The Gunstringer

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The Gunstringer
Gunstringer boxart.png
PAL cover art
Developer(s) Twisted Pixel Games
Publisher(s) Microsoft Studios
Designer(s) Josh Bear, Dan Teasdale, Sean Riley, Alex Jones, Sean Conway
Engine Beard+Razor
Platform(s) Xbox 360
  • NA: September 13, 2011
  • EU: September 16, 2011
Genre(s) Third-person shooter, rail shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

The Gunstringer is a third-person rail shooter video game developed by Twisted Pixel Games and published by Microsoft Studios for Xbox 360 with Kinect. It was released on September 13, 2011 in North America and September 16, 2011 in Europe. It was originally planned as an Xbox Live Arcade release, but was later made into a full retail game.[1]


Players use Kinect to control the protagonist. One hand is held as though controlling a marionette while the other is used for aiming and firing the character's weapon.

The Gunstringer is a Kinect title which makes use of the player's body to control the game rather than a gamepad. The player controls the character's movement with their left hand, while the right is used to aim and fire the character's gun.[2] Players can mark multiple enemies to fire on and once the player makes a firing gesture all marked enemies are shot by the character.[2] Certain moments in the game are presented as a rail shooter and allow the player to use both hands to control two guns while the character moves along a pre-defined path.[3]


The Gunstringer is set as a play which takes place in the Old West. The game is played as though it were acted out on a theatre stage. It begins with live action footage in a theater (The Paramount Theater in Austin, TX) where people have attended to see the show.[2] The setting of the play revolves around a character known simply as The Gunstringer, an undead marionette sheriff betrayed by his posse. The game begins as he rises from his grave, bent on revenge.[2]

Development and marketing[edit]

The game was first announced February 1, 2011. A trailer showcasing elements of gameplay was released at that time.[4] Prior to the announcement developers Twisted Pixel Games shot live action footage to integrate with the game.[5] The video shoot took place at The Paramount Theatre in the developer's location of Austin, Texas.[5]

The character was designed by Josh Bear, President of Twisted Pixel Games. The idea was created during a meeting between Twisted Pixel and publisher Microsoft Studios. During a moment while Twisted Pixel were alone in the meeting they noticed a painting of an Old West-styled skeleton and decided to use it as a theme for their character.[6] Bear later revealed that the idea was fleshed out in the few minutes that the Microsoft Studios representative had left the table. Twisted Pixel's original idea could not be done with the capabilities Kinect then had and the team had to change the pitch quickly. "It was really cool, but it didn't have the fidelity to do what we wanted, it couldn't really track finger movements," Bear said. "I was like 'Oh shit, we're going to pitch this whole thing and they're gonna know that it's not possible with the hardware.'"[7]

The Gunstringer was distributed with a code to download an Xbox Live Arcade Kinect title, Fruit Ninja Kinect. A free downloadable content addon was also released, entitled Wavy Tube Man Chronicles.[8] Instead of the hybrid computer generated/live action presentation of the main game, this add on is Troma's live action FMV rail shooter in the vein of laserdisc games like Mad Dog McCree.[9] The soundtrack was also made available at no charge via the game's official website.[10]


Gunstringer has received overall positive ratings with a 77 on Metacritic.[11]


  1. ^ Chester, Nick (2011-06-07). "E3: The Gunstringer ditches XBLA, going retail". Destructoid. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hatfield, Daemon (2011-02-24). "Pulling Gunstringer's Strings". IGN. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  3. ^ Newton, James (2011-02-19). "Interviews: Twisted Pixel – The Gunstringer". Kinectaku. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  4. ^ Adams, Ross (2011-02-01). "Twisted Pixel reveals 'The Gunstringer', a western themed shooter for Kinect". XBLAFans. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  5. ^ a b Fletcher, JC (2011-01-26). "Twisted Pixel shooting video in Austin for unannounced game". Joystiq. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  6. ^ Tong, Sophia (2011-02-24). "The Gunstringer Michael Wilford Interview (Xbox 360)". GameSpot. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  7. ^ McElroy, Justin (2011-09-26). "The three terrifying minutes that created The Gunstringer". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  8. ^ Kietzmann, Ludwig (2011-09-13). "The Gunstringer's launch DLC free to all Xbox Live members on Sept. 20". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  9. ^ Mallory, Jordan (2011-09-12). "Watch the first 15 minutes of The Gunstringer's FMV DLC, 'Wavy Tubeman Chronicles'". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  10. ^ Mallory, Jordan (2011-09-17). "You must download The Gunstringer's soundtrack". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  11. ^ "The Gunstringer". Metacritic. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 

External links[edit]