BloodRayne – Official 20th Anniversary Behind The Scenes Developer Interview

Sean Velasco, design director for BloodRayne: Betrayal, discusses the direction they wanted to take in this radical re-vamp of the viscerally bloody cult classic. Leveraging their experience with the Shovel Knight franchise, Velasco talks about translating the sultry and mature horror themes into a 2D hack-and-slash platformer. Programmer, David D’Angelo, also cites inspirations such as Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, wanting to imbue the essence of a stylish supernatural beat-em-up with the challenging nature of a 2D platformer.

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Did you miss me [Music] Well I everyone knew I think blood rain In those in those days right like in the Early 2000s and yeah because it was like A full-on 3D action game starting a Badass vampire League we're done Is very different Um and you know blood rain was published By majesco and before that we had done Buoying his blob with majesco so in a Lot of ways blood rain was like it felt Like a sequel to boy in his blob kind of Well I mean it was it's like a Side-scrolling game that had animated Characters and so in a way it felt like A totally natural progression from what We were working on even though like the Game projects and the tone and Everything was like very very different Um so yeah I mean I was excited I was Excited to be making a game for Xbox Live and for PlayStation Network right Because this was our first xbl APS in Game we were used to making stuff on the Wii and we were used to making like Handheld which I I love for handhelds And I love the Wii Um but like being able to do something a Little bit mature and something uh that Had that HD resolution and Um something with a little bit more of An edge I mean it was just a really cool Project to have and that way forward we

Were doing so I like going this blob and There was a Batman for the Wii Batman The Brave and the Bold so it's like all That all that cartoon stuff was all Percolating and so yeah so that's how This rain projects all kind of fit in There But it was definitely a tonal shift to Go from Buenas blob to blood rain uh we Wanted to make a blood rain game that Was like a little bit more not Necessarily like kid friendly but Something that was a little bit like Less in C-17 it was still like very Different and also like making a combat System was really interesting like for Uh for Batman we've done a combat system But like this this Blood rain combat System was much more involved and being Able to work on something like that and Something that was a combat platform or Combo it was just like it was such a Dream it was just like a really cool Project and we had never had the chance To do something like that so yeah it was Exciting [Music] I mean we wanted to make rain's Abilities more more suitable for her as A donkey right so it's like she would Suck blood to regain health and then she Could she could suck the enemy's blood And infect them and then use that to Like make chain combos

Um we didn't want we didn't want sucking Blood to just be a uh just a health Recovery mechanic so he tried to like Integrate it into the gameplay more and We tried to like really have her use her Mobility and her melee and her guns all In conjunction with one another as she Progressed throughout these levels so That was like our big those are our big Goals At that time I think I was very into Making into making like those moments Right those magical moments that you Would that where you would stop and take A breather or where I mean the rain is Supposed to be this character that is The crazy Dom pure in a frenzy of action Um but then also we wanted to give her Like some degree of refinement or Elegance as shown by her sippingal rings Us and not destroying everybody uh yeah Or you know another funny thing Um is when rain is when when rain falls It and Raven like transforms and catches Her which is like exactly the same as Shovel Knight catching Shield night Um you know like it's just like 100 like The same thing and like this and those Uh or like the sign knife are also the Sign knives the the knives the sign Pattern became a staple for all future Games that we worked on together like Double Dragon Neon has knives that's Cute um and Shovel Knight has signed

Knives and mean of the Hollywood will Have signed nice as well uh but yeah I Mean we I guess we would try to make Moments like that and that was a big Thing that we did at went forward too Right like what are the what are the Moments that are gonna sell the game Big Explosive moments like Contra with the Alien comes out over the thing and stabs It you know it's like that kind of stuff Or The Quiet Moments like the boy and Blob like hugging or like the buoying Blob in silhouette we were big on Silhouette right we got to put the Silhouette part and everything where They're walking them from the Moon and Silhouette of rain is walking in Silhouette in the Army do silhouette the Silhouette and then inspector Knight um You know there's like a clashing Lightning depart oh oh and there's a Silhouette at the end right at the very End before you go to Black at the most Pivotal climactic moment of the game It's all just in Black right because That's because that's yeah because I'll Follow this pattern yeah I guess so and Also I don't I don't wanna I don't want To take credit for those ideas because I'm not even sure if those were mine I Feel like we brainstormed all of those And it all We'll end it all you know things Happened on the Whiteboard and people

Would joke about everything and I mean That it was that Magic of working Together and keep joking and having Ideas and thinking what would be like The coolest badass over-the-top thing For rain to do Um all of that stuff is what is what Made those moments happen Blood drain the trail as a Side-scrolling platformer where you're Trying to be like a cool vampire seems So much like Specter of Torment to me Um and like Specter and I can run up the Walls and do wall jumps and like rain Could do wall jumps and uh they both Have they both have like a lot of the Same well so this is a good this is a Perfect example but it's funny his Inspector Knight sits on that you know He sits on that gravestone overlooking Moon in that quiet moment of I mean That's the exact thing that you were Talking about but yeah lots of things Definitely lots of things in common with Specter of Torment Um yeah the sign knives are definitely Part of it I mean Double Dragon Neon is So much like king of cards and all of All of like that goofiness of Batman Brave in the Bold like oh yeah I would Say a lot of that like a lot of that Humor and like snappiness get rubbed off On us when we ended up doing uh Double Dragon Neon and Shovel Knight Lane

They're like Shovel Knight and Batman Definitely how [Music] Yeah I mean everything with Mina right But so everything that's old is new Again Um and a lot of that a lot of that Darkness and that creepiness that we Brought in and a lot of the scary uh a Lot of the scary ideas but also like the Subtle imagery of the chillness I would Say is uh it's like that's also going to Be brought along in unit uh yeah so yeah I guess everything really is kind of Like an iteration uh on the previous Thing but each one is old in a different Direction uh and it's like a different Variation on the on the thematics as Well we're still trying to take that Same tact of making great games that are Designed first and carrying those Gameplay ideas through until we have Arrived at whatever we've arrived at for Blood rain it was to make like a crazy Hack and slash platformer that's tough As Nails where you could drink blood Blow people up and shoot them and slice Them up and uh and everything that we Everything that we worked on when we Were making that game from the from The dark visuals to working really hard On the blood VFX I still remember like When she sucks the blood and it was only Like single pixels that were coming out

At first but like in the fluid dynamics Uh looking in the animation but everyone Was just looking at the monitor like Whoa this is going to be so cool the Blood's like down here so it's like from Just like taking taking all those Different uh texts Um and trying to make something that was That was very uh that was just trying to Build towards a goal I mean same thing That's like what we were trying to do With Shovel Knight we wanted to make Like an 8-bit game that was built around A mechanic that we thought was exciting That was in the style of the game that We loved uh and all of our decisions we Worked towards achieving that goal Um so yeah the more that we I feel like The the more that we all work on games Together uh and the more and I mean the Heck I'm still working with you know With several with several of these People today so yeah lot of them a lot Of the blood rain betrayal staff ended Up becoming yacht clubbers as well I mean we were like trying to make a Hard game I mean we definitely did it uh It was interesting because I think we Sort of like relied on the mechanics When you grab an enemy and like insect Their health and your health back we Sort of like relied on that to be like The modifier the difficulty and I think We're really like for a lot of people to

Do that was like the platforming that You like didn't provide that everything That I mean that's like often how we Were thinking about it was I think it Was just like we can make it tougher and If we need to there's like that that Like a valve we can like pull to make it More possible for players or players can Like use that more than they need to I mean we were really inspired by the Kind of like double my prize Bandit is Like at the time period and And having these like ranking systems Was like a huge part of the Earth so I Mean it was like yeah really thinking About like how do we make it that kind Of game where that's like a huge Component of it too [Music] Uh blood rain I had like I just came off Doing a bunch of DS games in a row So it was really Stark and like one of The first things I was working on was Like we're having blood spatter all over The place right and like it's using Physics and it's just like not in a Million years when that happened in the DS I felt like I could do anything I Wanted to do you know I think that was Good for like the kind of game or like The franchise too which is like it's Very like over the top and you know uh Campy or whateverness of it that like Vampires are like associated with this

Like you can like you can tap into that Really easily You have this framework which you're Operating out of right and you're like Making decisions based on them Um and you know it's like we're trying To mash like blood rain franchise with With like 2D brawler uh and uh and then Are like wacky sensibilities [Music] I mean for me it's like bringing us much To the idea as I can from like my point Of view you know for like uh and I guess At the end of the day it means like Making it as fun as possible Um so like I don't know it's like here's A here's the boss it's gonna have these Four attacks and I'm thinking about like How to string those together in an Interesting way or like or how you know Well what happens if rain is on this Side of the screen and like you know I Want to make sure she's like always you Know be in danger and you know just Making sure that Um like the designs that are like put Forth I can like you know bring Creativity into you know the Implementation of them [Music] Thank you Um in a in a lot of ways To I feel like blood rain was like felt Like a project that was like

And uh but it felt like it felt like oh We're like we're like starting to make Something that's like real like is People are gonna like like this kind of Thing you know I felt like we like Started to figure out what we were doing And I think Double Dragon the endless Like you know the next step of like okay We like we actually know what we're Doing and and then when we made Shovel Knight it's like now we're actually like Applying all the knowings yeah with like A time schedule that's not you know two Months [Music] Foreign [Music] Side scroller I didn't want to do the Style of music that was in the original It was an awesome soundtrack both one And two had amazing music they were kind Of like a product of the time but it's Ambient like dark it had that like Perfect Dark ambience in there with this With a move to more of a beat-em-up like A slash them up Sean uh he said to me I Want I want this to sound like like Luca To really of like he's like a Neoclassical composer songwriter metal Gut it's he sounds like fluttering Sounds basically but how am I gonna do This on a game soundtrack where I have Like a few months to work on it Um so I had to go crazy basically I went

I went a little overboard uh I learned a Lot of guitar solos and stuff [Music] It's probably dusk Falls that was the First one that I uh that I came up with It was basically the first idea that I Had that I wrote down was for the the Pre the piano arpeggio Prelude and uh Dusk Falls the very beginning of that Song And the choirs in there and stuff I was Hearing it in my head [Music] When I say I like every kind of music I'm not just posturing or saying accept Country or except hip hop or except Whatever the hate du jour is I really Like everything like any kind of music That people are into I'm fascinated by The fact that people jam out to it like The fact that people are gonna dance to Something or consider it their jam or Like play at their wedding or that's so Powerful to me and the fact that people Are into different genres I want to know Why sociologically why uh culturally why Like what's the history of it who are The Luminaries in the field so but yeah Basically multitudes are a natural part Of my listening and intake experience And my whole my love for music is all The types And so I I like to mix it up I like to Jump from to give a dynamic range to

Jump from the highs to the lows I have a real soft piece [Music] That I mean it's not just those three Games Shantae levels that are spooky Theme like entire entire other Soundtracks that are in that vein I've Done a lot of Castlevania music over the Years It's the spooky macov Bach Rock basically I try to set a limit on Some element of it so that it's not the Same as every other job In the case of blood rain it was no pipe Organs No Time Zero no pipe organs in This well not to cut it if you can D Minor we're not going to go there we're Not Phantom of the Opera Because everything else is pipe organ And it's just gonna straight up be Castlevania if you do organs so it's Like choirs instead and you know there Were there are elements in there that Are you know that have that gothicy feel Uh neoclassical elements but there's no Pipe organs and there are none inspector Of tarmony either because it's Nintendo User who knows what any of those Instruments are it's just it's beeps Um except when they're obviously violins Or something but Um so I've never used pipe organs in a Castlevania track other than an

Occasional Shantae Labyrinth so I'm good To go on Mina it's going to be burgundy As heck and that changes the whole tone Of the game it makes it sound like Phantom of the Opera versus uh scary Time I mean I guess as a game developer I Measure my I measure my life in like Games right it's like well that was so Many games ago we worked on that so many It's like sit after blood rain it was Double Dragon and then like those Mighty Games and that was all before Shovel Knight and then we've made half a dozen Shovel Knights now all this new and now And now new stuff and now Mina it's just Like uh yeah and there's right and Everything and everything has Echoes Right like Mina has Echoes of blood rain It's a blast A blast of blood

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