Exclusive Interview: Stellar Jay Studios Talks Dad Beat Dads

Games based around local multiplayer have seen a huge resurgence in the past two years. Titles like Towerfall, and Samurai Gunn have become staples at gaming parties, and the latest contender to try to be the life of the party is Stellar Jay Studios’ Dad Beat Dads. This platform brawler has gamers stealing babies from other dads, and throwing diapers filled with bricks. Yeah, it’s pretty out there.

To find out more about the recently released Dad Beat Dads, we talked to Stellar Jay Studios’ Ted Wilson and Corey McDaniel. It was an interesting discussion about their past in working on animation, working with Cartoon Network, and much more.

Check it out below, and enjoy!

We Got This Covered: Can you tell us how the concept for Dad Beat Dads was conceived? It’s not often you hear about a game that has you stealing babies from other dads.

Ted Wilson and Corey McDaniel: The heart of the game was conceived by Bernie Wong and Jeffrey Yim, the two coders on the project. When Stellar Jay got into game dev, we reconnected with Bernie, a former classmate at Vancouver Film School, at the Full Indie meet-up here in Vancouver and he showed us an early, basic prototype.

They had the dudes from River City Ransom as well as Baby Mario in the early version of the game, just as placeholder sprites. So these River City Ransom thugs were running around, throwing baby Mario and punching each other. Ted and I thought the idea was so weird and funny, and we implored them to keep it, since it was such a fresh and crazy idea, and knew the world just had to see it. We partnered up and the rest is history!

WGTC: There are three different modes in the game: Smash N’ Grab which has you stealing babies, Diaper Sniper which involves trying to dodge diaper bricks, and Corporate Ladder where players are trying to collect coins. Which mode is your personal favorite?

TW and CM: The studio favourite seems to be Diaper Sniper. It’s a very direct, action packed mode that creates a lot nail biting finishes. Nothing is more satisfying than smoking your final opponent with that last sweet shot! Plus, it’s got bricks wrapped in diapers as ammo; how many games can say they have that?

WGTC: Dad Beat Dads will be the studio’s first console game. How has it been working with [email protected], and has the process of getting your game on a console been easier or more difficult than you expected?

TW and CM: Everyone at the ID program has been fantastic to work with. They’ve all been very helpful in making the process as simple as possible for us. Since this is our first title, we weren’t sure what to expect when we applied, and submitted the game with a “might as well try it” mentality. We weren’t expecting to get in, so when we got accepted, we were through the roof! To get a game on the Xbox is a great feeling, but to get your first game was really more than we could have hoped for.

WGTC: Platform brawlers have quickly become a thriving genre thanks to games such as Rivals of AetherSuper Smash Bros., and Mega Coin Squad. How does Dad Beat Dads differentiate itself from the competition?

TW and CM: As we developed DBD, we knew we wanted a cleaner gameplay experience. It’s robust enough that you’ll keep coming back for new surprises, but straightforward enough that you can get into fairly quickly. Also, coming from an animation background, the humour element is a big part of that. Who doesn’t love a nice, crazy expression when a Dad gets punched in the face? Plus, this is the only game where you can use a baby as a weapon!

WGTC: What sort of customizable match options will there be? Are power ups a big part of the gameplay?

TW and CM: The time limits can be changed for each mode, which has a big impact, since the tide can turn on a dime in DBD. Sometimes a longer match will give you just enough rope to hang yourself! You can also play 2-on-2, or even 3-on-1. It really opens up the gameplay, especially in Smash N’ Grab, since each teammate can take a separate baby through the door to trigger a point. It brings a whole different level of tactical play into the game. Turning on Friendly Fire means you can hurt your teammate, which really ups the difficulty too. We also have a single player mode, where you can play against up to 3 bots.

And yes, power ups are a huge part of the game. You can also turn them off if you want, to play a more hardcore game. Classics power ups like the Shield and Speedboost give you an advantage offensively, but the defensive power ups, like Lock Out and Fat Baby can give you an even greater edge. What do those power ups do exactly? I guess you’ll have to play the game to find out!