20 years ago the third person action game Gungrave released for PlayStation 2. Today, the weapon-wielding anti-hero Beyond the Grave returns Gungrave GOREthe first orthodox sequel to the series since the 2004 sequel Gungrave: Overdose. This time it’s spearheaded by Studio IGGYMOB, a South Korean developer whose first entry into the franchise was the one released in 2017 Gungrave VR for virtual reality headsets.
“When we looked at it as a studio, we liked that both the gameplay and the characters gave us this nostalgic feeling,” Kay Kim, chief operating officer of studio IGGYMOB, told Gematsu. “With the original, people fell in love with the game’s distinctive look and design in this over-the-top world. That distinctive gameplay and charm of the character played a major role in our decision to revive this Gungrave intellectual property. As fans of the series, it was a new and exciting challenge.”
The first Gungrave was developed by RED Entertainment, which still owns the intellectual property rights. While its gameplay received mixed reactions at the time, its character designs were highly praised by Yasuhiro Nightow. And while RED Entertainment is not directly involved in it Gungrave GORENightow is still on board in a big way.
“Nightow took an active and important role as Image Director for the Gungrave GORE‘ Kim explained. “Specifically, we worked with Nightow on character design, poses and more. Later, Nightow also helped us come up with names and designs for the abilities, expanding his role as picture director.”
But waiting for a new one Gungrave has been a long time coming. Gungrave GORE was announced back in December 2017 and once had a set release window of winter 2019, but faced multiple delays as studio IGGYMOB struggled to find an investor.
“At that time, mobile games were the biggest market in Korea, so it was difficult to get an investment as a console game,” Kim said. “The release of the game was delayed due to the blending of financial issues and the game design change. We initially designed the game as a semi-open world, but we quickly realized that it didn’t fit the nature of Gungrave Franchise. Looking back, it feels weird to think that we almost did the title half-open, but we really meant it at the time.”
While the idea of an open world was thrown aside, Gungrave GORE is equipped with both new functions Gungrave pillars of the series.
Kim explains, “First of all, we felt it was important to include iconic elements of the franchise, most notably unlimited ammo remaining in the game. Also, the demolition and high speed shots have been improved with a stylish new look. We incorporated fresh and exciting gameplay that enhanced the gameplay feel. We added different systems to make the gameplay cooler and more fun.
“Our new favorite element is The Storm Barrage, which allows players to pour out bullets like a storm. We also have things like RIP, which lets you kill stunning enemies in one hit, and Chase, which lets players dive into the enemy line. Last but not least, Grab is a lot of fun – it allows you to drag enemies in front of players during combat. There are so many fun and badass melee attack systems that have been added to the game that we look forward to players jumping in and enjoying them.”
To that end, Grave carries some new weapons alongside his trademark Cerberus and Death Hauler. And even these have been updated.
“The ‘Cerberus’ and the ‘Death Hauler’ are still there, but they have more abilities and we’ve added new features to the Death Hauler. There was no growth in previous iterations, but in Gungrave GOREthe player can expand and strengthen his skills and abilities through upgrades. This becomes an important factor for immersion and multiple rounds of play.”
Gungave GORE is set on the fictional island of Scumland in Southeast Asia after the events of Gungrave: Overdosebut having played previous games in the series isn’t essential to following the story, Kim explained.
“In the main menu you will find a history section that enlightens all players about the previous titles and history. So even if players have never played one Gungrave Game before it will be easy for them to get in. Even those who have experience with the previous iterations of the Gungrave Franchise can remember history with history section.”
With Gungrave GORE Available today at retailers and digital storefronts, Studio IGGYMOB looks forward to the future of Gungrave Franchise.
“We made sure that this new iteration demonstrated the legitimacy of the Gungrave franchise, but also increasing it,” Kim said. “Especially with things like the growth system, but also more rewards in different difficulties for multiple rounds. If you complete the hardest mode of the game, you can get Brandon Heat as the first access to the game. I think it’s a contestable stat as a fan. Also, it will be fun to challenge players for the highest number of kills.
“We have some ideas for [downloadable content], but we have nothing to share at the moment… We are planning the next sequel. if Gungrave GORE becomes successful, there is a better chance that we can develop a sequel. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Gungrave GORE is available now for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC via Steam and Xbox Game Pass.