We at www.JoypadAndMe.com are very happy to have been able to get a chance to have an interview with the team from DrinkBox Studios. DrinkBox are the developers of some of the best indie games I have personally played and their title, Tales From Space: Mutant Blob Attacks is one of my favorite titles for the Playstation Vita.
We managed to get a chance to ask Chris McQuinn a few questions about the Tales From Space titles as well as themselves and here are their responses.
Q) How long did it the storyline for the Tales from space titles take to develop?
A) Storylines for us are often works in progress, so I’d say they’re never really done. 🙂 For Mutant Blobs Attack we really wanted to make a more cohesive storyline – and this really went hand in hand with the new growth mechanic that was implemented. Since the Blob never shrunk (as opposed to the first game), it was easier to have a story grow since our main character was always growing.
Q) Why did you choose to go for a 50’s B movie style for these games? Did you think about any other styles before you chose the final style?
A) 50’s B style just seemed to make the most sense for a main character who eats everything. Additionally, if that wasn’t enough to go on, our Creative Director has a fascination/love with the ridiculousness of the 50’s and created a great stylistic art style to go with it.
Q) Who decided to give the main character blob the grumpy/angry persona? Was this part of the original storyline development or was this created as the game was in development?
A) After the first game the studio generally felt that the Blob was a bit on the cute side, and the team was hoping to push for a more edgy Blob. This also seemed to make more sense with the kind of actions being done by the player: eating people, cars, buildings, etc. I mean, if you’re going to eat a building full of people, you have to be a little bit disgruntled right?
Q) With regards to the art style of both titles, who or what pushed you towards the more cartoon based style with the bright colours and a personal favorite touch, the blob himself with expressive eyes but no mouth?
A) The whole studio puts their 2 cents in on a regular basis when it comes to reviewing proposed art styles and what not, but our Creative Director was the major influence for the style. Not having a mouth just made sense – I mean, the Blob absorbs everything through the skin, so why need a mouth? Am I right?
Q) Who made the decision to produce a game for the PlayStation Vita? Was it an easy decision to make?
A) Sony had approached us with the offer to put out a game for this “new handheld”, and after seeing the initial specs of the system, the team got pretty excited. The combination of dual thumb sticks, with a touch screen, meant we could really push the boundaries of what a platformer was supposed to be. Also to have a launch title would be the first for the studio – so ya, in the end, it was a pretty easy decision.
Q) How did you come up with the price point for the games? Were there ever any thoughts about making it a disk based title over a download only game?
A) We knew it’d be a downloadable game from the start. A disc based title is just too costly for a small indie studio like ours. The price point did have some debate, but in the end we wanted to offer a title that really represented a good deal. Nothing is worse than finishing a game only to realize it was worth ½ of what you actually paid for it. This happens all too often.
Q) Have you considered extending Mutant Blobs Attack into the mobile gaming world on platforms such as IOS devices?
A) We’re definitely interested in the iOS marketplace. It’s exciting to have access to such a huge user base! Is it possible something “Mutant Blobs Attack” could end up on iOS in some manner? For sure.
Q) Were there any special abilities for the blob that you worked on but decided in the end to leave out?
A) Tons. Some were good ideas, some were terrible ideas. 🙂 One of my favorite powers that never made it into the game was the ability for the Blob to morph into any object that was absorbable. We had the Blolb morphing into little triangles, and hopping all over the place. Quite amusing.
Q) Have you come across any difficulties or advantages being a smaller developer when creating your games as opposed to the much larger development companies?
A) Ya, I think there are always pros and cons when being in an indie studio. For example, in the summer, our office gets REAL hot – upwards of 36C (around 96F for my friends down south). That’s a con if you weren’t too sure. But, there are pros – like everyone on the team being able to have a major impact on the direction of the game. None of us work on one small aspect of our games, but rather the game in it’s entirety.
Q) Do you have plans for any further sequels to the mutant blobs or are you planning to focus on a different project?
A) Currently the majority of the team is focusing their efforts on our newest title Guacamelee (www.guacamelee.com). This game is looking really great, and the reception so far (PaxEast) has been extremely encouraging.
After checking out some game footage of Guacamelee i can safetly say that I cant wait to get my hands on this title and it will be a day one purchase for me. These guys have a great art style and fantastic sense of how to put a fun game together and it looks like this same ability continues into their next title. Check out the video and see for yourself.
Again, I would like to think the guys at DrinkBox Studios and Chris McQuinn for taking the time to answer some questions and let us know about their new upcoming title. DrinkBox Studios becomes www.JoypadAndMe.com’s first developer interview and hopefully when Guacamelee is released we can talk to them again.
follow DrinkBox Studios on twitter: @DrinkBoxStudios