A Have a look at the Visible Fashion and Animation in 9 Monkeys of Shaolin

Hey everybody! I’m Mikhail and I’m the inventive director and animator at Sobaka Studio. Our new recreation 9 Monkeys of Shaolin simply launched on Xbox One and due to that, I wish to share some fascinating particulars of its improvement with you!

Once we efficiently launched our first recreation, Redeemer, we got here up with an concept to create an old-school beat’em up within the spirit of classics like TMNT: Turtles in Time or Double Dragon however within the fashion of kung fu motion motion pictures of the late ’70s. These video games and flicks about martial arts had a particular half in our childhood and we additionally already had sufficient essential expertise to tackle such a challenge.

Through the previous 30 years because the 16-bit period, the beat’em up style has advanced and grown and lately video games like Remaining Struggle and Golden Axe had been succeeded by masterpieces like Batman: Arkham collection or God of Conflict. However like many different players, we miss these traditional foolish video games about throwing punches.

After all, comparable video games come out even in the present day, however we imagine that almost all of them miss one thing: both the sport mechanics or graphics are hopelessly outdated, or the ambiance is just not the identical because it was previously…

In Sobaka Studio we knew tips on how to create an old style recreation excellent: by respecting the classics whereas not ignoring fashionable options. Thus we’ve began to work on the sport of our dream. The sport that we’d additionally like to play ourselves.

Visible Fashion

After ending Redeemer we needed to maneuver away from reasonable graphics and make one thing uncommon and emotional. After all, it was dangerous: stylized graphics may deter some gamers however we stood by this inventive resolution and ultimately this may assist to ship a extra vivid expertise.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin

Traditional beat’em up video games bonds in my thoughts with American comedian books. Teenage Ninja Turtles, Comix Zone, and even Streets of Rage really feel like animated superhero magazines. And from my viewpoint, this fashion suits such video games completely: daring shadows and descriptions made with ink, excessive distinction and vivid colours go properly with the dynamic and wholesome aggressiveness of those video games.

I actually needed to protect all of those in 9 Monkeys of Shaolin in some form or type. And due to that, very arduous lighting prevails in our recreation together with the tough ink-like shadows, aggressively vivid colours, chopped shapes of characters.

We used rather less aggressive, hybrid fashion, harking back to American comedian books and traditional Chinese language artwork on the identical time for the story illustrations which had been created for us by proficient artist Constantine Ponari. These illustrations type of hyperlink the plot, just like the previous Chinese language fable with the gameplay impressed by Western popular culture.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin

The plot and ambiance of 9 Monkeys of Shaolin resemble the flicks of the ’70 and ’80s equivalent to “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin,” “The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter,” and “The Shaolin Temple.” And when it comes to visible fashion, I used to be impressed by extra fashionable motion pictures like “Hero” and “Home of Flying Daggers.”

Colour grading in these motion pictures all the time gave me a type of aesthetic ecstasy, so I needed to at the very least attempt to replicate among the methods that I noticed. Due to that, every location of our recreation has its pronounced coloration. Like for instance the colour palette of the burning village is generally fiery orange, a bamboo grove is inexperienced, and a sun-drenched temple within the forest is yellow.

Principally, I needed to make the visible fashion of the sport really feel as arduous as a battle employees hitting you in a jaw. As a result of our recreation is about this: about beating totally different foes with a stick.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin

Whereas the story of our recreation is considerably deeper than it might sound on the first look, the inspiration of 9 Monkeys is combating. I needed to make the graphics within the recreation perceived by the cerebellum and assist the participant’s aggression with none methods.

When our character modeler Eduard Kotsia confirmed a draft of the hero’s mannequin I used to be confused at first as a result of it regarded far more impolite than what I imagined.

However then I noticed that it’s precisely what we’d like! Characters turned much more chopped and inflexible than it was meant. And thanks that our recreation appears much more dynamic, and the foes have such punchable faces that you just simply need to hit them with a membership (which is coincidentally the premise of the sport!).


It was very thrilling to work on fight animation. We virtually didn’t use movement seize – all of the hits, kicks and varied methods of the characters had been animated manually.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin

I’ve watched many hours of video classes about battle staffs, unique weapons like an eku (a wood oar used as a piercing and smashing weapon) or kusarigama (a sickle and a heavy iron weight linked with a metallic chain), a bunch of showcase performances of contemporary masters who use these weapons. Whereas making Wei Cheng’s animation with a employees I noticed that it’s not sufficient to only watch the video. So I disassembled a mop and started to coach with it. Attempting to determine tips on how to spin the employees correctly I broke many vases and plates at our workplace throughout improvement but it surely was value it!

Our studio’s philosophy is to all the time put gameplay first, and thus we frequently needed to sacrifice a little bit of historic accuracy and typically even widespread sense for the sake of thrilling gameplay.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin

And it’s not simply magic seals — even the bottom stance of the hero with employees doesn’t match properly for the actual struggle. However then again, it’s comprehensible and straightforward to learn within the recreation. By the best way, it’s additionally one of many the reason why we determined to not use a movement seize: typically it’s simply not in regards to the realism, however about clear and cool-looking animation of what was taking place on the display screen.

And now, after virtually three years because the begin of our journey, I can simply and fairly confidently say that 9 Monkeys of Shaolin appears very cool and is admittedly enjoyable to play!

I sincerely hope that the gamers will benefit from the recreation as a lot as we had whereas its improvement.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin

Xbox Live

9 Monkeys of Shaolin




On this beat ’em up recreation you will play because the Chinese language fisherman Wei Cheng who needs to avenge the loss of life of his family and friends. Get your battle employees prepared for a difficult journey in Medieval China and for cruel fights with hordes of assorted enemies.

Motion-packed battles, consumer pleasant controls and unbelievable ambiance of nice kung-fu motion pictures of 70s – all this makes 9 Monkeys of Shaolin an ideal selection for each true fan of actually hardcore brawlers.

– three distinctive combating types: struggle on earth, within the air or use mysterious magic seals. Mix these components to defeat each enemy in your method.
– Charming narrative: uncover the fascinating story of Wei Cheng and observe him as he rises from a easy fisherman to the grasp of Shaolin martial arts.
– Beautiful visible fashion: unlikely mixture of historic and mystical components provides you an thrilling expertise from each scene seems on display screen.
– Intensive character improvement system: you be taught quite a lot of methods to victory as you uncover varied unlockable perks, objects and combating types.
– Greater than 25 totally different ranges: Chinese language villages, pirate ship, Buddhist monasteries, Japanese mansions, historical ruins and lots of extra.
– 10 kinds of Chinese language and Japanese polearms, every with its distinctive traits. Uncover the landscapes to seek out new objects!
– Co-op play: invite your buddy that can assist you struggle by rising waves of enemies and full the sport collectively.

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