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Twisted Pixel's LocoCycle takes inspiration from some crazy places

You may think, after watching the initial trailer, that Twisted Pixel pulled LocoCycle (in which you control a renegade robotic motorcycle that shoots and karate-chops its way across the country) out of some loony creative cauldron of its own making. But that's not quite true, says studio director Michael Wilford, showing the game for the first time at PAX Prime 2012. There is a very clear inspiration, he says, and it's Ice Cube's 2004 motorcycle racing movie, Torque.

"It's a really shitty movie," Wilford tells us. "It tries to be Fast and the Furious on motorcycles." Twisted Pixel's art director gave a copy of Torque to the company's chief creative officer, Josh Bear, one day as a joke, and Bear was directly influenced by a viewing, especially a scene where two women battle with motorcycles. "Josh had a nightmare that night," says Wilford with complete sincerity, "and woke up the next day and said, 'We have to make a game about a fighting motorcycle.'"

IRIS is the game's lead, a female motorcycle made by a group called Big Arms (a division of 'Splosion Man's Big Science, Wilford confirmed). She's gone a little nuts and thrown her rider, Pablo, to the ground behind her while trying escape her creators. "Short Circuit is a big inspiration too, actually," says Wilford, acknowledging similarities to that film's robot, Number Five.

As you can tell from the released videos, the game's really goofy. Pablo routinely shouts frantic lines in Spanish at IRIS as she weaves through traffic and fires with unlimited ammo on the cars in front of her. When the jetpack enemies finally appear, IRIS somehow vaults up into the air and starts beating down on them with her wheels, at one point even swinging Pablo around like a mace and bashing into enemies that way.

Wilford says he really enjoys the combat in Batman: Arkham City, and while Twisted Pixel hasn't completely finished the combat systems for LocoCycle, the team wants that counterattack/melee feel to be a big part of the game. "There's a lot of depth there if you want it," says Wilford. Currently, the buttons revolve around a few attacks and a counter button (which can also be used to counter some attacks during ranged combat), but as the game is developed the layout may change.

Lococycle goes a little nuts

What probably won't change is the deranged combo system. In just one sequence, IRIS is able to get the hit counter up to 66 hits in a row, which launches words like "Dominating!" and "Poetry!" onto the screen. In addition to the ranged fighting and the wheel-to-hand combat, the team is also working on gameplay built around stunt jumps and other special attacks.

As for a release date, Wilford says "2013 is as specific as we can get" right now. And though LocoCycle was announced during Microsoft's E3 press conference, Wilford also makes it plain that platforms for the game haven't been figured out yet. Twisted Pixel isn't sure if it's an XBLA title, a full retail title, or if the game belongs somewhere else. "We don't know yet," he says.

Wherever it ends up, LocoCycle definitely won't be short on the loco. There's already that robotic bike with the kung-fu skills, poor Pablo being constantly dragged behind, and the jetpack suits trying to take her down, but Wilford promises that, by the time the game is done, "there's going to be a lot more of that kind of crazy shit going on."