A cartoon studio tries game design and BLUD is the result
I am a sucker for some slick animation, and vampire-slaying action adventure #BLUD looks a treat. It’s a cartoon Buffy-inspired Zelda-ish thingy by Exit 73 Studios, a small team known almost exclusively for their 2D animation work, much of it for TV. They’ve been streaming production of the game (and its huge amount of art) on Twitch for a while now, and today released a proper trailer, showing off the game in motion. While I’m curious what impact its deliciously drawn-out animations will have on its action, it’s a treat to look at. See for yourself below.
#BLUD really does look like an interactive cartoon. While obviously adhering to videogame rules, I’m surprised at how little it breaks character. Every animation is full of expressive squishes and stretches and exaggerated motion. It gives protagonist Becky Belmont (well, that explains the vampire hunting) a real sense of weight and power despite being a tiny bobble-headed, bright pink sprite. My only worry is that by giving the animations so much time to breathe, the combat won’t be as snappy and responsive as some would like.
And here’s an earlier teaser trailer, giving us a closer look at Becky and her nightly routine.
Exit 73 have done some game-adjacent work before, producing cutscenes for the charming OK K.O! Let’s Play Heroes, and animation for the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital mobile app, but this is their first foray into first-hand game development. I’m curious to see what an experienced studio from a completely different field brings to the table. They’ve apparently demoed an earlier version of the game at MAGFest and earned a few fans there, so I’m eager to see what they’ve got lined up next.
There’s no release date for #BLUD yet, beyond ‘coming soon’, or even platforms announced. You can follow its development on the Exit 73 Twitter feed here, and their Twitch channel, which includes some of their recorded art-stream sessions. You can also see some character bios on the game’s official page here. In the meantime, you can check out Exit 73’s animation portfolio, which includes everything from kids TV to the sweary, gory, dumb-as-rocks short Flex Calibur.