This week we talk to The Dangerous Kitchen, creators of the recently released one-button smash-a-thon, De Mambo, about all things Nintendo, VR and the rigours of being an independent developer. Enjoy!
Four player local multiplayer is the main mode of play in De Mambo, but we’ve really worked on our Solo mode, refusing to just make a single-player mode for the sake of it; it could almost be its own game with the amount of stuff we’ve packed in.
What inspired you and your team during the development stage?
This is always a tough question for us, as we are highly inspired by the day to day random moments that just so happen to occur near us, like a teabag in a toilet, or an old man vehemently obsessed with stealing our seats for who knows what reason, but I digress.
Smash is the obvious inspiration for De Mambo, but there are so many more such as; Mario, Wonderful 101, Earthbound, Suda51, Orson Welles, Jodorowsky, Frank Zappa, Mortal Kombat, Space Dandy — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Can you tell us about your team at The Dangerous Kitchen?
The Dangerous Kitchen is comprised of three people, who met at university, casually decided to make games and then tripped up so much that they eventually landed in the peculiar position of having actually made a game. That’s our origin story movie pitch, but to answer your question in a more typical fashion, we’re based in West London and sometimes work from a hotel lobby. Previous experience includes, advertising, concept art, web design and most importantly, lots of game playing.
How difficult is it for indie developers in this current market? Can you take artistic risks and still make a profit? Are shows like Rezzed beneficial in helping you find an audience?
Well personally I don’t think artistic risks and profit are mutually exclusive or necessarily in correlation. If you want to make a true artistic risk it can’t be because of how much you’ll profit, otherwise it becomes a business decision. A true artistic risk has to be done with no desire to succeed and no fear of failure in an ego-less vacuum where imagination is unbound. Money has no place there.
"A true artistic risk has to be done with no desire to succeed and no fear of failure in an ego-less vacuum where imagination is unbound..."
I personally hold the idea that being indie doesn’t mean you are lesser than say EA or whatever. We’re both making games. In fact we’ve got it better than them when you think about it. Being in a team of three means that business, games development, art, sound, social media, all of these are shared responsibilities that we all have a say in. I’ve learned about all of these in my team of three which is more than a guy in a team of 700 would have working exclusively on ceiling textures, right? So what I’m trying to say is that it’s going to be difficult for anyone in a crowded market, so you have to just focus on making the best game you can make, regardless if it’s indie or not.
And yeah events are great as you can forge some great bonds with all the people you meet. Some of the fans we’ve amassed during events really helped us out when we did our Kickstarter as an example.
What advice would you give to someone looking to work in the video gaming industry?
Use what you have and just do it. Have fun and try not to focus entirely on things that other people do and have done, focus on you and only on what you or your team can possibly create. There’s no point in doing what others will do, well unless you want money in which case ignore what I say, but I’m not saying this to sound pretentious. I just want to see new and interesting things done in gaming, so I’m counting on you hypothetical reader!
Where do you think the industry is heading - is VR the future in your opinion?
The potential for VR is crazy, but I’ve abstained from actually trying it out yet as there is no software I feel I absolutely need to experience. I was actually really interested beforehand to see what kind of impact it would have on the industry, but after PSVR it seems like nothing much has happened.
I think at present we are in uncharted territory, as this is the first time we’ve had mid-generation console updates and a true handheld/console hybrid, so it’s difficult to say. If the Switch is super popular, will Sony and Microsoft attempt a similar concept? Or will the industry shift to become more phone-like with consoles having incremental updates every so often? I think there’s no clear picture of where the industry is heading at this current time, but later in the year it should become clearer. Lets just hope someone invents Smellovision™ soon so we can really move the industry forward into the future it so desperately needs.
What game(s) have had the biggest effect on your life, and why?
Earthbound changed me. It’s hard to explain why but there’s something truly special about it. I have more nostalgia for that game than things from my own childhood, which is crazy considering I played it in 2013.
Then there’s No More Heroes. I love Suda51. Love. NMH was fantastic because it introduced me to a lot of interesting media and my personal spiritual father, Alejandro Jodorowsky, but also taught me a lot about the power of imagination.
There’s countless other games such as pretty much every Mario and a lot of Zelda and Metroid and Nintendo stuff, and more obscure stuff but if I keep going, I’ll never stop!
What does the future hold for De Mambo & The Dangerous Kitchen?
After we finish De Mambo Switch, we’re going to create some more content for updates and work on the PlayStation and Steam versions. Once that’s over, hopefully lots of pizza! That’s why we’re doing this. De Mambo was made to fund our insane pizza lust. All joking aside, The Dangerous Kitchen’s future is to continue making gameplay focused games that delight and stupefy in equal measures.
If you were on a desert island (it has power) and could only take one console, what would you take, and why?
Very tough question, but it boils down to two options. The Wii U has Smash Bros 4, its own library, the virtual console and the Wii backwards compatibility, so I’ll be sufficiently stuffed with great games. The other option is purely based on how I feel right now at this very moment… the Switch with Breath of the Wild.
Thanks to Lucy and Shaun from The Dangerous Kitchen for taking the time out of their hectic schedules to talk to us. The Nintendo Switch version of De Mambo is available now.