SA 3D animation studio Open-Reset is courting international publishers to publish its locally developed game, Bounty Arms, and has also entered into talks with local funders to back the development of the title.
The studio last week released a 280MB PC demo for the upcoming game. Open-Reset is building Bounty Arms with the Unreal Engine 3 toolset — the game development technology from Epic Games that has been used to create blockbusters such as the Gears of War, Bioshock and Mass Effect games.
Open-Reset is one of few SA software developers to take aim at the international gaming market. Though the country has a burgeoning enthusiast game development community, there are only a handful of console and PC games development studios in the country. A lack of funding, poor telecommunications infrastructure, a dearth of skills and a small local market for their products are just some of the challenges SA games creators face.
I-Imagine Interactive — the developer of the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable game Final Armada and Xbox game Chase: Hollywood Stunt Driver — is one of the few SA studios that has so far produced games for the international market.
A team of seven people, including three former employees of I-Imagine Interactive, is working on Bounty Arms part-time, says Open-Reset Studios head and founder, Benjamin Duk. The full game is about two years away from completion. Open-Reset hopes that it will be able to dedicate full-time resources to the project once it concludes a publishing deal.
The studio is preparing the game for digital distribution through channels such as the Steam service for PCs, Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network, Duk adds. The Bounty Arms demo is a “alpha 0.1” version that does not yet contain all the game’s final features and content. The final version will include four-player multiplayer and will be significantly longer than the demo.
TechCentral hands-on impressions
Bounty Arms impresses for a game that is so early in its development cycle — it’s a charming blend of retro gameplay and cutting-edge graphics technology. The production values of the game, even at this stage of development, compare favourably to Unreal Engine 3 games on the Xbox Live Arcade service such as Shadow Complex and Undertow.
Graphics, including lighting, animations and textures, are impressive throughout the demo. The gameplay is a solid blend of 3D side-scrolling platforming and shooting action that brings to mind many of the PlayStation 1 and Nintendo Entertainment Systems classics of the past.
It takes about 15 to minutes to play the demo to completion. Bounty Arms supports keyboard and mouse controls, but plays particularly well with an Xbox 360 controller. — Lance Harris, TechCentral