Ahead of E3 2021, I had the opportunity to sit down with Victor Burgos, founder and Creative Director of Burgos Games. We took some time to talk about the indie studio’s upcoming puzzle-platformer, Neko Ghost, Jump!.
Neko Ghost, Jump! is an adorable tale of adventure and revenge. After Space Dog Pirates invade his world and abduct his crush, as well as all his friends, Nekoman embarks on a quest to save them. The game’s various worlds will test a player’s platforming and puzzle-solving skills. But don’t let the cute graphics fool you, Neko Ghost, Jump! has a few tricks up its sleeve.
After all, it takes more than a pretty face to be named one of IndieDB’s Top 100 and to receive an Epic MegaGrant.
Yet my first question was actually related to the game’s look. I had to know how Burgos, a former United States Marine, settled on colourful graphics and a cat protagonist. “It’s funny,” he chuckled. “I worked with highly realistic games and military simulations in the past, but you get a little bored, sometimes, doing those high-fidelity graphics and simulations.”
For his studio’s first game, he wanted to do something different. “I wanted to create something aesthetically pleasing, something that would resonate with as wide an audience as possible.” And as an independent developer, it made a lot of sense to pursue the game’s current style, especially given that intensive graphics come at a massive cost, both in time and money.
Of course, games need gameplay, and that’s where Neko Ghost, Jump! intends to shine. Remember when I wrote that it had a few tricks up its sleeve? Here’s the first one. The game allows you to seamlessly switch between 2D sidescrolling and 3D. Both perspectives have their uses and players will have to switch between them in order to progress through levels, find secrets, and defeat enemies.
The 2D-3D mechanic led to the game being compared to Super Paper Mario. Let’s be honest, that’s not bad at all.
And yet the inspiration for Neko Ghost, Jump!‘s mechanics came naturally.
“It started out as an Epic Games game jam submission that I did back in May 2019. The theme was ‘Other Side of The Coin’. I was thinking of things that are similar, but opposite to each other,” he explained. The idea of letting players switch between perspectives quickly dawned on him.
“There was no other inspiration than the game jam theme, but as time went on and people compared us to other games, we took a look at them to see what they did right and what they did wrong.”
Clearly, Burgos is doing something right. Neko Ghost, Jump!‘s Kickstarter campaign drew in 473 backers and amassed a little over $20,000, $5,000 more than the campaign’s goal. In 2020, DreamHack’s Indie Playground named it the best casual game of the show.
There’s more to Neko Ghost, Jump! as well. Nekoman, the protagonist, can enter a ghost form. This form allows him to attack enemies, but it also lets players search for loot hidden within the ghost world. The game will also feature customization options which can be purchased using the coins you collect in each level. And for players with a competitive mindset, every level features a timer connected to cross-platform leaderboards. Simply put, you’ll be able to compete against other players for the honours of having the best times for each level.
Despite all the success so far, it hasn’t been an easy road. Burgos Games is essentially a one man show and while Victor is supported by a team of remote contributors, there is always pressure to make sure the game is at its best for release.
“This game is my baby,” Burgos said. “I don’t want to release it broken or in a poor state. I want it to be in an enjoyable state for everyone.” When I asked how people could support the game’s development until its release, Burgos replied, “The best thing people can do is wishlist the game on Steam and the Epic Games Store.”
So, when is the game coming out and on what platforms? Burgos told me that the studio is aiming for release in 2021. Neko Ghost, Jump! will be available on all platforms, but the release will be staggered. In other words, the game will launch on PC first, and console releases will follow afterwards. As of the interview, the targeted consoles are Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch. Android and Atari VCS versions are also planned.
Burgos Games has a booth at E3, so be sure to stop by to see more.
Find Out More About Neko Ghost, Jump!
Visit the game’s official website.
Follow the game on Twitter.
Check it out on YouTube.
Follow Burgos Games on Twitter.
Check out the game’s latest trailer: