The not so spooky skeletons — a talk about the new game Skeletal Dance Party
Last year, we did an interview with Jesper from Catalope Games, talking about his upcoming game Scrap Galaxy. Now he is back with a new title that’s very different from his previous games. That game is called Skeletal Dance Party and it features a foxgirl necromancer that wants to host a dance party for her skeleton friends. Jesper describes it as a physics-based Pikmin-similar RPG dungeon crawler. Whoa, that’s a long one!
“The game started out as a tiny prototype 3 years ago called Skeletal Dance Simulator. I wanted to try combining voxel models with ragdolls. Then I figured out that I could not make animations so I instead played around with a physics-based animation system. That was the start of it.”
The prototype went viral on YouTube and lots of famous people played it, among noted Pewdiepie and Jacksepticeye. When this happened Jesper was busy developing Scrap Galaxy and couldn’t do much else than putting the game on hold for the time being.
“During the project, lots of my friends joined, a bit like a classical RPG gang joining up to slay a dragon. My friend, going under the alias of Miku joined the project providing adorable art for the project, Reece agreed to do story and voices and Connor O.R.T Linning that made the soundtrack for Scrap Galaxy and the prototype for this game joined providing a really kick-ass soundtrack for the game. Several more also lend a helping hand during the project.”
The game started out being primarily a necromancy and skeleton-themed game, which isn’t a long jump towards being Halloween-themed. When Jesper realized that Skeletal Dance Party could be ready around that time, he decided to add pumpkins, floating craniums with trumpets etc. to spice it up even more. When we asked what sort of spooky influence went into its making, he said:
“I let Reece Bridger from No Studio answer that one, he says the following:
I can’t speak for the whole team but I was influenced by Tim Burton’s work. My favorite cartoons ‘The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy’ and ‘Invader Zim’, and among all the others we hid and nodded to in the game itself. There’s also a whole Edgar Allen Poe homage in the opening narration that was probably the hardest part of the game to write. ‘Soul Eater’ DEFINITELY went on that list as well.”
The gang used various interests and influences to incorporate every possible way they could to take the grim, gothic aesthetic of Halloween and the general spirit of dark/punk culture. The game being cutesy doesn’t necessarily make it any less gothic — it just makes it more palatable to the general audience.
So what made them decide on going with a full voxel look?
“Voxels art is a bit like pixel art. It is easy for me as a programmer to hold a consistent art style with them and making new models are very effective time and effort wise. It is just a matter of making sure that each voxel has the same size and that everything has the same palette.”
Catalope Games strength lies within building game systems and engineering. That’s why they decided to team up with No Studio since they know how to write fun and cute storylines and get great voice acting for it as well.
“Our combined forces allowed us to create a game that was larger in scope than what each could do alone.”
Skeletal Dance Party will feature a full voice cast, adding a lot of flavor to the game.
“Jane Redd who voices Reva does a wonderful job and really makes the game 100% more adorable. Everyone that helped with voice acting did an amazing job!”
Jesper and Connor O.R.T. Linning have some plans when it comes to releasing the soundtrack separately as people keep commenting that the music is really catchy when playing the game.
“In my opinion, it is his music that ties the game together and gives it the special vibe.”
Lastly, we talked a little bit about Jesper’s involvement with Game Jams (LiU Game Jam in particular).
“Much of my training and discipline comes from participating in way too many game jams. I usually call it an extreme sport for developers and project leaders. What it has learned me is the value of time. You can get an incredible amount of work done within very little time as long as you can work undisturbed and keep communication between team members effective.”
Skeletal Dance Party is out now for PC, Mac, and Linux. A future release on the Nintendo Switch might happen one day.
Itch.io page: https://catalopegames.itch.io/skeletal-dance-party
Gamejolt page: https://gamejolt.com/games/SkeletalDanceParty/335013
Thank you so much for taking your time to talk to us about your projects! If anyone wants to visit LiU Game Jam aka “Sweden’s most comfy game jam”, they are hosting the next one in Linköping between November 16th — 18th!