Bloody martial arts movie Boy Kills World spawned a real-world fighting game

When beat-’em-up action-thriller Boy Kills World comes to movie theaters later this month, it will arrive alongside something of a modern rarity: a day-and-date video game tie-in. In the case of Boy Kills World, which stars Bill Skarsgård as the titular Boy and The Raid’s Yayan Ruhian as his martial arts mentor, the licensed game is Super Dragon Force Punch 3, an original fighting game based on the film.

Adding to the uniqueness of the tie-in, Super Dragon Force Punch 3 serves as the fictional follow-up to a video game in the film, Super Dragon Force Punch 2 — the game that Skarsgård’s character, who becomes deaf during the events of the movie, bases his inner voice on. For the real-life sequel, Super Dragon Force Punch 3’s creators are aiming for more than just a promotional tie-in. They’re developing the game to be competitive and regularly updated.

Super Dragon Force Punch 3 will be released on Windows PC and mobile platforms on April 26 in an open beta. It’s the debut title from Talent Digital Art, a developer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The fighting game’s roster includes some of the movie’s leads, including Skarsgård’s Boy and Jessica Rothe’s June 27, alongside a handful of others. The gameplay trailer for SDFP3 shows off characters SK, Yazya, Marlo, Jace, and Deb as part of the roster.

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Talent Digital Art was founded in 2019, the studio’s creative director, Matthew-Judd Fitzjohn, told Polygon in an interview. The developer got access to the script for Boy Kills World and thought, Fitzjohn said, “wouldn’t it be such a cool opportunity if we were to deepen the experience and immersion of this universe by actually building out the really cool sounding but fake game in the film.”

“It’s really about letting each thing be its own thing,” he explained, “but hopefully giving the consumer or at least someone who’s going to watch both the film and play the game — and we encourage you to do both — a deeper feeling experience in terms of the world we’re trying to create.”

The goal, TDA CEO Tanya Brits said, is “to create games that are effortlessly enjoyable” and to express the identity and interests of its multicultural South African team. “We wanted to give ourselves enough creative freedom where we can develop really cool fighting mechanics that are difficult to master, but also make sure that the game is easy to get into,” Brits said.

Super Dragon Force Punch 3 is designed to be pick up and play, Fitzjohn said, and is free to play. “Our hope and desire for the game is really just to open it up to people that might not necessarily be able to experience fighting games, because maybe the box price is just a little too steep,” Fitzjohn said.

The developers behind SDFP3 are also aiming for depth.

“We’ve been really passionate about partnering with the [fighting game community] in building this out,” Fitzjohn said. “And they’re such a wonderful community, super passionate, but also just so willing to give their feedback, both the local members of the FGC but also international members.

“We’re trying to maintain a level of technicality that encourages you to spend time with the character and get to know them, but also presenting all the mechanics in a way that I can jump straight in with [friends] and just bash some buttons and have some fun.”

The story of Boy Kills World, the movie, sends Skarsgård’s Boy on a quest for vengeance against Famke Janssen’s Hilda Van Der Koy, who is described by the film’s creators as a “deranged matriarch of a corrupt post-apocalyptic dynasty.” Guided by Yayan Ruhian’s shaman character, Boy battles Van Der Koy’s henchmen in hyper-violent martial arts battles and aligns himself with a resistance group. The movie also stars Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Sharlto Copley (District 9), Andrew Koji (Warrior), and H. Jon Benjamin (as Boy’s inner voice).

Boy Kills World comes to theaters on April 26. Super Dragon Force Punch 3 is expected to be available in an open beta form the same day on Steam and mobile app stores.

This post was originally published on Polygon

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