Twisted Pixel Games Interview – Post ‘Splosion Man Release
Another interview with Twisted Pixel! This time with TWG’s CEO/Co-founder, Michael Wilford. What I love about indie developers is that even the highest, most important people still talk to nobodies like me. To all indie developers that have spoken with me, stay cool guys!!!
BA: I know it’s a bit early but how have the sales of ‘Splosion Man been?
Michael Wilford: Pretty good, judging by the leaderboards, which as you know is at least a rough indication of how well a game is doing. I think we breached 50 thousand leaderboard entries in the first week, so we’re really excited about that.
BA: Awesome. It’s just something I wanted to ask. Anyway, how hard was it to complete the game in time for Summer of Arcade?
Michael Wilford: Heh, good question. On one hand, it wasn’t that hard because we never missed our milestones and stuck to the schedule we came up with at the start of the project. On the other hand, it took a ton of work to actually make those dates. We worked really hard.
Our first game, The Maw, came out pretty much 6 months to the day before Splosion Man, so obviously we didn’t have a lot of time.
BA: Was it difficult to keep the quality intact with 100 levels to make?
Michael Wilford: Yeah, that was a major concern of ours – that making 100 levels in so little time, and based around a pretty simple game mechanic, would make for some pretty repetitive or uninteresting levels. It was a worry we all had and I have to say our level designers really kicked ass.
It turns out that the level design is one of the strongest points of the game, thanks to them. But with so little time, they were sometimes cranking out a level per day.
BA: Wow it sounds intense. So why did you choose such a simple game mechanic for the game?
Michael Wilford: As a company, we believe in making games more accessible. Games are getting too hard to play and the rift is getting too large between hardcore gamers that want to play 100 hour epics using 30 button controllers and the casual gamer that wants a cool experience with high production values but doesn’t want all the complexity.
So we try to make all our games easy to pick up and play, and yet, they can still be challenging.
BA: I like that philosophy. Besides the number of levels, were there any other roadblocks that slowed the game’s development?
Michael Wilford: Not really… the biggest challenge was definitely just ranking out enough content in the short time we had. Hahah.
BA: That’s good to hear. So how did you guys feel about Microsoft letting go of the 150 mb file restriction? Did you guys find it a blessing or did it make you guys feel obligated to go passed 150 mb?
Michael Wilford: I think we could have made ‘Splosion Man fit into 150 MB if we had to, but it would have taken a lot of our time away from gameplay and polish and some of the graphics and audio wouldn’t be as crisp. So for us, it’s definitely nice to have more wiggle room and focus on making the game as awesome as possible.
BA: I just have to say when it comes to the comedy in your games it’s just “right”. Sometimes when stuff like comic relief is put into games or stories it just feels forced and unfunny. How do you guys do it so well?
Michael Wilford: Honestly, that’s a good question. I’m not sure I know the answer to that. All I can say is that we don’t try to put comedy into the game just for the sake of it. There’s no script, we’re not planning on the game being funny. We just have a really good time making the game and when someone has a funny idea for something they’d like to do in the game, mostly just because it would make them laugh, we went for it. The end result is something totally ridiculous that somehow works.
I’ll add that much of the comedy in the game comes from Josh Bear, our CCO and Director. The sense of humor is his, for the most part, which is pretty twisted, and I can understand how some people just won’t get it. Hahah.
BA: Hehe. So I know that DLC wasn’t much of a focus during development of ‘Splosion Man but do you have any ideas or plans for any extra content now that the game has released?
Michael Wilford: We’re thinking about it, but nothing to announce yet. If we do it, we want it to be something pretty special and cool.
BA: On your website page it mentions that Twisted Pixel Games is working on an MMO with a high-profile studio. Is there anything you can hint the fans on what it will be like or is everything highly classified at the moment?
Michael Wilford: Since the project doesn’t belong to us, there’s not a lot we can say. Though, I can say that we recently finished our contributions to the project, so we are no longer involved and are anxious to see it released.
BA: So any plans for the future? Are you guys resting up for awhile or is the next game from Twisted Pixel Games already in some form of development?
Michael Wilford: Once we submitted to cert we snuck in a quick rest, and now we’re back at it again on a whole new game idea. It is the most ambitious concept we’re ever worked on, and I think it’s going to blow people away. Nothing to show yet, though.
BA: Sweet! So was there anything in ‘Splosion Man that was planned but never put in?
Michael Wilford: More levels! Hahah… but we had to sleep. Other than that, we had some more boss ideas and stuff that we would have liked to put in there.
Maybe they’ll find their way into DLC or perhaps an eventual sequel, if there is one.
BA: Well that’s all I have in terms of questions. Do you have any final remarks or people to thank?
Michael Wilford: Yeah, I’d like to thank everyone else on the ‘Splosion Man team. Sean, Mike, Dave, Marshall, Josh, Frank, Conway, John, Lynn, and the rest of the dudes. The game is what it is because they all loved it so much.
If you haven’t checked it out, you owe it to yourself to at least try what will most probably be the most ridiculous and funny game you’ve ever played.