Taking Metroid to the Blue Collar Mines in Full Bore

The World's #1 Boar Digging Simulator

51 Comments

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Full Bore is a paradox wrapped inside a mystery. The game is a puzzle platformer, but you can't jump; it's designed in the Metroidvania style, but you don't collect a single power-up; and all its pixelated inhabitants look adorable at first, but look again and you'll see they're actually quite terrifying.

When I started this game it seemed innocent enough: a young boar falls victim to circumstance and is drafted into the Full Bore Mining Co. However, the deeper I dug into the mines, the stranger things became. The somber, blues-inspired soundtrack coupled with some striking lighting effects left me questioning if everything in this already bizarre world wasn't exactly how it appeared. Full Bore's developers--Whole Hog Games--were quick to assure me it's not.

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Let's back up a second. Beyond the game's psychedelic aesthetic, Full Bore is also a tale of hard workin' blue-collar boars that spend their days pushin' boxes, diggin' holes, and solvin' puzzles. Okay, maybe I was the only one solving any puzzles, but you get the point. Since jumping was not in my arsenal, I instead had to climb up and over obstacles. This gave certain areas a Catherine-esque vibe as I puzzled out how to build a stairway to my goal. Thankfully, if I got stuck in Full Bore I could zap back to the last checkpoint, or try a different area.

The world of Full Bore is huge, with numerous passages you can miss or skip entirely. This game is the equivalent to starting Symphony of the Night with a fully-upgraded Alucard: all your abilities are unlocked from the get-go, the challenge lies in discovering their nuances and recognizing where they can be applied. An experienced player could use this knowledge to breeze past certain areas, but, for a newcomer like myself, I was content to take it slow and let the game teach me how this world works.

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To wit, the first time I saw a laser block buried in the ground I ran right past it without a second thought. Later on, after the game taught me how laser blocks worked, I caught myself thinking, "Now where have I seen that block before?" As the developers explained, curiosity is at the heart of Full Bore's design. The game is filled with hidden collectables, bits of lore, and challenging puzzle rooms for sharp players to discover. The game does not force all these extras upon you; if you seek them out that's great, and if you accidentally stumble upon one, so much the better.

The team behind Full Bore consists of a trio of high school friends turned game developers. Casey Carlin, Finn Beazlie, and Jake Federico have taken Full Bore though many different versions, including a procedurally-generated, match-three puzzle game. "We kept trying to make that work," said Carlin. "We had a cheesy prototype and people seemed to have fun breaking stuff and digging giant holes, but that was basically all it was. We weren't able to coalesce that feeling of fun into an actual game."

Getting Full Bore to the state it's in today hasn't been the easiest journey for this team, who were all candid about the unexpected realities of game development. "No matter what anyone tells you about how hard it is to make a video game," explained Federico, "they will not have scope and amount of work involved." Carlin mirrored this sentiment, "You're basically doing R&D on a moving target, which is quite possibly the most difficult thing you could try to do in engineering. But with video games, you're engineering a project while also composing a sonnet or shooting a movie--and those two fields have to work and interact! It's maddeningly complicated and none of us had enough experience to deal with that right away."

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One of the greatest sources of inspiration actually came from the game's soundtrack, which took the team by surprise. "I told this guy, Miguel Acuña, who I've known for a long time, the basic premise for the game and that we were looking for some classic chiptunes mixed with his own personal flair," Beazlie explained, "and the first song he sent back was this amazing blend of blues guitar and bleep-bloops. It fit a style we didn't even know we were going for."

"That music helped push the story into the blue collar style it has now," added Carlin. "Of course, that story goes to a strange place the further you get into the game, but the early areas where you're roped into working for the mining company and getting in deep with the working boars, I mean, hearing that music, how could we NOT go in that direction?"

From simple to strange, Full Bore covers a lot of ground, which has led this team to their latest quandary: how much is too much? "It goes back to the game's theme: curiosity," Beazlie said. "We're really curiosity focused, and if you want to drive curiosity you can't tell everyone everything--you have to leave some questions unanswered and be cryptic. We're trying to decide what's the balance between information and mysteriousness." Full Bore is aiming for release later this year, with the possibility of a Steam release through Greenlight.

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Avatar image for Xpyder
Xpyder

Hoping for a Vita version, would be niiiiice!

Avatar image for wodenpwn
wodenpwn

@Xpyder Its a possibility, though it would take a bit of doing. -Finn (Whole Hog Games)

Avatar image for Xpyder
Xpyder

@wodenpwn Nice, where did you get that from?

Avatar image for Xpyder
Xpyder

@wodenpwn Ohhh nice!!! Great job on the game, grats man! Hope it comes to Vita eventually!

Avatar image for wodenpwn
wodenpwn
@Xpyder I'm the lead artist on Full Bore. I know things. But really, its just that it's technically possible, not that we are in any sort of talks with anyone.
Avatar image for Leboyo56
Leboyo56

Metroidvania is my favorite genre so I'll probably get this. And being the younger gamer I am, I've never played Super Metroid or any Castlevania. The website Kongregate is what got me interested into these platformers. Snailiad, William and Sly, Legend of Kalevala and Clarence's Big Chance are AMAZING examples of what great things people can make in their free time without the pressure of anything but their own expectations.

Avatar image for Junior_AIN
Junior_AIN

Gotta love them platformers, I voted yes on Greenlight, hope this one makes it.

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youngzen69

Wow! The name fits this game well.

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mav_destroyer

Love the feel of this game and the soundtrack sounds awesome. You guys got my vote on GreenLight. Wish we had more creative games like this.

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sgt_F79

Well that was bore-ing.

Avatar image for wholehoggames
wholehoggames

@sgt_F79 Sorry you didn't like it :(

I hope you would still be willing to give Full Bore a chance though, you might find a slower, thoughtful game a nice change of pace!

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turdfurguison

Dude Fin & Jake!!! It's Adventure Time!!

Avatar image for wholehoggames
wholehoggames

@turdfurguison You would be surprised how long it took for anyone to notice this.

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alim298

don't think this will be a HUGE success like SOTN and Metroid.

Avatar image for wholehoggames
wholehoggames

@alim298 We would be perfectly happy with a moderate success. Not every game can (or should!) be genre-defining :D

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starduke

Looks pretty awesome, I'd love to feature it on my YouTube channel when it comes out.

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wholehoggames

@starduke Be sure to let us know when you do!

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starduke

Btw, Thanks for replying!

Avatar image for starduke
starduke

@wholehoggames When it's out, keep an eye out for an email from someone using the YouTube handle Duke Sidus asking permission to feature it. I need it in writing to prove to YouTube that you're letting me do that. I didn't see anything on your website about let's plays or anything like that.

Avatar image for starduke
starduke

@wholehoggames You should also think about what sort of lets plays you'll allow. I mean, Mojang doesn't care about if people put ads on vids featuring Minecraft, but Remedy, while they will let people post vids, they don't want people to put ads on them.

Avatar image for wholehoggames
wholehoggames

@starduke That's a good point, we really should put up a it's-ok-to-let's-play page. (Although I think it's nuts, of course it's okay for you to make videos of my game!)

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Chronologo

Looks nice, and I love this type of games. I'll give it a try when it comes out

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PsyonicPlague

looks like my kind of game! Does anyone know if there will be a mac release?

Avatar image for wholehoggames
wholehoggames

@PsyonicPlague We plan on it, but it will be after the Windows/Linux release. We don't own any Macs, so we have to make enough money to buy a few first!

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PsyonicPlague

@wholehoggames @PsyonicPlague Hey thats great news, thanks a lot

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andfx8

Super Metroid is my all time favorite, SOTN was awesome (Shadow Complex was pretty sweet too)... Knowing the developers used those types of game as inspiration makes me definitely want to try this game out. Hopefully it's released in the Xbox Live Arcade

Avatar image for wholehoggames
wholehoggames

@andfx8 I (Casey) cut my teeth on console development so the game is set up to be portable- it's just a matter of getting someone at Microsoft interested.

We're all big fans of Super Metroid and SOTN. We'd like to think that we're doing something interesting with the exploration mechanics those games pioneered.

Avatar image for andfx8
andfx8

@wholehoggames Awesome, thanks for the reply! I hope your hard work is rewarded, I look forward to playing this title one way or another

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WilliamChase

that looks fun.

_________________________________________________

Battlefield Invisible Jet Glitch

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The_Last_Paladi

Looks fun

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snugglebear

This is perhaps my favorite swine-related game ever.

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turdfurguison

@snugglebear ever play pass the pigs?

Avatar image for snugglebear
snugglebear

@turdfurguison @snugglebear I haven't but I've seen it around. Pigs as dice = genius.

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shadow131990

Looks great

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ReadingRainbow4

wow this looks awesome.

Avatar image for NinDreamcastU
NinDreamcastU

It's a shame that Nintendo's relatively few core franchises like Metroid are dead in favor of more pathetic Mario milking...

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snugglebear

@NinDreamcastU Super Metorid is still my all time favorite game.

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fluffy_kins

@NinDreamcastU seriously. I wish Nintendo would sell the Metroid license to someone so I can just be done with them.

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andfx8

@fluffy_kins @NinDreamcastU sell it to someone who would do the franchise justice? that might be tough to find

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@NinDreamcastU

Metroid actually isn't popular in japan , believe it or not.

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t0a5t3r

How dare you use metroid in the title of this article! Sacrilege. =)

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@t0a5t3r

Metroidvania.

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HiroArka

@faizanhd @t0a5t3r BaconVania


Avatar image for deactivated-57a0339f7c6b9

this looks pretty sweet.

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Super_Tramp

@CItizenTaylor it actually does look pretty fun.

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StonerDemon

Actually, this is the second time a KI photo is on a totally different article. Last week the same happened.

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bankai_456

so the boar is a playable character in killer instinct?

Avatar image for Rotondi
Rotondi

looks decent, reminds me of Knytt Underground

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Leboyo56

@Rotondi Knytt Underground is quite a bit different than what this is looking to be.

Avatar image for brainiac1988
brainiac1988

Hmm,

Full Bore is the name of the soundtrack that is played during the Fullgore stage in Killer Instinct (SNES).

Go to youtube and search: Full Bore Killer Instinct. Its still awesome today :)

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