Matt and Alex (HyMyNameIsMatt & Pluswplus), the developers for Vernal Edge, went and answered some questions! Peruse at your leisure, then perhaps consider following one of the links down at the bottom and maybe getting some time with the game if you’re feeling a little… Spicy.
Would you mind introducing yourselves?
Matt: I’m Matt, I started Vernal Edge! I design levels, and make most of the environment art and character animations.
Alex: Hey I’m Alex and I do the music, sound, and a bunch of other stuff
How would you describe Vernal’s Edge?
Matt: A good time jumpin around places quickly and beaten dudes up.
What were some of your major influences, both in terms of art and design?
Alex: Easily the biggest influences on our games are action games from the early to mid 2000’s Devil May Cry and Kingdom Hearts II being probably the largest
Matt: Frogatto is probably the biggest influence on the environments in Vernal Edge, while fighting games like Melty Blood influenced the character animation.
A lot of Metroidvania titles feel similar to one another, if unique for their own reasons. What sets VE apart from the baseline?
Matt: Probably the overworld map that lets you choose where to go, and the combo/juggling oriented combat.
Alex: A lot!
Sliding is exquisite and the subtleties of level design that come along with it are something else.
What led to this mechanic?
Alex: Matt needed to justify the work of adding slopes to the game to himself.
Matt: I like powerups that focus more on use of the terrain around you instead of specialized objects like grapple points. Sliding was a good way to make that work in any environment.
How does sliding influence level design?
Matt: Sliding lets us create little moments throughout the game where you can try and maintain your speed and momentum to make even basic navigation enjoyable.
Alex: Making sure you can move fluidly and expressively through environments is a priority for us and sliding is included in that.
Vernal Edge’s poise system is also quite something; what led to its creation?
Alex: We were just kinda frustrated with how opaque action games were about what did and didn’t stun which enemies. Giving it a universal and visible system meant more nuanced decision making for the player
Matt: We wanted the player to be in control of stunning enemies in battle, rather than forcing them to wait for a window of time to open up or some other system. Poise as it is implemented allows us to make the player engage with the enemy while the enemy is still capable of fighting back.
How does this system contrast with Devil May Cry’s enemies in Devil Trigger?
Alex: To be honest I don’t have enough time in Dante Must Die difficulty to really say.
Matt: I believe our poise system tells you what it takes to stun an enemy a lot more clearly than DMC. This does mean we lack more specialized interactions, such as stunning an enemy for countering specific attacks.
Is it better (in your opinion) to have perfect information as to whether or not you can juggle an enemy?
Alex: For our own game, yes. I’m not really interested in telling people how to design their games but I think generally more information regarding when staggers and launches can be applied is more enjoyable for me.
Matt: I generally would enjoy having more clear tells for enemy stun states since they’re so important in many action games.
Bloom attacks are incredibly fun and have some crazy tech applications – but they’re also somewhat difficult to use and get acquainted with as a player is learning the game. Do the results that players can achieve with bloom balance out the learning curve?
Alex: Well we don’t give it to you right away in the full game, and the mechanics have changed since the demo. So you’ll just have to wait and see.
Matt: We’ll have to let you know once we get to do more testing!
What’s your favorite not directly intended interaction that players have discovered in Vernal Edge?
Alex: Being able to skip phase 2 of the demo boss was something I thought COULD be possible. but seeing people actually do it was awesome.
Matt: It’s probably using the projectile of down air pulse to juggle an enemy from far away, without using the direct contact hitbox to do damage. I didn’t even think to try that interaction out in all my testing.
While we’re really here to talk about Vernal Edge, what about Hello Penguin? What is Hello Penguin?
Alex: That’s a good question.
Matt: Hello Penguin 2 HD is worth looking up on itch.io
Is there anything you’d like to say before heading out?
Alex: Vernal Edge is cool and you should play the demo and also buy it when it releases.
Matt: Remember to take care of yourself and not work yourself to death if you can help it.
Vernal Edge is unfortunately currently not available as of the time of this interview (sorry!); however, you can support the developers by wishlisting the title on Steam to help bump the game up within the esoteric algorithm that is the Steam storefront, and if you’re itching to try your hands on the game, you can check out the kickstarter demo on itch.io