INTERVIEW: Jason Kapalka
– By Steven Hickey
Last weekend saw the release of Blue Wizard Digital’s fantastically fun Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle, a game in which players get to play the role of the infamous Jason Voorhees and slaughter hordes of hapless teens – by way of solving a series of cute sliding block puzzles.
Sound crazy? It is – and it is absolutely tremendous fun.
Fans of Blue Wizard’s previous Slasher puzzler, the brilliant Slayaway Camp, will have a rough idea of what to expect, but Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle takes it to a whole new level. Read our review here if you want to know what this FREE to play game (yes, you read that, not only is it awesome, it’s FREE!)
With the game hitting Steam now, Blue Wizard’s Jason Kapalka was kind enough to speak to The Slaughtered Bird about the challenges that came in bringing Jason to the puzzler genre, Slayaway Camp and the comparative murder merits of a kebab skewer and a flounder…
SLAUGHTERED BIRD: Slayaway Camp was a huge hit, and rightfully so. How did the process of making Slayaway Camp help you when it came to creating Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle? Were the any lessons learned along the way that made things easier this time?
JASON KAPALKA: Well, Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle is in many ways the spiritual sequel to Slayaway Camp, which was of course inspired in large part by the Friday the 13th films! It was certainly a lot easier to make, with the foundations of the puzzle gameplay already laid out by Slayaway Camp. That freed us up to focus on a lot of the crazier fun stuff, like more elaborate kill animations and the swappable weapons.
SB: Speaking of Slayaway Camp, in what ways would you say SC and Ft13 are similar and what are the biggest differences?
The R-Rated mode seems EVEN more gory (if that’s even possible!) was that one of your goals?
JK: The two games obviously share the core gameplay mechanics, but we wanted to add that collectible element with the weapons that wasn’t there in Slayaway Camp, so working out a system where you could equip any of 100+ weapons and get appropriate kill animations was a big part of the new game’s focus.
In terms of the actual gore quotient, F13 is probably a little LESS violent than Slayaway Camp in absolute terms. It’s just that the characters are slightly more realistic than Slayaway’s extreme cuboid guys, so the violence can seem a bit more … juicy.
We actually toned it down a bit as it was feeling a little TOO nasty in a few cases!
SB: You must have been so excited to land the license to a property as prestigious as Friday the 13th? How did that come about?
JK: The Friday the 13th people contacted us, actually, after Slayaway had come out. They had just released the console game by Gun, and thought a mobile game might be a good idea… but weren’t too sure how they could pull it off. We were pretty excited by the idea, obviously!
Our biggest concern was that the nature of the game would be inherently a little sillier and more comedic than the movies, and whether the Friday the 13th license holders would be ok with a game that took that many liberties with Jason and the property in general.
But when we presented our design to Sean Cunningham he was very supportive, even of the zanier concepts like time-travelling Jason in the Jurassic era…
SB: There are some very cool unlockable items in the game, including alternate Jasons and an an array of awesome new weapons – so, which is your favourite Jason? And what is your favourite weapon?
JK: I have a fondness for the Victorian era Jason, where he travels back in time to Jack the Ripper’s era. But I’m also pretty keen on our Jason X. As for weapons, it’s also a tie between the shish-ka-bob and the flounder…
SB: Speaking of favourites – what is the favourite Friday the 13th movie over there at Blue Wizard?
JK: Part VI: Jason Lives! Some of the other ones are certainly arguable, but Part VI I think was the best combination of horror and sly humour.
SB: In Slayaway Camp there were an assortment of familiar-ish horror faces and there have already been announcements regarding the likes of the Soska sisters and Derek Mears appearing as victims in Ft13:KP. Are there any other tricks or treats up your sleeve that horror fans should be looking out for?
JK: Oh, there are a number of hidden cult horror cameos in the game that we’ll reveal. One hint: in Episode 5, Level 1, if you look very closely hardcore F13 fans might spot someone from Part III…
SB: And finally – is there a chance we could ever see Skullface vs Jason? And most importantly – who wins?
JK: The Lawyers! Ha.
SB: Thank you.
To celebrate the release of Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle, The Slaughtered Bird has got together to offer 4 lucky winners Steam keys for some fantastic downloadable content:
Episode 9, Toxic Jason and Cyber Jason!
To win, get yourself on Twitter, tag @SlaughteredBird and @jasonkapalka into a tweet including the answer to the following question:
In which Friday the 13th film did Jason Voorhees first don the iconic hockey mask?
We’ll only be running this exclusive competition for a few days, so get cracking! 4 winners will be picked at random.
(Twitter follows count as bribes…and we like bribes!)