Klei Entertainment recently made the sequel to Shank, which they ingeniously called Shank 2. We liked Shank 2. In fact, here’s our praising review where you can find out just how much we liked it. In order to commemorate this, we asked the developer a few questions. Klei founder Jamie Cheng took the time to answer our ravings; for which we are grateful.
Daav: The game has a distinct feel of classics like Metal Slug or Rush ’n Attack. What games inspired you to make Shank 2?
JC: Double Dragon, Final Fight, Metal Slug, and more recently Devil May Cry were huge inspirations for us when making Shank and Shank 2, but in the end we really just tried to make the game we wanted to play!
Daav: Let’s go down the list of media. What movies inspired you? Shank 2 feels like an action packed blockbuster. Are there any classic action heroes that shaped the Shank persona?
JC: Is El Mariachi considered a classic action hero? In general Shank 2 just doesn’t take itself very seriously, and we simply wanted to have some fun, and pull no punches when it came to what Shank could do.
Daav: Lastly, as the animated style is rich in color and texture, there must be some comics that inspired you. Care to tell us a few?
JC: That’s more a question for our creative director Jeff Agala, but I’ll answer it the best I can. Both Shank 1 and 2 are heavily influenced by graphic novels and golden age comics, but Shank 2 brings that even closer to reality as we were able to add a ton more detail and depth into the characters this time around. I think ‘graphic novel come to life’ is a pretty accurate description.
Daav: Let’s talk action. At a certain point, Shank battles a sea creature and awesomeness ensues. Who do we thank for these outlandish ideas and where did they spawn from?
JC: That’s all Jeff, man. I actually had no idea that was going in, and then suddenly “WTF? He just ripped what out of who?” But then again, it all fits. Of course Shank would do that.
Daav: Also, did you know SHANK2 is also some sort of protein? What’s up with that?
JC: I did not know this until about halfway through development. Shank would be one hell of a protein.
Daav: If Shank ran for president, what platform would he run on and why? I bet he’d make McCain cry.
JC: Oh god, you definitely don’t want him running for president. He’d just grunt and stuff. I mean, would you want Brock Samson running for president? Actually, that’d be pretty sweet, and he might actually win.
Daav: Some might argue that Shank 2 is not a hell of a lot different from the original. What can you tell us to prove this statement wrong? What are some of the new key features that separate this title from its predecessor?
JC: Hmm. Let’s put it this way: when I play Shank 1, I cringe and I’m kind of embarrassed. Shank 2 has a ton of stuff that’s different, but in the end the most important thing is that the core experience of beating up on guys is way better, tighter, with more options, control, and coherence. When I play Shank 2, I can’t help but have a smile on my face. We definitely weren’t setting out to re-define Shank, we just wanted to make a much, much better one.
Daav: How was it working with a huge publisher like EA? Is there still a good amount of freedom involved or does the occasional suggestion peek its way through development? What can you tell us about that cooperation?
JC: Interesting; we get asked this question a lot! The reason we signed with EA is because it was clear that they respected, and most importantly trusted, our creative vision and ability to create a great game. Throughout development they were there to provide support in terms of QA, playtesting, and general feedback, but in the end we made the game we believed in. Let’s put it this way: we made two games with them, back-to-back!
Daav: Now that the Shank duality will undoubtedly reach a successful standard, what’s next for Klei?
JC: I hear we’re making a text adventure...
Daav: Given recent success of Double Fine funding their new project through Kickstarter in one day, what do you think of their reaching out to the community for support? Is that something you can see yourselves doing?
JC: Reaching out to the community would be amazing, but I’m no Tim. He’s been making games since I was... I dunno, really young, and he’s earned that great reputation of his over long, hard years of making amazing games. I’m but a young grasshopper :)