When I started Dangercube I had a couple of design goals in mind. Weirdly enough, the initial impetus came from playing Camel Up! – I game I didn’t expect to like as much as I did – and then wanting to make a game about betting which was a little more involved. The sort of wasteland or high-tech arenas you see in a lot of R-Rated sci-fi seemed like a great sort of setting for this.
I’m also lucky enough to have a friend who is an exceptional graphic designer and character artist who likes post-apocalyptic and cyberpunk stuff. So, knowing he had a bit of a penchant for brutal Ameritrash games, I thought that with him in mind as a potential artist in future – I’d design a game with him in mind as the target audience. Side note: I’d highly recommend trying to design with a specific person in mind – especially if your tastes don’t always line up.
I’d watched some videos of Spartacus being played and read about some other gladiatorial combat games. I wanted to make something lighter and a bit less dice-rolly and simulationist, with the emphasis mainly on the hidden agendas of the players themselves.
After I’d tested out a few different mechanics, I ended up settling on a glossy cyberpunk (or more specifically “neon-punk”) setting for the game. While a post-apocalyptic wasteland arena would be identical to the Roman model in a lot of ways, a corporate-sponsored futuristic bloodsport hints toward elements like heavy body modification, with players acting more as corporate sponsors and, therefore, not necessarily “owning” any one fighter outright.