Interview: Musashi vs Cthulhu Combines Cthulhu Lore With Combat Style From One Finger Death Punch

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Musashi vs Cthulhu - via Cyber Rhino Studios

If there is one game that combines fast-paced action in a 2D genre, then Musashi vs Cthulhu is never an exception. With the feudal Japanese world and blood-spilling action, Musashi vs Cthulhu is the next step in the Beat ’em Up genre and promises a rewarding experience. On top of that, an engaging storyline pushes the experience even further with a significant challenge as players progress to endgame content. 

The game allows players to take on a Japanese character, Musashi, and his struggle for survival. Throughout the gameplay, you will encounter multiple hordes of enemies and monsters. Plus, a state-of-the-art leaderboard enables players to feel the challenge of ranking above the players by mastering the combat on their favorite monsters. To discover more, we reached out to Sandro Tomasetti, developer of Musashi vs Cthulhu, over an email interview. 

Musashi vs Cthulhu - via Cyber Rhino Studios
Musashi vs Cthulhu – via Cyber Rhino Studios

Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your role on Musashi vs Cthulhu.

Sandro: My name is Sandro Tomasetti. I’ve been working on video games since 2005 (Almost 20 Years now.. I can’t even believe it myself). During these years, I worked in various games, from casual to MMOs, and in various roles, from QA and dev to Game Design and Production.

During the development of Musashi vs Cthulhu, I did a bit of everything (as most indie devs do), I just tend to keep away from sound and art because it would be a disservice hahaha.

The game blends elements of Japanese culture and Lovecraftian horror. How did you approach the art and design to reflect this unique combination?

Sandro: Great question! I’m not sure I’m the best one to respond to that (because I’m not the Art guy), but I’ll give it a go. When we decided on the theme and characters, we decided to follow the following premise: What If Cthulhu had arrived in Japan? What would its influences be on their artists and people?

So, in the end, we tried to fit the Cthulhu setting’s mood into Japanese art style and culture; for example, on the drawings, we used older mangas and broad paint brushes as a reference, and for the music, we used a lot of Japanese instruments like the Taiko (drum) and Fue (flute). We also followed the same when designing the enemies.

The cultist is the one that carries more on that front due to its “human” nature. We made some tests on the other monsters (for example, a Carp Deep One) but, in the end, decided that the monsters themselves were more universal and would take a similar form anywhere in the world.

Musashi vs Cthulhu - via Cyber Rhino Studios
Musashi vs Cthulhu – via Cyber Rhino Studios

What kind of research or inspiration did you draw upon to accurately portray Musashi and integrate the Cthulhu mythos?

Sandro: We made sure that most of the developers had at least a bit of contact with some of the more classical portraits of Musashi (Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa, Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue, or The Book of Five Rings by Musashi himself) and also a bit of contact with Lovecraftian literature (or at least an RPG adventure under their belt hahaha).

In my opinion, It’s super important to be immersed in the lore of what you are portraying.

The overall concept of Musashi vs Cthulhu has always been unique and engaging. Can you shed light on what sets it apart from other 2D action games?

Sandro: I’d say that what sets it apart is the mood and the challenge. In essence, we tried to use a known formula of gameplay (from One Finger Death Punch) and changed it a bit so it would convey more of the feeling of dread of fighting an uphill battle.

That’s why we added the weak spots, as to demand more precision from our Ronin wannabes, and also why we chose to do the game as an Endless mode… after all, Cthulhu might be delayed, but in the end, it is inevitable.

Musashi vs Cthulhu - via Cyber Rhino Studios
Musashi vs Cthulhu – via Cyber Rhino Studios

The audio design has also been a prominent feature of Musashi vs Cthulhu. What was your approach behind the audio, so it feels natural and action-packed fitting the overall theme?

Sandro: Again, I don’t feel I’m the most qualified to answer that. We at Cyber Rhino Studios believe in our partner developers and give them a lot of freedom to work as they please.

Audio was no different… The only guidance we gave was that it felt visceral and real… in the end, I entrusted this feeling to the Audio team, and they did a superb job, in my opinion :).

Were there any particular technical challenges you faced during the development of MxC, especially given the game's fast-paced nature?

Sandro: Every project has a set of challenges; in this particular one, I’d say they were rarely technical. The Dev team came up with a way to do the gameplay “isolated” from the art so it runs in a very fast and efficient system with the art layer above it.

The challenges in this project were more management and availability. Hence it took quite a while to be finished.

Intense Combat
Musashi vs Cthulhu – via Cyber Rhino Studios

 Now that the game is approaching its final launch, how do you think that the community has shaped the game from early access to final release?</span>

Sandro: We didn’t have a super big community behind the EA, but a very active and accessible one. I loved every chat and every feedback that our players gave us, from testing new mechanics to helping with the difficulty curve. Most of the feelings you can experience today in the game are due to their involvement.

 Are there any plans for expansions or sequels to MxC?

Sandro: Tale as old as time, we designed and planned much more than we managed to do. We are hoping that Musashi vs Cthulhu gets a good reception from the players so we can keep improving it and adding content.

All that was promised during the early access was done, but a story mode, for example, would be a dream come true.

Musashi vs Cthulhu - via Cyber Rhino Studios
Musashi vs Cthulhu – via Cyber Rhino Studios

How many developers actively worked on the game?

Sandro: We had 4 people working full-time on the project in the core development stage, which took around 6 to 8 months. There were also 10+ people doing some part of the project, like a particular animation that the core development team couldn’t make in time or a feature that was added after the main developer left the project.

At the very end of the project, we had a team of 7+ to make the porting for consoles. But only 1 person (me) was available for the whole project duration trying to keep everything on track… it was kinda madness, haha.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

Sandro: Enjoy Musashi vs Cthulhu. It was made with a lot of effort and joy!

Musashi vs Cthulhu is a fast-paced action game developed by Cyber Rhino Studios and published by QUByte Interactive. The game was released on 

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