An Interview with Samurai Punk: Justice Sucks
Samurai Punk may be known for their mind-boggling first-person shooter, Screencheat, which was released in 2014. However, they've come to PAX Australia 2022 swinging with their newest title, Justice Sucks.
Justice Sucks combines stealth, action, strategy, tactics, and a damn cool 90s TV aesthetic with a killer vacuum cleaner. The game has the player take on the role of Dusty, a trusty Roomba-like creature that traverses through the 90s TV dimension to save his family!
This involves sneakily taking down all foes who stand in his path via wacky and murderous means. GGRecon managed to speak to Samurai Punk Creative Director Winston Tang about the game. "The basic concept is you're a vigilante robot vacuum, who's on a quest for vengeance through a neo-90s TV world trying to rescue his family," said Tang.
What Is Justice Sucks About?
Winston shared a funny story behind the game's inspiration, which is based on a real-life experience he had with his own heroic vacuum cleaner. "It (Justice Sucks) was based on an incident where a few years ago my house was broken into. Burglars broke into the home, and the only one at home was the robot vacuum.
"When we got back, there was no trace of the burglars and the police never found them, so I was a bit frustrated. But I started thinking, 'Hey maybe the robot vacuum got them, that's why there are no traces left.' We got pretty good value, I think that vacuum cost $200 back in the day, but it's a small price to pay for justice."
As Creative Director, Tang was able to take this scenario and inject it directly into the game as the first level. "The first mission in the game is where burglars break into the family's home, Dusty is the main character and has to fight them back in a Home Alone sort of scenario. He's improvising weapons out of the appliances and gadgets to take them out and protect his family's stuff."
How Does Justice Sucks Work?
Now, most people would think, "Aren’t vacuum cleaners pretty noisy?" Well, Dusty is the exception to this rule, according to Tang. In Justice Sucks, Dusty is able to control his level of "succ" at any given moment and can do both a "small succ" and "big succ." Tang spoke about how Justice Sucks replicates similar strategies for stealth games.
"It's similar to other stealth games, where you can choose to go in guns (or vacuums) blazing or you could choose not to. It's up to you to choose your own approach." Justice Sucks was in development for about 2.5 years in total at Samurai Punk, finally being released on Steam on September 9th. With a team of about 10 people, Justice Sucks was created throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and for them, was considered somewhat of a "COVID lockdown baby."
Alongside the studio developing games, Samurai Punk has an entirely separate division of the studio that works on apparel and streetwear. Focusing on a more "anime streetwear/pop culture vibe," Samurai Punk delightfully hits the best of both worlds - delivering not only in the gaming space but the fashion and apparel space also.
What's Next For Justice Sucks?
For the game creation side of the studio though, Samurai Punk released Justice Sucks on Steam only last month and is looking at what the future of the game may be like. Tang spoke more about where the studio was currently at with Justice Sucks.
"We have some plans for some content updates, nothing formally announced but we are working on some extra stuff for the game. For now, a little bit of maintenance, a little bit of content update on the way but part of the future as well as how it's received by the audience."
Tang expanded on this point by giving insight into the games industry as a whole. "We live in a time where a game is often not the end when the first version releases. If people are hungry for more, there are plenty of good reasons to go back and revisit it and make new adventures.
"If people live it, if we can justify the cost to make some more, but we'll have to see how the public receives it. So whoever is reading this, you can do your bit, if you want to see more Justice Sucks, tell your friends! Let the world know!"
Justice Sucks Is All About Nostalgia
Alongside this, Tang commented about Justice Sucks and its nostalgia factor for the team.
"Justice Sucks comes from a place of nostalgia, a lot of nostalgia from our childhoods. A lot of our team is in their late 20s/early 30s and we wanted to make a love letter to the kinds of games people used to make that we really love. Think PS1, N64, PS2, Xbox, GameCube, where games were a bit more experimental and a bit more wild/playful."
He then looked onward towards the indie scene as a whole. "A lot of stuff is quite self-serious these days - not that that’s bad, but it's been a while since we've had really goofy experimental and fun for the sake of fun games.
"But while the AAA games are getting more serious, the indies just wanna have and put that fun into the game so the players can share that. Support your local indie developers, every little bit counts!" Justice Sucks gives cleaning up a whole new meaning on Steam for $19.99/£15.99/$25 AUD.