Hey there, all you beautiful potential test subjects!
Steve here, Creative Director at Pixel Maniacs – I’m super excited to announce our debut title is finally making its way onto PlayStation! [Cue applause sound]
Players have been loving ChromaGun, calling it “Portal, but with colors instead”, “perfect, for the time you’re waiting for the next Portal”, and “the closest thing we’ll ever get to a Portal sequel”. If you’ve read along carefully, you might have noticed the mention of Portal once or twice, but more on that later.
ChromaGun is a first-person puzzler about colors. Use your gun (guess what it’s called), to colorize droids and walls. Droids are attracted by walls of the same color, and by cleverly utilizing this mechanic, you’ll try to solve all sorts of puzzles to make it to the exit. The ChromaGun can only shoot red, yellow, and blue – but don’t worry, we have you covered. Shoot a previously colored wall or droid, to mix colors into orange, purple, and green. Be wary of gray, though. Since it’s technically not a color, it loses all its attraction properties, the rascal!
Now that you know what ChromaGun is, let’s talk about PS4 – and what we did to make ChromaGun a special experience on it. When we started developing the PlayStation version, we completely revamped the graphics and lighting, redid all the sound effects, pumped up the models and textures, and did some more things to some other stuff. What was most fun, however, were the little things we added for the PS4-version. Things like controller vibration, just make the game feel much more immersive. DualShock 4 speaker helps bring immersive sound to the game, and the light bar gives the player immediate feedback on their current ammo type (remember how ammo in ChromaGun is paint?). This works especially well with the new DualShock 4, with its streak of light on the touchpad, allowing us to extend our HUD outside the game. Sexy!
Why, now, does ChromaGun look so familiar, and why was the word “Portal” mentioned so often earlier? As it turns out, when you make a first-person shooter, in which you use an experimental type of gun to solve chamber-based puzzles, while a snarky narrator gives you crap about your progress, people draw comparisons. Who knew? And they’re not even wrong! On first sight, ChromaGun looks remarkably similar to Valve’s cult hit. There’s the narrator, the clean lab-like environment, the non-gun gun, and a bunch of other jabs to the game that defined a genre… heck, we even have cake! (or do we?)
Despite all its similarities, from a gameplay-perspective, ChromaGun is as far from Portal as any other puzzle game. For one, and we cannot stress this point enough, there are no Portals. ChromaGun doesn’t require the player to get inter-dimensionally funky with space-time. Its color-based puzzles are far less of a spatial nature – they rely more on the player’s capacity of algorithmic thinking – along with an understanding of subtractive color mixing. It’s more about guiding the droids through the test chambers, than traversing them oneself.
Let’s take a step back for a second, to when we first had the idea for ChromaGun. It was a cool, warmish winter day in summer, during a game jam known as Ludum Dare. ChromaGun was on its way to becoming a top-down twin-stick puzzle shooter. Just for fun, we gave first-person view a try. That was when we realized, our game could have a lot in common with Portal – so, we decided to go with it. Back then, ChromaGun was just a series of unconnected levels in outer space, featured a colorfully glowing space-shotgun, and the enemies were weirdly sentient alien paint blobs. We gave ChromaGun its Portal-esque vibe for a number of reasons. The obvious one is, because we love it (duh). But we also wanted to recreate that feeling of playing Portal for the first time, and bring back just a little of that magic.
Hopefully, I was able to give you some insight into what made ChromaGun the game it is today, and answer a few of your questions. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, don’t hesitate to ask! Finally, now that you’ve made it this far into the article, data suggests you’re either getting ready to get ChromaGun for PS4, or write a really nasty comment in the comments section. In either case, I hope you’ll enjoy it.
– With love from all the Pixel Maniacs