The PlayStation Blog has published a long interview with Jeff Minter, historical developer, author of the upcoming Akka Arrh.
Jeff Minter is one of the greatest living game authors, whose career in the industry began forty years ago. About to launch According to Arrhhis new game, gave ainterview to the PlayStation Blog, with which he explained the project.
The first question could only concern why Akka Arrh, i.e. why go and work on a project canceled by Atari? “I’ve been interested in Akka Arrh since I first heard the story of this incredibly rare arcade game that a collector had kept hidden away for 30 years and how the ROM was ‘freed’ so that anyone could play it,” he said Minter, adding: “The original has some interesting ideas, but it just doesn’t fit together in a way I find satisfying. So when Atari asked me which of their gaming IPs I was most interested in working on, I saw her as an opportunity to explore the ideas of the original and make them work.”
Speaking about the game, Minter described it as “a cross between a shooter and a puzzle game”. Minter then explained in detail the changes made to the original (never made it to the arcade): “I changed more things about the original design than I would have changed if I had worked with a more famous classic. I had to switch it from ‘interesting, but irrelevant’ to ‘interesting and funny”, which took me longer than expected.
I wanted to introduce a chaining mechanic where hitting successive enemies would increase a bonus multiplier, and to do that I wanted something that would work over a period of time rather than instantly. So I created a distance field of “shock waves” on surfaces that expanded over time, so once you shoot an enemy, the impact creates a shock that expands to other enemies. These chain reactions are very satisfying when you get them to work. Each level has its own shapes and patterns and if you learn to work with them you can set off a mass extinction of sound and color.”
It is also interesting how it was conceived soundtrackobviously in a psychedelic vein: “I wasn’t sure what kind of music I was going to put in the game. I was interested in making some sort of semi-generative music. So I rummaged through a large bag of audio samples that I’ve been hoarding for decades… things I was interested in and kept, including some samples from my previous games and an old narration of a lady enunciating various things.I then built a very simple little sequencer that plays samples of instruments and this bag of sounds based on what is happening in the game. It creates a tonal sequence generated by enemies and your actions while shooting at them. Each level has its own ‘tonal’ theme which helps make each level distinct. In the end I think ‘music’ is too strong a word, but the I quite like the result.”
For the rest, we remind you that Akka Arrh will be released on February 21, 2023 on PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S and Nintendo Switch.