers questions about the game and the development process.

If you haven't heard of it yet, SUPERHOT is an indie action game/shooter that has you manipulate time. This isn't your typical "bullet-time" however. In SUPERHOT, time only flows when you move. Every step you take makes your enemies, and their bullets, travel farther. To get through this game you'll have to literally stop and think.

SUPERHOT has gained the attention of many different people and publications in the gaming world. Cliff Bleszinski, Nerd Cubed, WIRED and others have praised the title for its unique approach to time manipulation and its highly stylized aesthetic. The game also managed to reach its Kickstarter funding goal in only its first few days on the site.

Looking to know more about the game and its team, I interviewed Luke Spierewka, one of the programmers and the head of PR at the SUPERHOT Team. Here is what he had to say.

How has your work with the SUPERHOT team been different from working with your previous employer, Wastelands Interactive?

Aside from the fact that I was using Unity in both teams, pretty much everything is different. In Wastelands I was working on a much smaller project that was based on an existing codebase. As a part of the SUPERHOT Team, I'm responsible for programming and community management.

This means that I sometimes implement new mechanics and fix bugs, and sometimes (recently more like "most of the time") I reply to e-mails, tweets and comments; write posts about the game and more. While I do enjoy coding, I also have a lot of fun interacting with our fans - I never get tired of reading posts from people saying that they really liked the game :)

I understand that SUPERHOT is the biggest title that you and your team have worked on so far. How has the experience of developing it been for you and the team?

 We learned a lot already, and we manage to discover new stuff almost every day. For example, when we were starting out, some of us had almost no experience with Unity, AI programming or PR/marketing - but we managed to teach ourselves that pretty fast.

Your Kickstarter Campaign has been extremely successful and it looks like you'll be reaching all of your stretch goals. What might you include if the game raises more than the $230,000 required for New Game+?

One of the most-asked-for features was implementing a Level Editor with Steam Workshop support. Doing something like this for the game would be pretty fun, but it's also incredibly time-consuming and expensive - this is why we decided to turn this feature a stretch goal.

Your Kickstarter campaign page mentions a "story driven single-player campaign." What is the story of SUPERHOT, if I may ask?

 I can't spoil that yet ;)

Image from gamerheadlines.com

How will the story of SUPERHOT be presented to the player? 

We'll try to keep it vague and minimalistic, just like the prototype, since it resonated really well with the players.

In the demo you only had access to a pistol, but the commercial release looks like it's going to have a large variety of weapons, including swords and grenades. How challenging was it designing levels around these new weapons?

It is pretty hard, and we're still working on that. The original pistol was a pretty straightforward weapon - you shoot and enemies die. Adding new weapons that change the way you play the game (like the Katana, or explosives) allows us to consider new puzzles that could not have been done in the demo.

If this initial release goes well would a console release of SUPERHOT be considered?

Yes; after the initial PC/Mac/Linux release we'd love to port the game to consoles.

Image from pcgamesn.com

From what I understand, many levels are inspired by action movies. Which films, if any, have had the biggest influence on SUPERHOT?

Probably The Matrix, especially the elevator lobby scene. For a long time no game was able to recreate that experience, so it's very humbling when the players say that an official Matrix game should be just like SUPERHOT.

Has a multiplayer or co-op mode ever been considered?

We've been considering these, but we decided not to do it. Implementing a co-op or multiplayer mode into SUPERHOT would require a lot of time and money, and it would most likely push the release date back into 2016. Besides, we have to save some features for a possible sequel.

Published Jun. 2nd 2014

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