We can thank Tommy Wiseau's so-bad-it's-good 2003 movie The Room for the existence of Samurai Gunn. According to creator Beau Blyth, also known as Teknopants, the idea to create the brilliant, fast-paced multiplayer experience that combines samurai swords with guns started with yet another viewing of Wiseau's oft-mocked cult film.
"[Samurai Gunn] was made at a party," Blyth told Polygon at PAX Prime. "I was bored watching Tommy Wiseua's The Room. I'd already seen it before, so I was like, 'I don't want to watch this again. I'm going to make a game.' I turned to my friend Jake and asked him what kind of game I should make. He said, 'Samurais. With guns!'"'
Blyth set about retrofitting an older video game project — a superhero fighting game he'd been toying with — to make his samurai with guns game.
"It got good quickly, thanks a lot to having people around [to playtest it]," he said. Samurai Gunn's basics were developed that night. "I got the sword, gun and reflection," he said. "I didn't have the slash. But I was like, there's something here."
Samurai Gunn's local multiplayer has since been featured at festivals and parties, like Fantastic Arcade, Wild Rumpus and the Independent Games Festival. It's coming to PC in January, and Sony recently announced PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions of the game will be out sometime next year.
Samurai Gunn is being published with the assistance of Maxistentialism, designer Max Temkin's company which publishes, creates and promotes the games Cards Against Humanity, Werewolf and Humans vs. Zombies. Blyth, who knows Temkin through a friend, said the financial support from the publisher came at the right time for Samurai Gunn.
"At E3, I was having meetings with Sony and Nintendo, learning about how I could get some budget," Blyth said. "It was bringing me a lot of stress. The business aspects of things sucks. [Max] just approached me and said, 'Can I fund your game?' And I said, 'What's the catch?'
"He said, 'No catch. I just want to see it succeed.'"
While Temkin is a Samurai Gunn ally, Blyth said he's also a great opponent. Apparently, Temkin's really good at the game. And while just about anyone can pick up Samurai Gunn and have fun with its four-player multiplayer battles, killing their friends with katana slashes or gunfire, the game becomes something different at high-level play.
Blyth took Samurai Gunn to the Evo championship tournament this summer, where it was selected as a featured competitive indie game. At Evo, players got to explore and expose the depth of the game, despite it not being tuned or polished.
"I would love for [Samurai Gunn] to be part of a competitive scene," Blyth said. "When I play with people who know what they're doing, like Max, it's a big challenge and a lot of fun. Lots of sword clashes, reflective bullets. Every kill takes way longer than you normally see."
Samurai Gunn is still in development. Blyth said he's adding a single-player mode, more levels and an invisible showdown mode; players won't be able to see each other, just the dust clouds they kick up as they jump around.
Expect Samurai Gunn to debut early next year.
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