FINALLY! IT’S OUT! GALAK-Z PS4 DLC is available in Europe! And new fixes for The Americas!

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GALAK-Z’s long awaited and free Season 5 DLC has finally launched and is ready to take you into the endless vortex of warped space combat known only as The Void! We are rebranding GALAK-Z to reflect the update since the new content opens up a whole new way to play. With newly implemented Online Leaderboards, The Void game mode provides an endless playground for players to showcase their moment-to-moment survival skills and to post their scores as a challenge to friends and foes alike.

And we got some hot 17-BIT on Sony Blog action for you too! Check out our post on Sony’s blog for more insights!

The VOID on PlayStation Blog

Or jump straight into the action and get it on PS4

Get GALAK-Z on PS4

17-BITs & pieces

Some Seattle 17-BIT buds come and get crazy in Kyoto

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Paul (coding guru) & Colin (visual and story wizard) come to Kyoto for some bro-ing out and to do some heavy lifting on GALAK-Z mobile

Jake goes rice picking in a Ghibli movie

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Well, it’s not really a Ghibli movie but almost!

Our morning commute

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Daily life in Kyoto .. come and visit us!

Links we like

Thanks for Hanging Out!

Autumn has finally broken, so the air is crisp and the bike rides are nice!  We’ll keep bringing you regular updates and some of the lighter side of living out here in lovely Kyoto.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out and say hello.  From the team at 17-BIT, we’ll see you next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS4 & The Void make it official! The Void drops on PS4! 

PS4 & The Void tie the knot

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GALAK-Z’s long awaited and free Season 5 DLC has finally launched and is ready to take you into the endless vortex of warped space combat known only as The Void! We are rebranding GALAK-Z to reflect the update since the new content opens up a whole new way to play. With newly implemented Online Leaderboards, The Void game mode provides an endless playground for players to showcase their moment-to-moment survival skills and to post their scores as a challenge to friends and foes alike.

And we got some hot 17-BIT on Sony Blog action for you too! Check out our post on Sony’s blog for more insights!

Or jump straight into the action and get it on PS4!

17-BITs & pieces

We stream therefore we are

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As you probably heard last update, we’re on Twitch and now we’re on Youtube too! Check out Tom’s stream…

We will be streaming most Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m. PST on our Twitch channel, so if you’re up and up for it, come have a chat and see some quick sticking!

Lights, camera, UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, B, A, START

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I’ll let them explain…

“For the last several years, the Japanese game industry has begun to recognize the power of independent creators and the momentum of the fledgling scene, and in 2013, the Tokyo Game Show created a pavilion to feature indie creators for the first time in its history.

Will this be the beginning of a new movement? With this question, we began our two-year journey through Japan’s Indie scene. Branching Paths is a mosaic of the developers, publishers and people who gravitate to indie games in Japan.”

Branching Paths is a new film on the Japanese indie game scene, and we’re featured in it! That’s Jake up there and the view from our office! Check it out…

IndieGames.com blows our lid off

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Our Indiebox got opened and shown in all its grandeur, and you can see every little bit. Check out IndieGame.com’s in-depth article…

In case you didn’t know, you can still buy the GALAK-Z IndieBox direct!

Accessibility in VR – Brian Van Buren

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Former 17-BITter Brian Van Buren lends a strong and personal insight to what it takes to conceive and build VR spaces that are accessible to everyone.

Read his great article up on VRINFLUX!

The show must go hands on

TouchArcade touches us & our hearts at E3

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TouchArcade played around with our demo of GALAK-Z : Mobile Variant and had some kind words…

“…after just a few moments playing here at E3 I quickly warmed up to how the game controlled, and in fact simply flying around and shooting stuff was the highlight of the experience.”

Check out the whole story in all its glory…

GALAK-Z awarded Famitsu Editors’ Pick for the JP release of GALAK-Z at BitSummit!

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…and here’s the proof in black & white…. and Japanese!

So, if you’re studying Japanese, why not learn with us! Or it might just be a good excuse to meet up with a Japanese friend who can translate all the juicy details. (-_^)

“Rubbing shoulders with the greats at BitSummit”

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All the hard work has paid off and the festivities were magnificent—BitSummit was a huge success!

GamesIndustry.com tells the story…

Life in Kyoto

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A beautiful Ghibli-esque restaurant in the north of Kyoto.

 

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Windowed tatami rooms overlooking the river. Breathtaking.

 

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Soba on a roof tile! Too cool!

Links we like

Thanks for Hanging Out!

The summer is hot, hot, hot, but we’re doing our best to keep cool! We’ll keep bringing you regular updates and some of the lighter side of living out here in lovely Kyoto. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and say hello. From the team at 17-BIT, we’ll see you next time!

Steam Summer Sale, bunches of bits & bobs, and our funky fresh friends!

Hello! The 17-BIT update is back again! The Steam Summer Sale is here & our PS4 free DLC for GALAK-Z, The Void, is here too! Woo hoo! Also, we wanted to update on all things new with 17-BIT and share some things from our lives in this majestic city called Kyoto. Thanks for joining us! Sit back and relax. Here we go…

17-BIT Bits & Bobs

Steam Summer Sale Silliness

Get GALAK-Z now for 40% OFF! Only $5.99! Get ’em while they’re hot! (-_^)

The Void DLC for PS4 has been submitted and is in certification now!

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For all of you out there waiting for GALAK-Z’s free DLC for PS4, The Void, we’ve submitted it to Sony and it is in the certification process. It’s going to drop very soon!

If you haven’t seen The Void trailer check it out here…

We’re on Twitch!

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17-BIT is now on Twitch! And, we’re going to have some pretty awesome streams for you coming up! Even our away screen is awesome! (-_^)

Follow us & keep your eyes out for our upcoming streams!

We’re big in Brazil

You might have noticed some Portuguese posts on our Facebook & Twitter recently. Don’t worry, we’re not moving countries again—we just noticed we were getting a lot of attention from our Brazilian players, so we wanted to give them something special and get the word out to other gamers in Brazil that GALAK-Z is the BEES KNEES.

So, our Brazilian friend Ricci had a go at GALAK-Z and gives you the scoop… in Portuguese! Check it out!

If got some friends that speak Portuguese, do us a solid and pass it on. (-_^)

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, everyone’s favorite salvaging trader, Crash, is Brazilian!

Unboxing our Indiebox

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Last time we told you we’re going to be on Indiebox—here’s the fruits of Indiebox’s and our labor. And here’s an awesome review of the box (“Best IndieBox yet!”), and photos & videos from our fans. Check them out!

P.S. You can get your own right here! GALAK-Z – IndieBox

Oh, and um… Jake did an AMA on Reddit

Jake, our fearless leader, showed how brave he truly is and took questions from the public on a Reddit “Ask Me Anything”. It was really fun and is a great read. If you’ve ever wondered anything about us, it’s probably talked about there. Check it out, yo!

Friends of 17-BIT getting funky

As you’ve probably seen from our updates, Kyoto is not just ancient city only full of temples & monks—it’s high tech as heck, and it’s got a thriving gaming community, which we love, so here’s the DL on the haps in our hood. (-_^)

Kyoto’s Killer indie game show, BitSummit, is coming!

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Oi! We know you all need an excuse to come to Japan, so what could be better than this…?

Japan’s leading independent game development festival, BitSummit, will return to Kyoto in 2016. BitSummit 4th (Force) will take place at the Miyako Messe Kyoto International Exhibition Hall on July 9th and 10th, 2016.

JULY 9–10, 2016, MIYAKO MESSE

So, book your planes, trains & AirBnbs!

Did we mention that Nintendo is participating! Woo hoo!

Get the newest info here on their Twitter page.

Edwon gets all up in Kyoto’s indie companies

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Our rad friend Edwon, a former Kyotoite, who’s done work at just about every games company in Kyoto, made an awesome video in which he visits us, Q Games, and VITEI and gives you the low down on working in games in Japan. This is a must watch. Informative and funny.

Edwon is the man. Follow him on Twitter: EDWON (@edwonia) | Twitter. His Youtube videos are the best.

VITEI has a baby, The Backroom

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One of the other awesome indie game companies in Kyoto, VITEI, spun off a new wee baby company called VITEI Backroom. It may be small right now, but they are up to some big things. The office is a remodeled izakaya, and the company that did the remodel is absolutely brilliant—they incorporated many traditional Japanese design elements with some ingenious modern twists. It is a beauty. Not to mention, the first floor is a cafe with a game space and is going to be opened up to the indie games community for working and events. The Backroom was just born, but they are already killing it. Follow them on Twitter for all the new news.

Q Games TV hits the Twitch-waves with a new stream

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Another cool Kyoto indie company Q Games, which just moved into some pretty swank new offices, is stepping its game up even more with a new Twitch channel that is bringing it hard. They’ve been doing all kinds of interesting streams, including game art drawing classes / interview with one of our good friends Kimi-yoshi Aoki (@bluetree_88), an artist at Q. Q Games is killing it too. Watch ‘em do it to it. (-_^)

Take a Cosmic Trip with our friends Funktronic Labs

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As if we didn’t have enough stuff to talk about already, friends and for Kyotoites, Funktronic Labs, who formed in Kyoto (now in LA), have released a groovy VR game that we think you’ll love.

And if you want to know how they made it, Eddie gives some good VR takeaways from Cosmic Trip in this article…

Links we like

Thanks for Hanging Out!

Well, that was a mouthful! There’s so much going on here in Kyoto—you can totally see it truly is becoming an “Indie-con Valley” of sorts! Why not come check it out?

We’ll keep bringing you regular updates and some of the lighter side of living out here in lovely Kyoto. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and say hello. From the team at 17-BIT, we’ll see you next time!

If you want to get these updates in your email, you can sign up here!

Let’s get physical!


Some Nice News

Hello! The 17-BIT monthly newsletter is back again! We’ve been making good progress on the Season 5 DLC for GALAK-Z, and an announcement will be coming soon. In the meantime, we wanted to update you on a special edition of GALAK-Z and also share some things from our lives in this majestic city called Kyoto. Thanks for joining us! Sit back and relax. Here we go…

GALAK-Z so real you can touch it

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We are happy to announce that after having partnered with IndieBox, there will be a collector’s edition physical version of GALAK-Z available for the month of April! It’s going to be packed with collectibles, a copy of the original soundtrack, a full color game manual, a steam key, a DRM-free copy of the game and even more surprises! Sign up before April 18th to make the cut!

Just in case you didn’t know, IndieBox is a subscription service that delivers deluxe collector’s edition packages of some of the best indie games out there straight to your door every month. That old school feeling of holding a physical copy of your favorite games can be made possible again for you collectors out there.

17-BIT in the News

Raj speaks at GDC 2016

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Our very own Raj Joshi, 17-BIT Studio Director, talked about making GALAK-Z at GDC this year! And, you can watch it on the GDC website.

Famitsu even did an article all about it in Japanese. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Raj is big in Japan. (-_^)

スペースシューティングゲーム『宇宙戦士ガラクZ』のギリギリだった開発現場を振り返る【GDC 2016】

Great job, Raj!

If you want to hear more pearls of wisdom from Raj, you can follow him on Twitter @RicoUsa123.

Less Than Nice News

Skulls of the Shogun

It is with a heavy heart and a strong mind that we have pulled Skulls of the Shogun from the iOS App Store until the updated version is complete. We’ll spare you the technical details, but it’s continuing to be a real thorny mess in trying to get it running smoothly with the recent changes to iOS. We’ll be sure to keep you all appraised of the situation and will let you know when the updated version is available and back up on the App Store.

Life in Kyoto

While being a small independent developer is hard work, we feel like the luckiest people in the world because we get to live in the beautiful and magical city of Kyoto. We’d like to share just a bit of that magic with you. So, please have a look. Hell, come visit!

Morning commute

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Pretty pretty sakura

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When it’s in full bloom, your heart just about stops. #soprettyithurts

The team chillin’ on the river

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Jake quips…

…AND JUST WHEN I THOUGHT THIS LOVELY SPRING DAY COULDN’T GET ANY NICER…

And along came a Vive

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And BITSUMMIT is coming

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Oi! We know you all need an excuse to come to Japan, so what could be better than this…

Japan’s leading independent game development festival, BitSummit, will return to Kyoto in 2016. BitSummit 4th (Force) will take place at the Miyako Messe Kyoto International Exhibition Hall on July 9th and 10th, 2016.

JULY 9-10, 2016
MIYAKO MESSE

In this edition of the Japan Meal Minute

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McDonald’s unveils the GIGA MAC for Japan!

Yes, that’s 2.8 times the meat of a puny American “Big” Mac…

…and that’s no April Fools’ joke!

Some links we like

Generation Nintendo

Jake says…

Amaaaaaaazing long read of the saving of Kyoto in WW2 through the rise of Nintendo. Must read for Nintendo fans! (Via Glenn Doren).

Virtual Reality – SteamVR featuring the HTC Vive

Jake says…

Between the Oculus Rift last week and the HTC Vive today, the future of what we used to call video games is here. This is a paradigm shift that will fundamentally change how we learn, play, work, and explore. It cannot be overstates how much this is going to change everything, and we couldn’t be more excited about what’s coming!

Welcome to the Virtual Age

From Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist at Oculus

The Most Detailed Map of the Cosmos

Turning Photos into Anime Images

This Is Your Brain on Nature

Building a 4K experience

Thanks for Hanging Out!

We’ll keep bringing you regular updates and some of the lighter side of living out here in lovely Kyoto. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and say hello. From the team at 17-BIT, we’ll see you next time!

IT CAME FROM JAPAN: GALAK-Z’s ANIME ROOTS

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Our very own Jake Kazdal reflects on the vintage inspiration behind GALAK-Z…

JK: GALAK-Z wears its influences on its sleeve. The game is, in many ways, a love letter to the Japanese animation I grew up watching and loving. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that these shows and films set me on the creative path I’ve been on for the last two decades—from working in the games industry to studying illustration, I’ve found endless inspiration in the creative output of Japan, and anime in particular.

Here are some of the ones that really stuck with me over the years.

 

Macross/Robotech

Robotech 2     Macross 2

 

The transforming fighter has to be one of my favorite things *ever*. My parents refused to buy me Jetfire from the original Transformers, a memory that still resides in my frontal cortex—it’s a childhood trauma I’m still recovering from. I even tried talking my neighbor into selling me his (he almost folded, but ended up keeping it, which was a massive bummer). The original Macross film is just the best, for all of the reasons: Itano-circus. Badass, blue skinned enemies. Hot commanders. This is easily one of the best sci-fi series/films ever.

 

Voltron

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Voltron was cheesy but also amazing. As a kid I watched the hell out of both of the series that came to the States, and it still makes me happy whenever I see that logo.

 

Yamato/Starblazers

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I used to wake up at 6 a.m. to watch Starblazers on KVOS 12 in the Seattle area (yeah, you Seattle folks remember the one). This was the early 80s—I didn’t even know what anime was at the time, but I knew I liked it! I was a huge Star Wars fan, even back then, and this was the closest cartoon around to Star Wars. I was also hugely into Buck Rogers, as well as OG Battlestar Galactica. The stodgy old captain, the asteroids, the YAMATO—the sweetest, baddest mothership of all time. This series had it all. The Godfather of the blue-skinned bad dudes, giant death rays, desperate missions, wicked fighters, interstellar exploration…this is one of the classics of Japanese anime, for sure. Hugely influential to the world of GALAK-Z, this and Macross are probably the two most essential inspirations for the game’s aesthetic.

 

Battle of the Planets

The template for the amazing sci-fi anime of the 70s. Such a classic in every single way. Still beloved to this day—great suits, great teamwork, flying knife boomerangs IN YO FACE. So good.

Battle of the Planets 1   Battle of the Planets 2

 

 

 

 

There are tons more—too many to mention, in fact. I learned a lot in the research phase of this game, as it simmered in my brain for years before development started. Other notables include Xabungle, God Mars, all three parts of the J9 series, Space Cobra, Gundam, Crusher Joe, Space Runaway Ideon, and Votoms!

 

Space Cobra    J9Space Runway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crusher Joe

 

Arcade shooters

Even though GALAK-Z has very little to do with classic SHMUPS in terms of mechanics, aesthetically it owes a lot to my love of 16-bit console and Japanese arcade shooters. I’ve got to give a huge shout-out to R-Type, Gradius, Axelay, U.N. Squadron/Area 88, all the CAVE shooters of yesteryear… all the best bullet hell games. Macross Arcade is still amazing, too

 

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R-Type-   Gradius

 

 

 

 

 

I really wanted to take that aesthetic from all these amazing classic games, and pump modern Artificial Intelligence, physics, and freeform movement from modern classics like the Halo series, along with open-ended experiences of the sort that Far Cry series has really nailed. I’m so happy with what we’ve achieved, and that we’ve managed to create this original new spin on these classic gaming experiences.

Jake