AZ Gaming Indies: ‘Chroma Shift’

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The Chroma Shift demo booth was rigged with special Phillips Hue lights, which made for a fun gaming experience.

Among the many things available to attendees at this past weekends’ Phoenix Comic Fest, some might be surprised to hear an unannounced game was among the offerings. Chroma Shift, a title made by local independent developer 7 Sentinels, was officially announced by the studio on Thursday.

The game is a self-described “sci-fi, action/adventure title that uses runner-like mechanics.” Players pilot a scout ship through a deadly array of asteroids and enemies, utilizing various colored cubes to protect the vessel from certain destruction. Chroma Shift puts gamers into the role of a captain, scouring the galaxy for clues to lead humanity back to Earth after many years spent colonizing other planets.

Developer Leonard Herndon and co-designer Matt Stump, began working on Chroma Shift in 2015 part-time in addition to their full-time careers, but the original idea was nowhere near the accolade-winning title it is today.

“Originally this was supposed to be a two-week project and the star of the game was a little bunny,” Herndon explained with a laugh in a Sunday interview. “It was called Color Bunny and it was meant to be a sort of Flappy Bird clone. We had some animators do some animations for the bunny, and it turned out terrible. So we were like ‘Let’s do something that doesn’t have any animations like that. …Okay, let’s go to a spaceship!'”

The seemingly small switch turned into a plethora of changes, eventually morphing the game entirely. Eventually the title would revolve around a color mechanic without involving weapons, pushing players to rely solely on these cues to skillfully avoid danger and make their ship stronger. Phoenix Comic Fest attendees were so receptive to the game (and its fancy Hue light setup) over the weekend, that it netted the Audience Choice award from the Southwest Video Game Showcase; a second for the title.

Even with the positive reaction, the duo insists that Chroma Shift has more work ahead of it.

“It’s still early in it’s development,” said Stump, pointing out that the game has only had a few months since its exhibition as a prototype build at the 2017 Phoenix Fan Fest. “There’s still some other features we want to add to it to make it a little more in-depth.”

The 7 Sentinels crew is still small with a few collaborators, but they hope to grow their force with more funding to enable faster development. The group has considered crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe, but have had a few concerns before turning to them.

“We haven’t pulled the trigger on it, mainly because we want to have something to show.” said Herndon. “A lot of other Kickstarters or indie projects, they like to start getting their money early, but not a lot of people finish. We want to be able to say: ‘Here’s our concept. Here’s our proof of concept. This is something we can do, and we have a plan to do it.’ [With all that] We feel that we can build a better trust with people who do happen to crowdfund us.”

As for Chroma Shift‘s actual release, the 7 Sentinels crew aims to have a beta out by the end of 2018, with hopes to release it on Steam in the future. More information can be found on the game’s website, and the official announcement trailer can be viewed below.

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About the author

Christen Bejar

Christen Bejar is a freelance gaming writer who started the local blog The Pause Button while studying at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. For Nerdvana, Bejar reviews video games and also previews, recaps and photographs many local events from a gamer's perspective.