I reached out to Beatshapers, a developer behind several PlayStation games found on various platforms, to learn about a company that seems to really enjoy gaming. Founder and CEO Alexey Menshikov confirmed my beliefs, and answered my questions below.
Travis Blair: Thank you for taking my questions! Aside from fun, what does Beatshapers like to focus on when developing games?
Alexey Menshikov: Thank you for invite. Recently, we finally formed our company global concept and our focus is innovative technologies (I know its sounds banal, let me explain). We are participated in 3 PlayStation launches: minis, PS Move, PS Vita, in all of them have something unique or never seen before. Minis – we released carefully selected 11 minis titles, for StarDrone PS3 we used PS Move motion controller in an interesting way, StarDrone Extreme PS Vita launch title – we made LiveArea format with dynamic player profile (Sony even show it as an example how to do LiveArea), used touchscreen and back touch pad and it was first 3rd party cross-play title in PSN store.
Now, we have a Ready To Run for PS4, RC cars racing game comes with cool features, EdgeVR game for Project Morpheus with an interesting experience and unannounced PS4 title that honestly speaking have so awesome features, we hope to reveal it very soon.
So we hungry hunting for new way to use technology and also experimenting with new gameplays that is our motto for now.
TB: With games like BreakQuest and Wizorb, it appears I’m not the only fan of block-breaking games. What is it about this genre that interests you?
AM: I loved BreakQuest from the first look back in 2003, licensed it in 2008 for consoles and when Sony approached us with minis idea, we just released it. I totally love its concept, unique levels, soundscape, so we decided to make a sequel, with all new levels as we licensed the name. That had quite a success so I decided to look what other arkanoid genre games in the marker available and found Wizorb. Its not physically based but the word and art looks awesome – this is how it come to minis.
Akranoid genre still one of recognizable genres, which sells – that was another reason
TB: How does the process work when developing another company’s game for a system? I see you’ve worked with developers behind such games as Canabalt, Jetpack Joyride, and Furmins. Who approaches who?
AM: For most minis that was my idea, I negotiated deals from the beginning to the end. For Furmins – we are old friends with Housemarque and been looked on way to work together for few years and they are approached me year ago asking to bring Furmins to PS Vita as they are very busy now.
Currently we focusing on own games mostly.
TB: Many may not know that Beatshapers is based in Ukraine. With your country currently in international news, could you give us some insight into what a day in the life is like for you?
AM: Well, that’s hard. On the situation escalation I was almost evacuated office but its more or less stabile in Kiev now. We made stricter security and backup policies, moved backups to clouds.
We are also talking with few governments (Lithuania, New Zealand, Netherlands and Canada) to potentially move company abroad and have an outsourcing office in Kiev. I know other local companies also thinking to move HQ outside. Ukraine will be fine in long term perspective but not immediately but to keep business going we need safer place.
TB: You are currently working on Z-Run, a new game for the Vita. What is something about Z-Run that you as the developer are enjoying the most?
AM: Z-Run was a biggest title for us at that moment, its started as quick gig but grown bigger. That was a big experience and developing it actually helped us improve development aspects that we are didn’t touched when did porting job. So that all improved our development culture.
Honestly, Z-Run is too hardcore even when if looks like slow-runner: run, and evade obstacles and killing zombies same time that’s very hard, especially on late levels. It has 30 levels on 3 different areas.
Game has 12 weapons to fight your way out.
TB: What about mobile gaming interests you the most? What aspect of it would you like improved?
AM: We are surely keeping an eye on mobile and planning brings something in future. I like the new game mechanics and genres made for touch devices , don’t like very aggressive monetization but its seem become a defacto standarts
I like how mobile and tables changes our lifes, my baby daughter 1.5 yo can use touch screen on phone and call Siri, that’s awesome.
TB: Can I get an HD remake of Normal Tanks? It is a fun mini, and I really like tanks. I would be very grateful!
AM: Hehe sorry, I believe our agreement was expired but we have better titles coming, trust me We tried to bring it to iOS with partner’s company but they are failed to port at that time so we released only minis version. I know Konstantin working on second part.
TB: Thank you for giving us an inside look into Beatshapers. I look forward to many more great games from you!
AM: Thank you! Please follow us on @beatshapers and like our Facebook page for the recent news and upcoming updates!