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Halfbrick threw out 20 prototypes before arriving at Colossatron

Jetpack Joyride developer Halfbrick went through more than 20 prototypes before finally arriving at its latest title Colossatron: Massive World Threat, the developer said during a PAX Australia panel today.

"Getting to the point of having this awesome game was really hard," Ben Vale, executive producer at Halfbrick Studios. "So we actually went through 20 or more prototypes on the Colossatron team. Just prototyping ideas, just all lots of crazy stuff.

"We come in and say we got this insane idea and we'll try out for a week and it'll turn out to be crap. And we'll kill it," he continued. "But yeah, we did that for probably six months before we arrived at Colossatron. But maybe we go back one day and pick some of them up, we'll probably have the top three. And there were some pretty solid ideas but Colossatron was the best one."

Announced earlier today, the action game puts players in the role of giant robotic snake called Colossatron that has crash-landed on Earth. The aim is to do as much damage to planet as possible, while building the Colossatron with red, blue and yellow-colored weapon and ability power-ups. These power-ups, called Powernodes, can be combined to create new colors and stronger Powernode tiers.

Halfbrick's signature is really simple gameplay, according to Vale, saying the studio doesn't like to confuse anyone when it releases "our little casuals."

"So, in this game, it's really easy to play, you just get the segments and put it into Colossatron," he explained. "Like if you put three in a row, it's like a Zuma and it upgrades into a better weapon. When you put it into Colossatron there's heaps of feedback and there's heaps of destruction going on."

The Halfbrick team who worked on Colossatron worked together for three years, "cutting their teeth" on Rascal, Fruit Ninja Kinect. Sean said, with developing Colossatron, they we were able to sit and go over concepts where everyone was engaged. "We were really lucky to be in that position to come up with our own ideas," he said.

"At the time I was playing a lot of tower defence games and I loved the fact you can set up stuff but I didn't enjoy the fact that you can set up things and then watch it run passively,' Sean said. "So I wanted to do something were you could build things on the fly and actually react to the environment around while you were playing.

"And I also thought that you are always setting up something to stop something, how awesome would it be if you were that something? How cool would it be if you were the boss and everyone wanted to stop you?" he explained. "So that's where it came from. So in addition, so I'm a sucker for the retro games, being a kid of the eighties, I've always tried to pitch games to the group, like Raiden or Crazy Bullet Hell."

Vale said that everyone got really excited when Sean announced that he got a crazy idea and showed everyone.

"We made it in flash in a week and it turned out really fun, and we polished it off. Eight months later here are," Vale said. "So it was pretty interesting, especially when Fish Out of Water came out and everyone thought it was a little too casual. We were like 'Just hang on to your seat because we have got this hardcore title that's really cool. There's heaps of explosions and no fish, so its fine.'"

Going forward, the team will bolster the mechanics to Colossatron and work on its story between now and the game's release later this year. While Colossatron is currently running on iPads, price range and other confirmed platforms are unannounced at this stage. Those details will be decided in the next phase of the game's development when the company finalises all of the information.

During the panel Halfbrick mentioned that, as the studio is platform agnostic, it will release a game "on a platform that makes sense."

"Steam we haven't done that but we are definitely investigating it." Vale said. "Vita, you know, definitely. We have some stuff to reveal shortly. At least for the immediate time being, there are going to be ports or enhanced ports to take advantage of any new features for that particular platform. A good example of that is with Fruit Ninja Kinect for Xbox Live Arcade, that plays entirely differently [to the original]. So in general we take a game and we will release it on a new platform, if it makes sense to do so."

PAX Australia attendees can get hands-on with Colossatron at the Halfbrick booth at the expo. PAX Australia is underway at the Melbourne Showgrounds from July 19-21 where Polygon is in attendance.