By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee & Steven Verbeek on April 29, 2015

Steven Verbeek is the owner of Belgian based game developer: Crazy Monkey Studios, the driving force behind the game: Guns, Gore and Cannoli. The first time we met him was at Epicon 2014. Back then, he was all dressed up like a member of the mafia. He looked like he just stepped out of the world of his own game. Guns, Gore and Cannoli is a action / platform / shooting game about mafia, zombies and lots (and yes, we mean LOTS) of bullets. Now some months have passed and just before this excellent game is released on April 30, Steven freed up some time in his busy schedule to talk to us about it.

First off: thanks for making time for us. I can only imagine you guys are very busy at the moment?

We are very busy indeed, although the game is actually finished. We uploaded the game this week for reviewers and extra testing by beta-testers. At this moment we're fully concentrating on marketing and polishing some graphic details and fixing a few minor bugs. Just to make everything as neat as possible.

Why did you want to make a game about Mafia and zombies?

Actually, the idea for the game already emerged in 2008 when we first started with the concept and prototypes of this game. The zombie-hype was already on full speed so it was kind of obvious to make a cool zombie game. We asked ourselves: "what would make a great zombie story? Who would have the most chance of surviving a zombie-apocalypse?" Regular people don't have guns. The army, Rednecks, the police... they all seemed too obvious. The guys who really would be able to fend off hordes of living dead relatives would be stone-cold, fearless, armed-to-the-teeth gangsters. To make things more interesting we made up a cool story, set in the roaring 20's.
Unfortunately we didn't have enough resources and manpower back then to make Guns, Gore & Cannoli. The game was put on ice for a couple of years, until we felt we were capable to make it as it should be.

Guns, that's obvious... Gore, absolutely! But what about the Cannoli?

The idea popped up accidentally actually. We were having trouble finding a good, original title for the game. We needed to find something that would immediately make it clear that this was meant to be a mixture of a bloody zombie-shooter that doesn't take itself too seriously and hilarious cartoony humor. It had to say: zombies, mafia, fun and action. The initial name was: Guts, Gore and Spaghetti meatballs. But we altered it to Guns, Gore and Cannoli, since most people link cannoli to the famous quote from the Godfather 'Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.' The health pickups in the game initially were a variety of Italian dishes but we narrowed it down to just the cannoli. Naming the main character, Vinnie Cannoli, seemed a great way to give the title this extra layer.
For the people who don't know what cannoli is, it is a Sicilian pastry dessert. A tube-shaped cookie is filled with ricotta cheese and often has a chocolate topping.

We played this game several times, at Epicon, Gamescom and Firstlook. So we at dare to say, that we're prepared for this. What's the best advice you can give to all the gamers who didn't play this game before?

Well, don't hesitate and go buy it as soon as it is available on the Steam store on April 30th! It's a fun action shooter with lots of great humor. In contrast with other zombie games you won't play the nice guy who's struggling to survive the zombie-apocalypse. You'll play a though, merciless mobster with very flexible ethics. You can blow up pretty much everything in the scenery and shoot everyone you cross without any consequences. The story doesn't completely revolve around the zombies but more around the Mafiosi trying to take advantage of the situation to get themselves ahead in life. You'll face zombies, rival gangsters, sewer-monsters, soldiers and many more cool characters. And as a bonus: you can team up with 3 buddies who can join you in the fight through the 4-player, local co-op mode incorporated in the game.

At the where we visited your booth, you looked like a mafia member. Is it rented especially for the events or are you a secret member of the mafia?

Haha. We're actually very nice guys with no history of violence whatsoever. I can't speak for everyone of the team though. No, I'm just kidding. The mafia outfits we wear are mainly parts of suits. We bought some vintage hats and dug up some old school machine guns to make it complete.
The dressing up as a gangster is just an extra feature to attract more attention to our game booth at the events. It's one thing to go to an event as a developer, but people appreciate it that you really make the effort to make it fun and do some 'Cos-play' while you're at it. Taking a picture with the dev is also much more appealing to them when you're holding a Tommy gun, I reckon.

We haven't seen the game since Firstlook (October 2014). What happened after 2014 in terms of development?

Wow, that's been a while. There has been immensely much stuff added to the game since then. We added extra weapons and enemies. There were only 7 levels finished back then I think. Today we have 12 levels in the game and we embellished the existing levels. We added some boss-fights to the game and we did all the cinematics in the meantime. Extra one-liners and special effects were added and the gameplay got fine-tuned. In October we still had a long way to go. Today we are ready to launch a game that is ready for the market.

How many people were needed to develop Guns, Gore and Cannoli?

Our team consists of 4 people, two for the programming, two for the art. During the final months of the development we have had some interns to help us out a bit; one for the programming and the other to help us with marketing, which is a very underestimated task.

What does the future hold for Crazy Monkey Studio's and the Claeys Brothers?

Of course it will depend greatly on the sales of Guns, Gore & Cannoli, but our main focus for the near future will be releasing the game on Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U in the next quarter of this year. We believe this game lends itself very well to consoles. In the mean time we'll be working on extra content for the pc-version too.
After that we have a modest budget ready to do a follow-up on Guns Gore & Cannoli. If well received, we have a fun idea for a sequel but it isn't said it will once more be a zombie-shooter. It might be a completely different game but with a very similar art style and humor. But for now, we'll just have to wait and see what the future has in store for us.

We would like to thank Steven Verbeek for taking the time to do this interview with us. We also would like to thank him and everyone at Crazy Monkey Studios and Claeys Brothers for making an absolutely awesome game that we will certainly be playing for hours on end! So in conclucion, the only advice we at DumeeGamer can give you is the same as Steven's: Go and buy this game as soon as it's available on Steam... You won't regret it!

We would also like to extend our sincerest apologies for the shakiness of the picture with Steven and Diana in it. It seems our photographer got a little too excited. But rest assured he will be dealt with... Mafia style!

Owner of Crazy Monkey Studios
Interested in purchasing Guns, Gore & Cannoli? You can buy it right here on Steam from April 30, 2015. You can read all about Crazy Monkey Studios on the Crazy Monkey Studios website, Facebook, Twitter, or the Guns, Gore & Cannoli Website.