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Courtesy Kyle Reczek

Local game embraces cartoon art style, grenades

By Jason Herring, March 29 2016 —

Kyle Reczek has been developing video games since before he graduated from the University of Calgary in 2007. But it wasn’t until he left his oil and gas job last May that video games became his full-time job.

Now, the local developer is preparing to roll out 3, 2, 1, Grenades!, a cartoon-style multiplayer first-person shooter where players lob grenades at one another. Gameplay choices include a classic deathmatch option, as well as options featuring a disintegrating floor or grenade tennis.

“I describe it as a snowball fight with high explosives,” Reczek says.

It’s a simple concept, but members of the PC gaming community approved the project last month through Steam Greenlight, a platform where users vote on games they would like to see released through the Steam platform.

Reczek compares the game to local multiplayer shooters like Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64. He thinks this similarity is part of the reason why his game became popular.

“I’m trying to bring back fun games like Goldeneye. I don’t think there’s a ton of those types of games being made anymore,” he says. “I don’t think it’s always profitable for companies to include that kind of gameplay in their games. I don’t know if there’s just not enough demand for the big companies to do it anymore. But a small company like me, I don’t need to make much money.”

3, 2, 1, Grenades! has been a Reczek’s main focus since he left his job. He worked alone on all aspects of the game’s development, and was surprised at how many different elements go into releasing a game.

“There’s definitely been a lot more responsibilities, things you don’t think about when you start making games — things like running a business, marketing your game,” Reczek says. “I have to wear a lot more hats than I thought I would. Before I decided to go full time, I thought, ‘cool, I’ll just get to program and make art and music.’ But there’s a whole lot more to it.”

The game originated at a week–long game jam last year. Game jams are events where developers gather to create video games on a short deadline. Reczek says the game has changed dramatically since then.

“There’s a bunch of things that were in prototype stages, like a level editor, that I put in the Greenlight campaign,” he says. “I want to fulfill the promise of those things and make sure they’re in the game. Then I have to polish it up and make sure it works on lots of different computers.”

Since 3, 2, 1, Grenades! was greenlit, Reczek has been providing updates on the game’s development through Twitter and Steam. The updates range from displaying the computer’s artificial intelligence to showing off quirkier additions, like a grenade that launches a pug to obscure your opponent’s vision.

Reczek thinks the game benefits from these light-hearted additions.

“I like doing that stuff,” he says. “It’s not a serious game and it’s not super directed at adult gamers, so you can do whatever silly stuff you want.”

Though more video games are coming out of Calgary, the city still isn’t considered a game development hub like Edmonton or Vancouver. Reczek thinks this is because Calgary lacks a large gaming company like Bioware or EA Canada, but believes this helps the local community.

“A lot of other places have more of an industry you can go into, where if you do your own business and it doesn’t work out, you can fall back on a big studio. We don’t really have that in Calgary,” Reczek says. “But the community here is, in terms of other places I’ve gone to, one of the best I’ve seen. We’re more on our own here, so we need to help each other survive. There’s a really good grassroots community here.”

3, 2, 1, Grenades! is slated for a summer release on PC and Mac at a yet to be determined price.

For more information about 3, 2, 1, Grenades! visit 321grenades.com

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