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Shadow Warrior's grindhouse-style violence is a playful ode to the original

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Flying Wild Hog's remake of Shadow Warrior is full of head-bursting, body-splitting violence, but the cartoonish gore is more of an over-the-top nod to the original game, the developer told Polygon during an interview at E3.

First-person shooter Shadow Warrior originally launched in the mid-90s, and like many others of that era, is being revamped. The game was known for being controversial, both for its violence and racial stereotypes. Although Flying Wild Hog is working to eliminate the racial issues of the first, the game's over-the-top violence is here to stay. Sort of.

Paweł Kowalewski, the game's designer, compared the game's over-the-top gore to the kind seen in purposefully ridiculous grindhouse films.

"It's kind of a Kill Bill-ish violence," Kowalewski said. "It's so violent it's funny."

During a demo we saw, protagonist Lo Wang armed himself with a katana and halved bodies with scary ease. Foes burst into bloody clouds like fireworks. If the kill is done particularly well, the player is rewarded a bonus labeled things such as "violence bonus," "blood bonus" and "headshot."

"[Cartoonish violence] was a part of the original game," Kowalewski said. "We sat down and were thinking, 'What was so important about the original game?' What made it so iconic? Exaggerated violence was one of the core features. When we started doing our version, we knew that we had to still maintain that violence."

According to the game's story writer, Slawomir Uliasz, Flying Wild Hog wanted to add to expand on the game's story as well. Lo Wang is younger and as a result more immature in this new version, but still quick-witted. Wang is of a goofier sort, singing and joking in the demo we were shown. His one-liners come fast and often during battles as well.

"We wanted to keep true to the original. But again, at the same time, we didn't want it to be too serious," Uliasz said.

Flying Wild Hog was approached by its publisher, Devolver Digital, to create Shadow Warrior's remake, but it was an opportunity the developer jumped at. Both Kowalewski and Uliasz were fans of the game as children.

"We see it as an opportunity to create an oldschool game," Kowalewski said. "We grew up with games like this. If we wouldn't have had this opportunity, we would have made something like it."

"We want to create a new game," Uliasz added. "But it's still Shadow Warrior."