The Lowdown On That Kickass, Scott Pilgrim Skateboarding Style RPG

Jala fights Sergio in The Thirsty Suitors.

Screenshot: Annapurna

Thirsty suitors has all the makings for the next big game.

In one minute, you break the lines of skateboarding that will make Tony Hawk cry with envy. You then engage in turn-based combat against your former third class. In the meantime, you might cook a meal with your mom (desperately seeking her approval) or, who knows, find the love of your life (for the seventh time).

You do it all as a young woman named Jala who left town three years ago, burning bridges with friends, family and lovers along the way to become the mayor’s wife.

Nothing happened.

First announced at the Game Awards 2021. Thirsty suitors immediately attracted attention for the vibrant art style and Scott Pilgrim energy. This is the latest news from Outerloop, who you may know from the creators of the mind-blowing adventure game. falcon age. Thirsty suitors is currently being prepared for publication next year by Annapurna Interactive, the original organization that just released a speed shooter. neon white and cat play To roamboth received acclaim on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC.

You can give him a spin now. Last week, during the second annual Annapurna Interactive show, the publisher released a demo for Thirsty suitors on Steam. He offers an example of what you get: a bit of skateboarding, a glimpse into Jala’s past, and a fight with Sergio, Jala’s former third grade. The combat plays like a standard turn-based RPG, although you can apply status effects such as “thirst” that debuff it. This is a very fantastic battle, even entering the realm he created in his imagination at some point.

“It’s more like a dance, a date, and a verbal fight that we visualize through role-playing combat,” said creative director Chandana Ekanayake. Kotaku in an interview conducted shortly after the game’s debut at the Tribeca Festival this summer.

Sergio, as you will notice, is a bit of an ass (see video above). He is pushy. He is arrogant. He is an obvious example of insecurity, hiding behind sophisticated fashion and showy but ultimately useless muscles. You probably know this guy or a version of him. Although it used to be much worse.

“At first we made him really evil and a lot more assertive, but people were like, ‘He’s really charming! and so we are leaning towards it,” Ekanayake said.

Through Thirsty suitors, you end up fighting half a dozen ex-Jalas, each with their own interests. (The demo introduces these formers as a kind of league, but doesn’t go into too much detail about any of them.) Ekanayake said that many games struggle with harsh, traumatic storylines, but Outerloop wanted to do something different, a little more positive. leaning. Each fight culminates in “a sort of reconciliation,” he said, although the door is left open for continued platonic or romantic relationships with each character.

Jala and Sergio shake hands in

Screenshot: Annapurna

Ekanayake admitted the obvious Scott Pilgrim comparison, including Thirsty suitors is also about romance and has a casual setting that spontaneously transforms into fantasy. (“Scott Pilgrim looks like a video game,” he noted.) But Brian Lee O’Malley’s comics aren’t the deepest source of creativity here. In 2013 O’Malley complained and apologized overwhelming whiteness Scott Pilgrimcast, and said in 2016 that he wouldn’t write a white protagonist again, telling NBC News: “Honestly, when I watched the Scott Pilgrim movie, I was a little disgusted to see how white he was – not even to see myself on the screen … I think I whitened myself from my own history.”

Quicker, Thirsty suitors more inspired by the wave of recent media that has portrayed South Asians in leading roles; Ekanayake, who grew up in Sri Lanka, quoted Hassan Minaj’s 2017 special. Homecoming and a coming-of-age comedy from Netflix Never I never. “We [seeing] more of these stories and a kind of exploration of South Asian characters and just Asian characters in general,” he added. “I wanted to do the same for games.”

Name for Thirsty suitors came first before a rough idea or even a concept. Ekanayake knew he wanted to explore elements of the life of a South Asian immigrant in America, at one point even talking to writer Megna Jayant (who also wrote for falcon age) the idea of ​​including a component of marriage of convenience. But they rejected him.

“None of us entered into an arranged marriage,” Ekanayake said. “We had friends and family and all that, but we just didn’t feel comfortable basing it on something we weren’t personally involved in.”

Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, the team focused on their personal experiences. Take, for example, segments of cooking. (The cooking mini-game was not part of the Tribeca Fest demo: too much to cram into 30 minutes.) Ekanayake noted that cooking segments tend to star moms rather than dads by default. But he is a parent himself and cooks at home all the time. So in Thirsty suitorsCooking segments that require you to come up with recipes through quick events, you’ll have to compete for Jala’s mother’s approval. as well as father.

“In fact, this is what we talk about weekly, telling the story and trying to be true to ourselves,” Ekanayake said. “There is a specific story and a specific narrative, and if you try to kind of represent it all, it just gets watered down.”

Earlier this summer Thirsty suitors made a splash at the Tribeca Festival with a demo of his first chapter. It received an award for the gaming segment of the festival.overtaking such competitors as American Arcadia, Oxenfree II: Lost Signalsand meaty, hotly anticipated extension for Cuphead.

“That’s nice, man,” Ekanayake said. “We’ve been working on it for a couple of years, so this is the first time people have been able to play it. We definitely weren’t sure how people would react.”

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