First Bit. Trip Core Interview
We’re amazingly lucky to be the first site ever to have an interview about the upcoming WiiWare title, Bit.Trip CORE. I got the chance to talk with Alex Neuse, videogame industry veteran and founder of Gaijin Games, the developers of the Bit.Trip series.
BA: So it’s great to talk with you again. How’s Bit.Trip BEAT perfoming like? Are you guys satisfied with the game.
Alex Neuse: Hey! It’s great to talk to you again too! I really enjoyed our last conversation, and I BETTER enjoy this one just as much. BIT.TRIP BEAT is performing wonderfully! The press loves the game, and as far as I can tell by reading blogs and comments, so do the majority of the players. We are very excited to have made a game that so many people seem to truly enjoy.
And we like the game a lot too! Which is always nice–to have worked on a game that you like.
BA: Yeah. So does CORE run on the same engine as BEAT?
Alex Neuse: CORE does run on the same engine as BEAT, albeit with some minor modifications to accommodate the totally new gameplay style.
BA: Could you explain the controls a little?
Alex Neuse: In CORE, we wanted to give the player a more… tactile experience. I’m not sure if “tactile” is the right word for it though. Basically in BEAT, the controls were very analog, very loosey-goosey. In CORE, every move you make is very direct. Very digital.
It is a control scheme that fits the theme of the story for the game quite well, and allows the player to push, push, push to the beat of the music and get that instant feedback. Whereas BEAT was more about being in the right place at the right time, CORE is about doing the right thing at the right time, if that makes sense.
To compare it to one of my favorite rhythm/music games, BEAT is more like the guitar solos in Gitarooman, whereas CORE is more like the defense sections.
BA: So why not motion controls? Is the story really that connected with the controls?
Alex Neuse: In the first game, CommanderVideo was traveling through the stars and into the planet on a journey from the ethereal to the physical. In CORE, he is strictly in the physical (and is having a difficult time adjusting to it, I might add). In this way it seemed much more appropriate to leave the motion controls behind. But don’t worry, they will make their way back into the series at some point. And if you have a keen eye, there just might be some motion control in CORE that you notice, although it has nothing to do with gameplay.
BA: Woah. Okay so was there anything that you guys learned from Bit.Trip BEAT that you plan to addressing/using on Core?
Alex Neuse: The biggest things that we learned from working on BEAT that we took over to CORE, the players won’t see, because it was all behind-the-scenes type stuff. For instance, we learned that having more focus testers come to the studio more often was just invaluable. Some great features in CORE resulted from these focus tests. I also learned that BEAT was WAY more difficult that I had originally thought. Now, mind you, I wanted BEAT to be hard, and CORE will be too. But I did try to tone it down just a tiny bit.
BA: What about the save system? If I remember correctly the save system was recently altered in BEAT.
Alex Neuse: Yeah, the save system in CORE has been altered, so if you beat a level in CORE, whether you make it on the high scores screen or not, the game will save.
BA: Oh cool. So from our previous conversation you did say there was going to be multiplayer. How does that work on this game since your onscreen representation is set in the middle?
Alex Neuse: The multiplayer experience in CORE makes the game easier than the multiplayer experience in BEAT did. A lot of the focus tests we did (you know, where we sit behind the mirror and watch the monkeys–er, our friends) showed that people liked multiplayer a lot better when it made the game much easier. So in CORE, we basically just give you two beams and let you rock out.
BA: Is this game still going to have four players?
Alex Neuse: It is not. CORE is either single player or 2-player.
BA: Oh okay. So is there going to be another penalty for doing badly?
Alex Neuse: We’ve implemented a new feature called “Game Over” when you do poorly. HA! In some ways I’m kidding, but in other ways I’m not. A lot of games these days have decided against giving the player a good old-fashioned “Game Over”, and you know what? I personally miss the little bugger. But in CORE, we deal with penalties the same way as in BEAT. Miss Beats and you fill your Nether Meter. However, in CORE, we’ve added another Mode above Mega, so you can miss more Beats before you fail.
Battery Acid: Sounds interesting. So why this time did you guys decide to not really go with a secretive sort of advertisement. Was this because you felt that BEAT had established enough of a fanbase and interest?
Alex Neuse: I’m going to be perfectly honest with you on this one. Are you ready?
Battery Acid: Yes. Totally ready.
Alex Neuse: We didn’t have the time. And my ambitions for that campaign were huge. At the end of the day, we are but three men. : (
I will tell you though, that viral video we did was only the first chapter in a much bigger story. I really hope we get to tell it someday, because it will make a lot more sense that way. : )
BA: How about in the future, if the money’s there, you guys make a disc collection of the series with the movies in as well? I’d definitely buy that even after buying them seperate.
Alex Neuse: I like where you’re going with this idea…
BA: I know, I’m just awesome like that. Just kidding. So is downloadable songs an option in this game?
Alex Neuse: Downloadable songs aren’t in the cards. As cool as that feature sounds, we don’t really have the bandwidth for that feature, and as such have focused on strong experiences with the songs that come with the game.
BA: So there might not be a chance to make our own songs either?
Alex Neuse: Yeah, there might not. ; )
BA: Hmm… so will there be bosses again?
Alex Neuse: Oh, there are bosses. There’s one super pretty boss, one very hard boss, and one very fun boss. Each has an element of the others in it, but I wanted to give each a unique feel.
After you play the game, email me and let me know which you think is which.
BA: Sounds great. So how much of the game is complete?
Alex Neuse: As of this writing, we are putting the final touches on the game, so it’s pretty much complete, give or take a little spit here, and a little polish there.
BA: Okay with that question I guess this interview comes to a close. Any final words?
Alex Neuse: My final words are this:
BA: I’m in anticipation…
Alex Neuse: Fans of BEAT, get ready for a whole new experience. The world is familiar, but the gameplay challenges are mind-bending. I hope you enjoy CORE as much as we do.
BA: Thanks again for the interview!
Alex Neuse: Dude, anytime.
I’m pretty lucky to get the first interview to a game. So yay for me! I’d really like to thank Alex Neuse because he really helped my site to launch and he’s helping me some more by allowing me to have the first interview for Bit.Trip CORE.
Remember to visit the official page of Gaijin Games for all their happenings.
He also really did mean it when he said to email him. Just don’t bother him too much when you buy CORE.