Interview with Senile Team: rage and beatings ensue

I got a chance to sit down on Friday with two guys, Roel and Jeroen from Senile Team, the creators of Beats of Rage and the upcoming Age of the Beast. Beats of Rage is a popular tribute to the Streets of Rage series made by Sega, and these guys figured that they could make a better sequel to the series than what Sega had been putting out. Their little project has skyrocketed, and become a hit, with the game being open to modders everywhere. There are even downloads for playing the game on PS2, Dreamcast, Xbox, and PSP.

The interview is after the jump, but you can check out all the downloads here at Senile Team’s website, or go check out some of the mods for the game at BORGeneration

DickMcVengeance: So first off, care to explain what Beats of Rage is for our readers?
Roel: Beats or Rage is the ultimate tribute to Streets of Rage!
DickMcVengeance: So, why’d you decide to make this tribute to Streets of Rage?
Roel: Because someone had to. Streets of Rage is an awesome series, but Sega left it to rot.
Jeroen: But you should know that we just made it for fun. We never thought that more than 10 people would ever play it
Roel: Yeah, who would ever download a DOS game this day and age…
DickMcVengeance: Well, now that Macs have BootCamp, they can finally catch up on all the wonderful DOS games they missed out on.
Roel: but ofcourse the real downloading frenzy started when Neill Corlett ported it to ps2 and Dc
DickMcVengeance: I saw all those ports. Why did this come about?
Jeroen: well actually we just got an email from Neill saying that he had ported it to PS2 and was currently working on a DC conversion. Because these ports became so popular other people started to make ports for other systems
DickMcVengeance: For the PS2 and DC ports and all, you’ll need a mod chip for the system, right?
Jeroen: Only for the PS2. The DC can be played without modifications
Roel: The Xbox version requires a mod chip or soft mod, too. But for DC, GP32 and many other systems, no chipping is required.
DickMcVengeance: So, how much effort went into making this game? Was it difficult to recreate the old 2D sidescrollers?
Roel: Since the sprites were grabbed from King Of Fighters, the graphics part wasn’t too difficult. It was a walk in the park. *laughs*
DickMcVengeance: The gaming engine was already built?
Roel: No, seriously, it took some effort. But it was fun to do. The gaming engine is a custom job by yours truly. No prefab! The real deal!
DickMcVengeance: Nice. Do you have an education in game programming, or was it something done by teaching it to yourself?
Roel: I’m completely self-taught. I did study programming for a year or so, but I felt they weren’t teaching me much. I should’ve been teaching them, that would’ve made more sense.
DickMcVengeance: How long did the game end up taking to make?
Jeroen: All in all, it took some 9 months to complete. Of course the work only toke place during the weekends. I thought it seemed to take much shorter time, though…
DickMcVengeance: And now that you’ve got Beats of Rage done, tell us a little about your new project, Age of the Beast.
Roel: Age of the Beast is going to smash Beats of Rage to a bloody pulp!
Jeroen: unfortunately because now all graphics will be originally made, it takes a hell of long time to make.
DickMcVengeance: It’s going to be another beat-em-up?
Roel: Here’s the abridged storyline, the way I see it: “Evildoers are running amok! Smash them!” It’s in the same genre, but better in every way.
DickMcVengeance: Howso?
Roel: More moves, more animations, better graphics, more advanced gameplay…
Jeroen: bigger, better, badder.
Roel: But it’s not just more of everything. Too many sequels are like that. We try to put some thought in the gameplay before all else. It has to be addictive, and I feel we’re nailing that down. BoR seems very dull after playing AotB for a while.
DickMcVengeance: Haha, well that means you’ve given it a lot of improvement.
Roel: I like to think so.
DickMcVengeance: Have you guys considered distributing your games via Xbox Live, Playstation Store, or the Virtual Console in the future?
Roel: We’re aware of the concept, but we haven’t decided anything yet.
Jeroen: also, you need to have a distribution company/intermediate that’s interested. You can’t just go to micro$oft directly
DickMcVengeance: Well, the PS3 is offering homebrew, and there’s XNA, the homebrew kit for Xbox Live coming out.
Jeroen: ps3 insn’t out yet so the details are foggy. and XNA is still in beta right?
DickMcVengeance: Yeah, as far as I know. So, since you’re all fans of beat-em-ups, what are your thoughts about God Hand?

Jeroen: haven’t played it. But I heard it was quite funny, so I’m thinking about getting it.
DickMcVengeance: It’s probably one of the most difficult beat-em-ups that I’ve ever played, but it’s definitely worth it.
Jeroen: but all other beat’em up type games from the last few years sucked quite badly.
DickMcVengeance: By those games, do you mean the hack and slashes, like 99 nights and dynasty warriors, or something else?
Roel: That’s what he was talking about, yes.
DickMcVengeance: Well, thankfully God Hand is a lot more similar to Beats of Rage than those other games.
Roel: I’ll certainly give it a try then. Guilty Gear Isuka’s sor-type mode sucked the big one.
DickMcVengeance: Oh god yes, I hate that. It was a nice try, and could’ve done well, but they screwed it up so badly.
Roel: It’s hard to imagine what they could’ve been thinking when they decided to use a button to turn around…
DickMcVengeance: They’ve got a new one for the PSP I believe that’s just the side scrolling mode.
Roel: Age of the Beast will crush that one, too. 😛 

DickMcVengeance: With the OpenBOR engine, how many mods for Beats of Rage have you gotten?
Roel: More than I care to remember.
Jeroen: about 2.7 GB woth of mods.
DickMcVengeance: Were any of them good?
Jeroen: Yeah Mr Q’s mods were rather good actually
Roel: I enjoyed his Final Fight mods quite a lot.
DickMcVengeance: How can people get a hold of his mods?
Roel: BOR Revolution is a good place to get mods. You’ll find a link on our site
DickMcVengeance: Will Age of the Beast be open to modding as well?
Roel: Yep. Very much so.
DickMcVengeance: Any idea how many copies of Beats of Rage have been downloaded by now?
Roel: Er… 2,500,000? I can only guess…
Jeron: well at least more than a million
DickMcVengeance: Well, nonetheless, it’s impressive. I’m sure Age of the Beast will be even more popular.
Roel: I hope so. Contrary to BoR, AotB is programmed with modding in mind.
Jeroen: but it hasn’t got popular KOF characters in it, so maybe people won’t take notice. We’ll just have to wait and see
DickMcVengeance: How big is the gaming scene in the Netherlands?
Jeroen: About this high *points, even though we’re talking via Skype* Well, gaming is reasonably big, but the general opinion is still gaming=geeky. So not so big as in some other countries. Still, all our friends are geeks, so it works out quite well.
Roel:I don’t think people see gaming as geeky anymore. At least not as much as they did ten years ago.
Well, that’s about it for my questions. Do you have anything you want to say to the Destructoid audience?
Roel: Yes! Look out for a small surprise from Senile Team around new year!(Not Age of the Beast)

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