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Reintroducing the all-new Shu, the tweaked platformer for PS4 & PS Vita

Developer Coatsink talks its changes to the game

Shu is a 2.5D platformer that blends adorable 2D hand-drawn characters with vivid 3D environments. As our plucky protagonist Shu, players will run, jump, glide and use special abilities gained by saving villagers, as they try to outrun an apocalyptic storm hell-bent on consuming the world.

Shu

Game development is a very iterative process and with Shu this rang especially true. We had ideas that sounded great on paper but didn’t quite work when brought into an emergent interactive space. This led to us overhauling parts of the game during development. Shu was initially slated for release in 2015, but late last year we reviewed our progress and decided we could do better. That meant development was lengthened, but resulted in a game that we’re much happier with.

Some of the major revisions include; the storm (appearance and behaviour), level structures (to suit the renewed focus on speedrunning), and how some of the villager powers worked. We also added new features, such as time trials and leaderboards.

We’ve said before that Shu is inspired by the likes of Rayman, Klonoa, Donkey Kong Country and Sonic (to name a few) and despite the tweaks, this is still very much true. We have multiple environments, all of which have their own distinct style and villager pairing, providing you with new abilities and more gameplay variation. The art has also been overhauled, making each level feel that bit more immersive and alive.

Shu

One major gameplay change is with character deaths. As we’ve said, along Shu’s journey you save villagers, each of which grants you a new ability. Originally these characters also acted as extra lives: if the storm caught up to Shu it would grab one of the characters and eat them. This would grant the player extra time to escape, but deduct that character’s ability from the gameplay thereon.

We loved how bittersweet this idea was, but in practice we found it created a whole host of problems. Chiefly, it meant designing multiple paths through each level. You would think variation in this regard would be a bonus, but in practice it meant players could be punished with a duller route than those who managed to keep all of the villagers alive. We’re confident that removing this punishing mechanic has resulted in a more enjoyable experience.

We didn’t just remove features however, we added plenty too. When exhibiting Shu demos at events, we noticed that players were particularly enjoying the time trial competitions we were setting up. This led us doubling our focus on speedrunning, tweaking the gameplay, achievements and leaderboards to make the most of this aspect. We hope that this competitive element will give you another layer of enjoyment. We are keen to see who makes it to the top of the boards!

Comparing the old trailer with the new one shows just how much the game has changed since its original conception:

Here’s the older version of the game…

…versus the new.

Support for Vita is something that we feel very strongly about, and we have been working hard to provide a comparable experience on both platforms. Shu feels right at home on the handheld and is a great experience, especially since it’s running at 60 FPS. To show our commitment to bringing Shu to Vita we have developed some exclusive content that will only be available on the handheld. Shu will also feature a platinum trophy on both Vita and PS4, and yes, it will be Cross-Buy enabled!

We’re confident the delayed release has allowed us to improve the game a great deal. We’ve ironed out a lot of kinks while also improving the overall flow and visual style of the game, resulting in an experience that we’ll be proud to share with you soon.

You can pick up our hand-drawn, lovingly crafted game digitally from 4th October 2016 on PS4, with a PS Vita launch following in Q4 2016. Pick it up on PS4 first, and you’ll get it free on Vita when it launches.

11 Comments
3 Author replies

Looks like a great game and love how strongly you seem to support the Vita! It’s a great platform that games like this should do great on :) look forward to playing it. Oh and a platinum trophy is always a good idea for any game! :)

Couple of questions:
1) Will it be playable at EGX?
2) Is there even a remote chance that the Vita version will be cancelled, been burned by this quite a bit!?

if I knew for certain the vita version was coming (and wasn’t going to get cancelled like a few recent gems) I’d buy day one.

Jonathon Wilson 16 September, 2016 @ 12:57
1.2

Hey there!

To answer your questions:

1) Yes it will be playable at EGX! You will be able to find Shu in the Rezzed and Tentacle zones. We will possibly even bring along a Vita demo.
2) No chance. We have been fully committed to bringing to Shu to the Vita! Expect it soon.

Thanks!

Fantastic news! Can’t wait to pick this up on Vita :)

Looks great and will be on my Vita “must buy” list :-)

This looks and sounds right up my street. Cross Save as well as Cross Buy? Also as the game sounds that good any chance of working with Limited Run and getting a cartridge made? Appreciate the support for Vita as I’m more likely to play this there than on my PS4.

Jonathon Wilson 16 September, 2016 @ 12:59
4.1

Hey there flatspikes.

Though it will support Cross Buy, unfortunately Shu won’t support Cross Save due to technical reasons. We are hoping a unique feature we have given to the Vita version will make up for that. As for LR, we have nothing to announce but it’s not something we would rule out.

Thanks for your support!

It’s look like Rayman, which i love.

Jonathon Wilson 16 September, 2016 @ 13:00
5.1

Thank you, Rayman was certainly an inspiration, along with other classic platformers.

looks great – looking forward to the Vita release.

Gret news for my Vita!

Gotta love some nice and simple jump n’ run games sometimes. :D Also, this looks perfect to play in my PS Vita, thank you for supporting the console!

Carnivius_Prime 16 September, 2016 @ 13:02
9

VITA! :)

I will likely buy this and enjoy having it on both my fave home console and my fave handheld console. :)

Looking forward to playing this on my beloved handheld. I hope there are no delays as I have been burned before. That said, you sound committed to the vita. If there is a plus discount i will get it day one for the ps4, otherwise i will wait for the vita version.

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