You thought I forgot about Crab News Thursday, didn't you? Well I didn't. I was just waiting for the perfect Crab News to surface, and thanks to last week's Indie World presentation, I have finally found it: Another Crab's Treasure, the upcoming PC and Nintendo Switch game from Aggro Crab, the studio behind dystopian office-based dungeon crawler, Going Under. They describe the game as a "shells-like", which is to say that it's a (Dark) Souls-like... with a hermit crab for a protagonist.
So obviously I had to reach out to Aggro Crab for a totally legit crab-focused interview, in which we cover topics from the serious (like the mechanics of Another Crab's Treasure) to the silly (like how much crab merch they own)...
Nintendo Life: Important questions first: Why “shellslike” and not “shoalslike”?
Nick Kaman, Art Director & Studio Head: Shells are the central mechanic of the game so we wanted to call attention to them. But also we figured less people would know what a shoal is, trust me, we considered it.
We really want to make sure people know we're not just making this game for the memes, as much as we like our memes
Your last (and first!) game, Going Under, was not a crab game. Now, you’re making a crab game. Is this what the people wanted all along?
I think this is what the people want. We've worked tirelessly to curate an online audience of people who like crabs via daily crabposting, so at the very least this is what OUR people want. The thing is though, we really want to make sure people know we're not just making this game for the memes, as much as we like our memes. Like with our last project, there's a real story we're trying to tell here and a lot of love being poured into it, it just so happens to also be a crab game.
What was the initial pitch for Another Crab’s Treasure?
The initial pitch was just the core idea that you're a hermit crab who can wear different types of trash as shells to gain different abilities. The game mechanics, lore, characters, all came pretty naturally out of that.
You have to understand, this was a game I thought of over 6 years ago, we just didn't have the budget or talent yet to make it what it is now. The first prototype was a top-down mobile game because that's all I was comfortable making back then.
After Going Under, we needed to pitch publishers on a new project, so I brought the idea back, and what really made it exciting was the prospect of doing it as a Soulslike now that we had all our third-person combat experience from doing GU. Kowloon Nights liked the pitch and the rest is history!
Your merch is all crab-related. You even have crab furniture in the office. Do people buy you crab-related items for every birthday and Christmas? Are you tired of crabs yet?
I've gotten crab plushies, socks, earrings, no I'm not tired of it! Send more. Crabs are honestly so cool. There are plenty of other marine creatures in the game though. Imagine if it was JUST crabs? That would be silly.
It looks like there are going to be a lot of methods of traversal in the game – can you tell us about that? Also, is it called “Par-claw”? Like parkour? Yeah?
Yeah so visually the game is more reminiscent of a Nintendo game than a Soulslike, right? We wanted to lean into that by offering some fun methods of platforming, namely the jump & glide, grappling hook, and climbable surfaces. The focus is still on the combat though!
Going Under is abbreviated to GU. Another Crab’s Treasure is ACT. Are you trying to slowly spell out a Chipotle order with your game initials?
Pfftt indie devs can't afford guac(t)
You get this cool dynamic when you put this cute innocent little baby character against a harsh unforgiving Soulslike world
The art style of Another Crab’s Treasure is quite different to Going Under. How did you pick this new style? And since Going Under’s style was based on corporate “flat” art, does this new style tie in with the themes as well?
This time around we didn't have an obvious visual target like we did for Going Under, so the art style had a lot more of a gradual development. For the new look I knew I wanted more polish, but I also wanted it to look as far away from Dark Souls as possible, again, leaning more on Nintendo platformers as inspiration.
I think you get this cool dynamic when you put this cute innocent little baby character against a harsh unforgiving Soulslike world. It creates a feeling that you're ill-equipped for the challenges ahead, a bit like how most of us feel powerless against the pollution and changing climate in our world, yet are barrelling towards the reality of those issues regardless.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like the hermit crab’s choice of shell will grant different boons, like hardness of armour. How do you decide whether a mug is better than a can?
In this case, a ceramic mug is much heavier than a tin can, so wearing it makes you do a slower dodge roll but it has more health to make up for it. There are other basic stats as well and each shell has a special active ability so there's plenty we can differentiate them with!
Your Steam page says that there will be “Way Too Many Crabs”. How many crabs is too many crabs?
We just said that for marketing, to be honest there are never enough crabs.
How many crab puns have you put in the game? What’s the best one?
I like that our sushi swordsman boss from the trailer is named the Intimidation Crab.
Would you rather fight the Aggro Crab logo (who has a knife, and is angry), or a real-life spider crab with no knife?
I could never fight Aggie! I would lose.
Butter, or mayo?
Thank you to Nick Kamen for agreeing to do a crab interview, and to the team for making a crab game!
Another Crab's Treasure is destined for Nintendo Switch in 2023. Check out the Steam page for more info!
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