Developer Jon Merchant talks Postal Redux, and what’s new
Few games have entered POSTAL’s realms of charm. With its unabashed concept and rip-roaring play style, Running With Scissors’ audacious series is one that wears its cult status proudly on its blood-spattered sleeve. And now it’s back for more, in upcoming revamp, POSTAL Redux.
So, naturally, at this year’s EGX: Rezzed, I met up with Running with Scissors’ Jon Merchant: producer and developer behind Redux and the spine-tingling oddity that is the POSTAL series, and discussed POSTAL Redux, the studio’s up and coming remaster of the original shooter. You can check out the interview below.
So it’s been 19 years since POSTAL first came out, and it’s looking as blood-crazed as ever. What’s new to Redux?
So it is actually very a faithful recreation of the original POSTAL, but we’ve updated the art significantly to be better in HD resolutions, and we’ve added a new game mode called Rampage Mode, which is more along the lines of, say, Hotline Miami. A scorer-type thing, where you have to chain kills together in quick succession to build up your score multiplier. That will also have music in the background as well, which the original mode didn’t.
Is there a grading system similar to Hotline Miami?
Absolutely. You’ll get graded from A+ to C- I believe, possibly D.
With Hotline Miami, it was really quite challenging to get that A+ rank, would you say it’s similar to that sort of challenge level?
Oh, absolutely. We want to give it as much replayability as possible, and there will be Steam leaderboards as well, for friends to be able to compare their scores with each other.
How have players reacted so far to Redux, and did anyone coming from POSTAL 2 find it difficult to adjust to?
Yeah, I mean we got a lot of fans of POSTAL 2, who were actually surprised that POSTAL 1 wasn’t a 3D – they’d just assumed it was. A lot of people were disappointed we’re not doing a POSTAL 2 Redux obviously, but generally the reaction’s been very very good. Since the original trailer we’ve put out people have been enthusiastic, and then today at the games show we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from people who have never even played POSTAL, who just say that it is a good solid twin-stick shooter, which is obviously fantastic to hear.
Are there more newcomers to POSTAL Redux now, or is Redux’s audience comprised mostly of fans of the original POSTAL?
I’d say it was about fifty-fifty so far, judging from the show. A lot of people are here for nostalgia, and they played the original when they were younger, and they’re like “Yeah, this is great.” Then you’ve got people who have never really seen the franchise, but just kind of enjoy the art style and the visual aspect of it, and think it’s just a nice twin-stick shooter to play.
I know this might be a little redundant given POSTAL’S courage, but has there ever been anything in Redux or any of the POSTAL games you were thinking of adding but felt it was ‘going too far’?
We’ve had a lot of requests on things that people want us to add in that we think is going too far. Generally speaking we don’t hold back, although we have changed things in Redux which people might be surprised about. I won’t spoil it, but the ending has changed, although I will stress that this was an in-house decision, without any pressure from the outside.
What’s been the most challenging thing for you when developing the games?
Redux has been a very big challenge in the sense of the way it’s rendered. It’s all 2D art, but the characters are more 3D. So we’ve had to overcome the challenge of making sure these 3D models are layered between the 2D art sprites effectively.
I’ve noticed Redux has more of a ‘2.5D’ style now.
All the backgrounds are completely hand-drawn, none of it is 3D at all. This is how the original POSTAL worked, and we wanted to see if we could make that work again in a modern engine in HD, and we believe it works very well.
Will you be releasing any add-ons or updates for Redux post-launch?
Absolutely. We plan to release at least one map pack. This will all be free DLC, and we’ll also be adding on various multiplayer game types and co-op – although we may get the co-op ready for release, we’re not entirely sure yet. But if not, it will shortly follow soon afterwards.
Finally, what’s next for the POSTAL series? Will there be a POSTAL 3, 4, 5? Or would you ever want to work on something else?
That’s a good question, because our next game is going to be a brand-new IP. After we’ve finished Redux, we’re moving onto something completely different. That’s not to say we might not return to POSTAL one day, but for now we want to take a clean break and work on something new and very fresh. No one will see it coming.
Have you any hints as to what it might be?
Not yet, just that it’s not what anyone’s gonna expect.