PAL cover art
|Developer(s)||Twisted Pixel Games|
|Designer(s)||Josh Bear, Dan Teasdale, Sean Riley, Alex Jones, Sean Conway|
|Genre(s)||Third person shooter, Rail Shooter|
The Gunstringer is a third-person rail shooter video game developed by Twisted Pixel Games and published by Microsoft Studios for Xbox 360 with Kinect. It was released on September 13, 2011 in North America and September 16, 2011 in Europe. It was originally planned as an Xbox Live Arcade release, but was later made into a full retail game.
The Gunstringer is a Kinect title which makes use of the player's body to control the game rather than a gamepad. The player controls the character's movement with their left hand, while the right is used to aim and fire the character's gun. Players can mark multiple enemies to fire on and once the player makes a firing gesture all marked enemies are shot by the character. Certain moments in the game are presented as a rail shooter and allow the player to use both hands to control two guns while the character moves along a pre-defined path.
The Gunstringer is set as a play which takes place in the Old West. The game is played as though it were acted out on a theatre stage. It begins with live action footage in a theater (The Paramount Theater in Austin, TX) where people have attended to see the show. The setting of the play revolves around a character known simply as The Gunstringer, an undead marionette sheriff betrayed by his posse. The game begins as he rises from his grave, bent on revenge.
Development and marketing
The game was first announced February 1, 2011. A trailer showcasing elements of gameplay was released at that time. Prior to the announcement developers Twisted Pixel Games shot live action footage to integrate with the game. The video shoot took place at The Paramount Theatre in the developer's location of Austin, Texas.
The character was designed by Josh Bear, President of Twisted Pixel Games. The idea was created during a meeting between Twisted Pixel and publisher Microsoft Studios. During a moment while Twisted Pixel were alone in the meeting they noticed a painting of an Old West-styled skeleton and decided to use it as a theme for their character. Bear later revealed that the idea was fleshed out in the few minutes that the Microsoft Studios representative had left the table. Twisted Pixel's original idea could not be done with the capabilities Kinect then had and the team had to change the pitch quickly. "It was really cool, but it didn't have the fidelity to do what we wanted, it couldn't really track finger movements," Bear said. "I was like 'Oh shit, we're going to pitch this whole thing and they're gonna know that it's not possible with the hardware.'"
The Gunstringer was distributed with a code to download an Xbox Live Arcade Kinect title, Fruit Ninja Kinect. A free downloadable content addon was also released, entitled Wavy Tube Man Chronicles. Instead of the hybrid computer generated/live action presentation of the main game, this add on is Troma's live action FMV rail shooter in the vein of laserdisc games like Mad Dog McCree. The soundtrack was also made available at no charge via the game's official website.
Gunstringer has received overall positive ratings with a 77 on Metacritic.
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