The Story of Skorecery

One of our clients, GrappleHook Games, has just revealed that their latest game Skorecery has been accepted into the Boston Festival of Indie Games’ Digital Showcase. While they deserve a big congratulations (which you can give them on their Facebook page), it should be said that success doesn’t come easily, and there is still a long road ahead!

GrappleHook Games Logo

A few years ago, GrappleHook Games created their award-winning arcade game, SquadHero: Revolver, where the player cleverly uses a Guitar Hero controller to shift colored ships to align with corresponding targets. The game received universal praise from classmates, colleagues, and industry professionals, winning the Pupil Perfection award at the 2013 Boston Festival of Indie Games, Best Overall Game at Northeastern Game Demo Day, and Most Innovative Game at Northeastern Game Demo Day. Riding on the momentum, they begun development on Buzz Breakers (which would eventually become Skorecery) with the help of Pilone Consulting’s current Director of Operations, Chris Germano.

What's all the buzz?

The three worked tirelessly to design an exciting, innovative, but accessible local multiplayer game. The original prototypes were well received and the team was strongly encouraged to continue development, as initial versions only featured a single map, 1v1 gameplay, and limited player mechanics. Over the coming months, mechanics were changed and refined (custom physics, controls), features were added (gravity flipping, real-time stance swapping), and the controls were fine-tuned to feel fast and responsive. At this point, all game assets were basic 3D shapes, which was helpful for clarity during gameplay but made it harder for players and audiences to get excited since the lack of any real identity made it hard to build any sort of emotional connection with the in-game “characters”. This was the first major pivot, where the team embraced simplicity and eliminated many superfluous features, like “stance switching”, where a player could trade abilities and stats in real time to adapt to and modify the pace of the match.

Crater Kings Gameplay

King of the Crater

Eventually, Buzz Breakers went to space: the rectangles were replaced with moon rocks, the players were replaced with capsule-shaped astronauts (there wasn’t an experienced artist on the team yet), the playing field was given a retro-futuristic mining atmosphere, and the main menu was styled up to be entertaining and memorable. Building on the initial audience gained from demoing Buzz Breakers around the Greater Boston Area, it was easy to draw in a crowd when Crater Kings was an official sponsor of the 2015 Boston Festival of Indie Games. At this point, Crater Kings amassed a noteworthy following, but the state of popular indie games (Hokra, Videoball, Rocket League) put the team in a tough spot. Simple mechanics and a space theme wasn’t going to stand out any more, and a serious redesign had to take place.

Skorecery Gameplay

After a lot of planning, refinement, and technical work from the GrappleHook Games team, Skorecery was born. Artists and musicians were added to the team to give the game an amazing new look and feel, and Pilone Consulting returned to manage digital marketing and audience building. Why go with anyone else when your marketing team helped design and build the game in the first place?

Still, there’s a lot of work to do, as we plan on getting Skorecery to Steam without cutting corners or abandoning an unfinished project. We’re extremely proud and excited that Skorecery is receiving the praise it deserves, and we’re not going to stop until we think it’s the best game it can be. We’re looking forward to seeing you at the 2016 Boston Festival of Indie Games on Saturday, September 10 at the MIT Johnson Athletic Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts!

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