Date: February 10, 2022
Infernax, the old-school 2D action-adventure game from Berzerk Studio, releases February 14th, making it a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the retro gamer in your life. Ahead of Infernax’s launch next week, we asked Berzerk’s Mike Ducarme and Hunter Bond a few questions — and they answered! Check it out:
EIP: Can you tell us a little bit about Berzerk Studio?
Berzerk Studio: We’ve been around since 2008, first started out as a Flash game studio but always had the end goal of making it to consoles someday. In our first five years we created over 20 Flash and mobile games, trying to touch as many genres as we could and give it the “Berzerk” touch, which, really, just means adding a bunch of explosions and stuff.
EIP: You guys clearly have a sense of humor – judging from the trailers and the in-game warnings – so I was surprised at the lack of silliness in the first bit of the game I got to play. Will there be at least a few funny moments throughout Infernax, or is the game itself fairly serious?
BS: At least one person thinks we’re funny, thanks! As far as the game being serious goes, we really wanted to make a more serious story for once, that’s the kind of story our creative director likes, but on the other hand, we really like trying to be funny. So the overall tone is going to be a lot more serious than you’d expect from us, the funnies will come more from situational humor, or when you are actively trying to go against what the game is trying to achieve.
EIP: What games or other media has the team drawn on in creating Infernax?
BS: Well, when we first started working on the game, like over 10 years ago now, there wasn’t as much of a retro-modern scene. So we really inspired ourselves with the closest things back then, which were Zelda 2 and Castlevania 2, but also borrowed inspiration from even more obscure titles like Faxanadu and even parts of Forbidden Forest on the C64.
EIP: Can you talk a little bit about your journey from online flash games to making games for Steam? Was it a difficult transition?
BS: Making console games had always been our end goal, we just didn’t have the tools/credibility to do it back in 2008, so we figured we’d start with what we know. The Flash era of our history really helped build what we were missing, while developing a community that to this day still hangs around. That’s a funny part too, when we did the jump we were really wondering if the people who grew up playing our games for free would actually give our console games a try. Turns out that people that played Flash games 12 years ago are now 12 years older, and they play console games now. Man, the passage of time, what wonders can’t it do.
EIP: How did your experiences with your recent titles inform the development of Infernax?
BS: While our previous title, Just Shapes & Beats, was immensely different from Infernax, it did teach us a lot in regards to console game development. Had we not gone through the grueling ordeal of self-publishing an online multiplayer music-based game on multiple platforms, we wouldn’t have much ease this time around.
EIP: I was impressed with how well Infernax captured the movement of old side-scrolling games. Was it a challenge to get the controls to feel right?
BS: That’s pretty much where we started, the controls. We nailed that down pretty quickly ten years ago. What was hard about it was getting the rest of the game to feel authentic, even with all the modern aspects we introduced. We wanted to make those changes so a player that plays Infernax in 2022 doesn’t feel hindered by mistakes of yore, while still feeling like he’s playing a piece of history.
EIP: What would you say your goal is with Infernax; what do you want players to feel when they play it? What was your mission statement for the game’s overall vibe?
BS: The goal here is not to make people feel like they are playing a retro game in 2022, it’s to make them feel like they are back in 1988 in their parent’s basement on a Saturday morning, chilling in their couch fort, with nothing but time to burn in front of their TV, playing the video game they rented the night before. Remember renting games? That was wild.
EIP: What is your team most proud of in Infernax?
BS: I don’t think there’s a single good answer here. I’d say everyone on the team is most likely proud of something different, what personally I find the most amazing is the story behind making a game over the course of ten years. How the little side project that started as a weekend thing that we couldn’t figure out how to get in people’s hands evolved into what it is now.
EIP: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Anything else you’d like to share?
BS: We’re incredibly proud of what we made, and we can’t wait to see people’s reactions!
Plan on spending February 14th playing Infernax with your valentine? Think side-scrolling retro games just aren’t the same without the quarters? Let us know in the comments!