Interview: 10tons Talk Twin-Stick Shooter ‘JYDGE’

JYDGE, 10tons’ latest top-down twin-stick shooter, is now available for pre-order on the App Store ahead of its January 18th launch. To find out more about this super intriguing game, I recently fired a few questions at 10tons’ Jaakko Maaniemi. Check out the interview below.

Thanks so much for joining me for this interview, Jaakko. Before we talk JYDGE, would you mind quickly introducing yourself and your company to my readers?

I’m Jaakko Maaniemi, PR Coordinator at 10tons. I also designed Xenoraid.

As a longtime fan of properties like Judge Dredd and Robocop, your upcoming iOS release JYDGE has me very excited. Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about the game’s cyberpunk setting and characters?

JYDGE falls indeed squarely into the futurecop genre. The game’s set in the world of Neon Chrome, in a slightly less cyberpunk time. The Neon Chrome arcology hasn’t bee built yet, and society as a whole isn’t quite as dystopian. The JYDGE initiative is one of the key points when things start to head directly to the setting of Neon Chrome. So it’s a very direct prequel in every sense.

JYDGE is a spin-off from your earlier top-down twin-stick shooter, Neon Chrome. How does it differ from or improve on that game?

Neon Chrome turned out to be a big success for us on all platforms, and the procedural structure of the game has allowed many players to put in hundreds of hours into the game, which we didn’t quite expect. However, we’ve also seen that there’s a subset of players that don’t enjoy the roguelite aspects of the game at all. Not everyone is fine with dying a bunch of times and having to tackle a similar but not the same challenge again, even with upgrades. So it was very clear that a Neon Chrome-like game with pre-made levels and quicker pace of save points would be welcomed. We made JYDGE as that game, and sure enough, people love it! We’ve been quite surprised that most of the big time Neon Chrome fans also enjoy JYDGE, even if the overall experience is quite different.

As for concrete mechanical changes, the sense of progression is more clear and rapid in JYDGE. There are tons of distinct mini missions to clear, and many of them take no longer than 20 seconds. You’re also constantly unlocking new weapons and abilities, so you’re always itching to try the brand new thing. On the core gameplay side of things, I really love how the simple change of making enemy projectiles slower allows you to avoid them much better, and when that’s combined with very quick levels and restarts, it allows you to play as aggressive as you like. You really don’t need to stress about finding a healthpack or whatever.

Is it necessary to have played Neon Chrome before playing JYDGE, or will newcomers be able to jump right in?

Absolutely zero knowledge of Neon Chrome is needed to play JYDGE. You’d know the control scheme, but it’s not like twin stick shooters are a new thing. You’ll probably get a few more chuckles at the Neon Chrome references if you spot them though!

JYDGE was released on Steam and consoles last year. What was the critical and commercial response like to the game on those platforms?

I think review scores have been a touch higher for JYDGE overall, and the commercial success has been a couple of notches higher as well. There are clear reasons for that, as Neon Chrome started kind of slow but has built up admirably since. We were able to put everything we learned from Neon Chrome into good use with JYDGE right from the start, and obviously fans of Neon Chrome were a big and receptive audience to market to. With Steam we also kind of lucked out by having Neon Chrome on Humble Bundle only a week before JYDGE’s launch, so we were able to drive a lot of super relevant traffic from Neon Chrome to JYDGE’s store page. Neon Chrome launched amazing on iOS, and we’re not sure if it’s realistic to hope to match or even to exceed that, but now that iOS pre-orders are a thing, the numbers from JYDGE look confusingly good. We’ll see!

JYDGE is available to pre-order now ahead of its January 18th release on iOS. What do you think of this newly implemented App Store feature? Does it make it easier to promote and generate interest in games pre-launch? 

We honestly don’t know until afterwards. Like I said, the numbers we’re seeing for JYDGE iOS pre-orders are way, way higher than what we’d expect. But we haven’t yet seen what that kind of pre-order numbers mean for the actual launch, so it’s really hard to say. Potentially, the launch can be amazing. That, in turn, always depends very heavily on what kind of App Store features we get from Apple. Neon Chrome had very good ones.

What does the rest of 2018 look like for 10tons? Do you have any other upcoming projects in the works that you can tell me about?

2018 is looking… front-loaded! We’re on the last stretch of getting our console catalog to Nintendo Switch. Our next brand new game, Tesla vs Lovecraft, will debut in Steam on January 26th and we’ll roll that to consoles during the next one or two months. We hope to get it to iOS rapidly as well; I’d hope certainly by April. It’s looking scary good with that one as well! Then we’re of course celebrating 15 years of indie game development this year, so some kind of celebratory shenanigans would seem to be in order. Stay tuned!

That’s a wrap! Thanks for such a great interview, Jaakko. 🙂

As mentioned above, you can now pre-order JYDGE on the App Store at a 50% discount ($4.99), ahead of its January 18th release date. To find out more about the game, visit its official site or follow 10tons on Twitter and Facebook.

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