Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles :  Dark Horizons

TMNT Dark Horizons is the cult classic game based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series revival. It was the first game to be based on the Nickelodeon versions of the characters as an action-packed 2d sidescroller beat-em-up fighting game. We created a unique aesthetic that renders the characters as shadows with neon details, that worked exceptionally with the underground and menacing sewer scenery. We also included several cinematic scenes between screens and levels to create a more immersive experience. Also, players can choose their favorite shock shell-hero in an over-the-top underground sewer system, packed to the brim with enemies, bosses, and fight combos.

A team of players

Our team focused first on the conceptual side: the vision for the game, mechanics, core concepts, aesthetics, PC & NPC, levels, narratives. It was key to keep everyone on the same page, managing expectations, workflow, and end results. Tons of meetings in-house and outbound: with our team, with their team, with the client, stakeholders, managers of managers and their dogs. We all knew what we wanted to achieve and the influence, responsibility, and love we have for what we do, the brand & the players.

In the development phase,  we brought all of these to life. Our team of programmers, coders, 2D & 3D artists, engineers, put everything together, from the background sounds, background assets, FX, animations, levels, tutorials, badges, icons…roughly around 700 assets. And don’t forget key players: the testers. (Yes, playing games is a profession).

The reaction was amazing: the game became one of the most played games all across Nickelodeon platforms, from the UK to Chile.

Building a Game Legacy

This is a AAA game project, from the budget to the quality. Each specific was pre-estimated, even keeping in mind the flexibility and breadth of each role according to the roadmap, milestones, and progress of the project. In many cases, roles blended to optimize resources and keep the pace forward.

Key move: some designers and concept artists brought great ideas in brainstorming and gave them the opportunity to ‘own’ them by bringing them to life during the development phase. Same with our development talent, overlapping programming abilities with creative teams made the process richer, and the results had the WOW factor. 

Let's do it for mobile!

The success of the online version was beyond predictions. The most expensive part was already done, all the assets, audio, animations, etc. so we pitched to Nick porting the game both for android & iOS, to expand the IP to mobile. We added a few new features and expanding their audience through a bigger platform. The only real obstacles were maintaining the integrity of visuals and creating a smooth user interface adapting it to touch screen controls. Once that’s done, you can let the quality of your game speak for itself. The new interface and controls improved the experience considerably. Imagine that this was created in 2014, and game development has come a long way since those days. Now developers have a simpler approach to cross-platform development and the only limit is creativity. Thanks to the fabulous team at Quadramma: Bubba, Santi, Ariel & Javi for working in this epic game.

PS. That’s my iPhone 5 with the broken-down connector

game highlights

Diverse metagame / Frequent balance change to keep up the pace and challenge.
Habilities & Powers balance. We spent time making sure all combinations have good balance.
Artwork and storyline match game level, mood and personalities of the characters.
Progressive gameplay. Non repetitive experience.
Reward structure balance players turns to keep it challenging and fun.
Entertaining Voice work with characters humor & personalities.
Friendly learning curve for easy pick up and start.
Play Multiplayer game using a single device.