Avenging Guardian: JoyMasher from Moonrider on Dave’s nightmares and a change of direction
To learn more about what inspired the game and how it was developed, along with the general role and influence of retro gaming in modern culture, we caught up with lead developer Danilo Dias and producer Thaís Weiller of Joymasher for a short chat about the studios latest effort.
Nintendo Life: What are your influences on Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider?
Danilo Dias: The direct influences of this game are titles like Mega Man ZeroAnd striderAnd shinobi. It’s definitely a ninja-focused game, so there’s plenty of Hagane from Super Nintendo as well. Stylistically, there is a lot of influence from Japanese Tokusatsu, eg Riders came And Kamen Rider Black. That was a big deal in Brazil when I was a kid, so there’s a lot of that in Moonrider as well.
What kind of challenges did you face while developing the game?
Danilo: We changed the game a bit during development, it was originally intended to be more linear, eg Dracula X. We wanted to change the game for a more open approach like Mega Man Zero so you can choose the order of stages you want to play. That was a challenge, because you had to rethink a lot of aspects of the game.
Originally, it wasn’t supposed to include a lot of weapons, so during development we had to change everything and put new abilities and weapons in place. This caused a great deal of stress for us!
Thai Wheeler: Yes, the game was running in the first prototype and we thought Hey, this could be cool with more stages.and then actually put more stages and think “Well, maybe not that cool!”. When you already have stages in place, it’s very stressful to change the main gameplay again. I forgot about that, thank you for reminding me of that nightmare!
Danilo: Yes, we had to change the level layout a lot along with the mechanics, but we thought the original idea was too simple, so we changed it to be more open.
How did you handle the design of the president’s characters?
Danilo: Well, the idea of the bosses was to try and create characters similar to Moonrider who are basically guardians of themselves. The idea was that each boss would have different abilities like in Mega Man and then you would gain those abilities when you defeated them.
I have focused a lot on action games so far. Would you be open to branching out into other genres in the future, like an RPG for example?
Thais: I don’t know about RPGs, but we’re definitely thinking about what we could work on next. We’re always looking to experiment, and at the moment Danilo is currently experimenting with 3D visuals, like from the PlayStation and N64. We’re not just pixel artists, we’re just 20 years behind in everything else!
In your opinion, what role will retro-style games play in 2023? Why do you think she is still so popular?
Danilo: Well, I guess it became more of an art style than anything else.
Thais: Yes, it has become an art style and genre in its own right. Retro games had many limitations applied to them, so they had to be more subtle and direct, making for a more immediate and direct experience.
We’d rather make short games that can be played multiple times than longer experiences. There isn’t much in our games that gets in the way of gameplay, like crafting systems or open worlds; There is nothing wrong with this, but we wanted to try something different.
Danilo: The idea is to try and emulate the arcade experience that the old games used to offer.
Are there any older games that you are currently playing?
Danilo: I am currently rebooting Armored core series due to the recent announcement of Armored Core VI. I think Armored Core was probably the first PlayStation game I ever played, so I’m restarting everything again. I might also get inspiration from it for some future projects, maybe!
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is now available on the Switch eShop. Arcade Crew has confirmed that a physical release is also on the way, but additional details aren’t available right now.