Dustforce contains the fastest-moving janitors we've ever seen.
Hitbox Team launched the platformer on Windows PC in January 2012, and Capcom is bringing it to PlayStation Network, Xbox Games Store and PlayStation Vita in January 2014. The ports, which are being handled by Polish localization and port specialist QLOC, aren't losing much in the transition, as we saw during a hands-on session on Xbox 360 at New York Comic Con today.
"The way that the controls work, they're really tuned and geared to fast performance," said Rey Jimenez, a producer on Dustforce at Capcom, in an interview with Polygon. Dustforce isn't nearly as challenging as Super Meat Boy — at least not as far as death goes — but both games share a focus on speed. In both titles, once you familiarize yourself with the unique quirks of the way the characters move, you'll be able to exploit those quirks to your advantage in making your way through the levels. We played for about 15 minutes, and for the brief sequences during which we were able to maintain some speed, it became clear that moving quickly is the key to high-level play in Dustforce.
"There are actually some really hardcore guys that play on a keyboard" on the PC version, said Jimenez, since it has four exact directional inputs (the arrow keys). He also pointed out that many skilled Dustforce players on gamepads choose to play with a D-pad rather than an analog stick, since you can get eight precise directions that way.
Because Dustforce's levels are timed and scored, leaderboards are an important component of the experience. The PC version included an extensive replay feature and a level editor, and while it wasn't possible to completely bring over those elements, Jimenez explained that Capcom and QLOC worked on including them in some way. Users have created hundreds of Dustforce stages, most of which are rather difficult, and Capcom asked players to vote on their favorites so the company could put those levels — there will be 150 or so — in the ports.
Only the PS3 version allows players to save replay clips as MP4 files and export them to the XMB, and from there, users will be able to upload the videos straight to YouTube. All three ports will attach replays to a portion of the highest leaderboard scores, perhaps the top 50, so players can see how those speed runs went down. In addition, all three platforms save a smaller version of a replay — just the button inputs — so the game can simulate those commands and allow you to rewatch your level playthroughs.
Two years seems like a large gap between a game and its ports. But according to Jimenez, Capcom began talking with Hitbox within a year of the game's release on PC, and the actual development time on the port has totaled about one year. The publisher "had other priorities" in the meantime, said Jimenez, but "this has been planned for a while."
He added, "It's been a little bit of a slow burn."