I have been hearing a lot about this new game called Skulls of the Shogun from 17-BIT. Skulls of the Shogun is a turn-based strategy game that “was thrown in a blender with classic 80’s and 90’s arcade brawlers” where players meet and join forces with vibrant ghost-samurai warriors, magical animal-monks, and mustachioed samurai generals on the way to capture the “Skulls of the Shogun” in a 10-15-hour single-player campaign. Skulls of the Shogun features up to 4-player local and online multiplayer battles which can be played across ALL of Microsoft’s platforms including Xbox LIVE Arcade, Windows 8 and Windows RT, and Windows Phone.
UPDATE: Also check out this blog post from Windows Phone with an really cool video showcasing the game!
I wanted to know a little bit more about the game so I sent along some questions over to Jake Kazdal from 17-BIT. Jake is 17-BIT’s Founder and CEO!
Brandon LeBlanc: So where did the idea of Skulls of the Shogun come from?
Jake Kazdal: I lived in Japan for about 5 years, and used to hike in the country side as much as I could. I always really enjoyed finding forgotten little temples in the woods, and all the ghost stories in the neighborhoods surrounding old battlefields. When I decided I wanted to make a turn-based strategy game, I thought it would be a perfect theme to explore, and taking place in the afterlife, we could get away with all kinds of weird magic and otherworldly characters!
Brandon LeBlanc: What was it about Microsoft’s platforms that enticed you to build a game that spans Xbox LIVE Arcade, Windows 8 and Windows Phone?
Jake Kazdal: It is a very flexible game – it offers the best of each platform. It’s an amazing kick back on the couch and play through single-player or particularly local multiplayer. This game was designed by dudes sitting on couches beating each other up, and we had a *very* good time making it! It works great on PC with Windows 8, where you can play with mouse and keyboard, touchscreen, OR plug in an Xbox controller! 3 distinct control schemes, all totally applicable in Skulls of the Shogun! And the fact that you can play anywhere you go on the super slick Windows Phone is incredible.
Also, for the first time ever, players will be able to challenge their friends, fight their way through online multiplayer battles, and even take their single-player campaign on the road asynchronously — whether they’re playing on Xbox 360, Windows 8 or Windows Phone. Called Skulls Anywhere, this cross-platform gameplay has never been done before on Microsoft platforms and will be available at launch on all four launch platforms!
Brandon LeBlanc: I understand this started as an Xbox LIVE Arcade game. Curious if you were able to reuse any of your code to facilitate extending the game to Windows 8 and Windows Phone?
Jake Kazdal: Make no mistake, this is exactly the same game across all platforms! Yes, the game code is the same across all the platforms (in C#), minus some user interface adjustments per platform. For our low level engine we use XNA on Xbox 360 and Windows Phone. On Windows 8 we use an open source XNA-like engine called MonoGame.
Brandon LeBlanc: What are some of the unique Windows 8 features you integrated into the game? What scenarios really light up on Windows 8?
Jake Kazdal: Multi controller; you can play it on a range of devices; it works with touch, mouse and keyboard and you can even plug your controller into your Windows 8 device. Surface offers the mobility of a tablet, but stands on its own as a full blown gaming device. This is in our opinion unbeatable. The flexibility of having up to 30 (!) Skulls Anywhere asynchronous games at any time means you can be playing against your friends anywhere you go, just amazing!
Brandon LeBlanc: I hear you guys are running a special promotion?
Jake Kazdal: Skulls of the Shogun will be available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and Russian. It will be discounted for a limited time on Windows 8 and Windows Phone. The Windows 8 version will launch at $9.99 (normally $14.99) in the Windows Store, and the Windows Phone version will launch at $4.99 (normally $6.99) in the Windows Phone Store. The Xbox LIVE version is available for 1200 Microsoft Points in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
Brandon LeBlanc: Thanks Jake for taking the time to answer some questions!
Take advantage of their limited time promotion and purchase Skulls of the Shogun from the Windows Store now for just $9.99 (U.S.).
And if you have a Windows Phone, grab it from the Windows Phone Store for just $4.99 (U.S.).
Also, check out this Microsoft News Center feature for commentary from Microsoft’s Senior Game Designer and Producer on Skulls of the Shogun.