Derek Yu says a tiny bit about Spelunky 2

Spelunky2_header

I have a terrible memory, which is sometimes an asset. It means that every now and then I get to experience a jolt of joy when I remember that Spelunky 2 is a thing – a thing that I’ve little doubt will take over my life in the same way that both the original freeware and the remaster did. If you somehow haven’t played Spelunky, you should know that it’s a 2D platformer that sits atop the throne of systems-driven roguelikes, capable of spinning story after story from parts that click together in masterful ways. You should also know that I envy you deeply, because I’d give up a lot to play Spelunky for the first time again.

Except I just remembered, I sort of can! Spelunky 2 was announced at last year’s Paris Games Week, with a trailer that gave away very little. So little, in fact, that any murmurings from lead developer Derek Yu on the subject count as news in my book. He recently murmured all over the Tone Control podcast with Fullbright’s Steve Gaynor, and said a little about how becoming a father has shaped development.

I found out about Yu’s appearance on Tone Control via this Reddit post. I haven’t had a chance to listen to all of it yet, so I’ll quote you some of the sections pointed out there.

First up, here’s Yu comparing Spelunky 2 to the way Super Mario Bros handled its sequels:

“Spelunky 1 is totally done. It feels to me like a complete package… I think about it kind of like Super Mario Brothers 1. People say to me ‘Oh, Spelunky feels to me like perfect game’, and I understand what they mean. I think a game like Super Mario Bros is perfect, and you don’t want Nintendo to just keep adding to it. You don’t just want them to make Super Mario Bros one, you want them to make Super Mario Bros 2 and 3 and all the way to Odyssey, right? I think it’s the same thing with Spelunky 1. I do feel like it’s perfect with all its imperfections, and with Spelunky 2, I want to extend upon the Spelunky world and upon all the mechanics in ways that I don’t think I’ve seen before, and that fit more uniquely within Spelunky.”

Which all makes sense, and doesn’t tell us anything we wouldn’t expect anyway. Here’s a little more along those lines:

“With Spelunky on Xbox, we had the freeware version as our blueprint. So I could be like, ‘Is it going to be like the freeware version in this aspect? Let’s do this, like from the freeware version, but let’s change it a little like this. Let’s add this to the game – it’s going to fit in with the rest of the game in this way, and then pointing at the freeware version for that, too’.

“And it’s very similar to Spelunky 2 where we have Spelunky 1, and where a lot of the times, I can be like, ‘This part of Spelunky 1 I would like to extend, or this part I would like to replace with this’. It’s a lot of figuring out what makes Spelunky really Spelunky. What’s the core that we really want to pull out.”

When asked about how the trailer suggests the protagonist is going to be the daughter of the main character from the first game, Yu had this to say:

“It’s strongly implied, and people know I’ve talked about my family life a little bit, being a dad, and how inspirational it’s been…and that’s been a big influence. Obviously my daughter has been just a big inspiration on me creatively, and it makes so much sense in that Spelunky 2 being a sequel to Spelunky 1, and then coming after I became a dad, which was inbetween Spelunky 1 and Spelunky 2…that would be a big theme and inspiration to me.”

Aaaaand here’s one more snippet, which again features nothing particularly juicy news-wise. It’s still interesting to hear Yu’s thoughts on his own work, mind.

“I think the whole kind of cyclical nature of the game…I’m not religious myself, but that kind of feeling of struggling through something and starting over, it has sort of mirrored the way I feel with my life developing these games one after another and slowly building up my understanding and my knowledge and my mastery of my craft. I think Spelunky is a lot about that.

“But it’s not as overt as putting Spelunky Guy’s daughter in Spelunky 2, right? There are themes that I think are pretty obvious from the trailer – family and friendship and things like that – that mean a lot to everybody but have also meant a lot to me in terms of my career as well. Just meeting friends along the way, other game developers and people I’ve worked with, and now starting a family and trying to be a game developer in that context also. And thinking about my daughter as (part of) a new generation of people and thinking about what she’s going to do with her life. Things like that.”

So – what do family and friendship mean in the context of Spelunky, a game where the two most personal interactions are giving a dude some money to dig a tunnel and letting a pug lick your face? Which are the systems Yu is thinking of replacing? And will we get to go to the Moon, as hinted at by its prominence in the title art?

There are no answers just yet, nor any word of a release date. Maybe Yu will let something slip during E3.

16 Comments

  1. ZenArcade says:

    I’m excited to play something that isn’t just another Spelunky game with more bits and bobs to fool around with, by the sounds of it he’s really giving a lot of thought to making each game feel unique on it’s own and not just an iteration on what came before. The comparisons to the Mario games kinda confirm that, I think.

    In any case, I think it’ll be interesting, even if it isn’t very successful.

  2. Eraysor says:

    I feel like I must be the only person to bounce off Spelunky. I really want to love it but I’ve never managed to get into it.

    • fuggles says:

      Nope, tried it and didn’t get on. You really have to want to dedicate yourself to one frustrating game at the expense of playing the thousands of others you would immediately enjoy more.

      I have the same problems with necrodancer. My game time is so sporadic I learn nothing and get nowhere.

      • robottocks says:

        >You really have to want to dedicate yourself to one frustrating game at the expense of playing the thousands of others you would immediately enjoy more.

        Disagree. For me, and a lot of other players, the game was immediately enjoyable. Spelunky is as close to a perfect game as I’ve ever played.

        • fuggles says:

          Which is great for you but I don’t have time/patience for a system driven game in which I forget everything between sessions.

          • April March says:

            Hey, that’s OK – people are different. But you assume people who like it liked it because they were able to master it. Not my case – I like it because I enjoy exploring its systems, even if it results in me dying horribly.

          • fuggles says:

            Fair enough – I sit corrected and hope you have many happy and successful spelunks.

            Oh snap… It’s spelunkbat! The new game is a battle royale.

          • ThePuzzler says:

            Spelunky was the game I decided to force myself to play. I tend to play a lot of RPGs and strategy games which give you the illusion of competence by increasing your stats. I wanted to see if I could actually master something difficult. I forced myself to keep playing even when I got frustrated over a tiny error causing me to die instantly and lose all my progress (again and again and again…)

            I completed it in the end, using the hard-to-create shortcuts, rather than playing it from the start, and looking up the final boss on the internet. Then I immediately stopped playing it.

            As an experience it was… OK. I think I’d have liked it better if it had been easier.

  3. MortyDice says:

    So – what do family and friendship mean in the context of Spelunky, a game where the two most personal interactions are giving a dude some money to dig a tunnel and letting a pug lick your face? Which are the systems Yu is thinking of replacing? And will we get to go to the Moon, as hinted at by its prominence in the title art?

    Didn’t you try multiplayer either local or online via Frozlunky?

    • Neurotic says:

      Multiplayer Spelunky is less about family and friendship, and more about the wholesale slaughter of family and friends. :D

      • MortyDice says:

        I totally confirm your views on multiplayer! But when two people start getting good at the game, some runs are just great. (Haven’t made it to hell with a fellow man yet though)

  4. RobbieTrout says:

    Excited about this! I’ve played SO MUCH Spelunky. I’m crap at it, mind you — have never completed it — but love it just the same.

  5. Crusoe says:

    I hope it’ll be possible for people to make texture packs. I really liked the freeware version but felt the remake or whatever the correct title is had the most inappropriate cutesy feeling and look, something I tried but failed to push past.

    It’s permadeath in a hostile cave, me personally, I don’t want to feel like I’m watching a kids cartoon.

    I’m aware this is an unpopular opinion though, which is why I’m hoping it’ll be moddable.

    • gmx0 says:

      I totally agree with this. It’s one reason I have not played the new one yet, and just stuck with the freeware version.

    • arexsvn says:

      Completely agree, really had trouble enjoying the new ones because of this. I’m a big pixel art fan which is part of it, but I think games like “Escape Goat 2” did a fine job switching to a high-res art style while still keeping the same feel.

  6. klops says:

    Spelunky was one of the games that was so good I had to stop playing it. It was too addictive. Won’t touch this one.

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