Exclusive Interview with Bloober Team – We talk A-Men 2 & Indie Development
We sat down with Marc Colhoun from Bloober Team and asked him about their upcoming title, A-Men 2 which released this week, alongside some of their future releases including Basement crawl and discussed Indie development in general. Oh and read on to hear how you can have a chance at winning at PS4!
Stephen: I guess let’s start with where it all began. How did you get into game development?
Bloober Team: Well, with this company I work with the community side of things. The developers here have a real passion for what they do and had a few projects going before the company started. Since then we have grown from strength to strength. As with all companies we started with small projects but eventually found our niche through difficult platformers and (as you can see from Basement Crawl) dark atmospheres.
This dark theme is something that we will continue on in further projects we are working on but I can’t really say much about them right now.
Stephen Jackson: Being based in Poland, does that have any disadvantages to being situated in a country such as the US or UK for example?
Bloober Team: I would say that a few years ago this may have been true but right now Poland is a great place to be for game developers. With the guys behind Dead Island, Dying Light, The witcher and Sniper: Ghost Warrior it really is the place to be in Europe right now. Poland really is the gaming capital of central Europe.
Marius: How did you guys come together as a team?
Bloober Team: That in itself is a pretty long story, the short version is that there were a few different projects going on, and a few different companies, we then eventually formed one company with a few sister companies rather than having some different developers occassionally working together on a project.
Stephen Jackson: What is the best part about being an Indie Studio? What are the advantages, and equally what are the disadvantages?
Bloober Team: The advantages and disadvantages kind of balance themselves out. When we see AAA titles come out and gain success pretty easily it can be a little disheartening, a bit David and Goliath. On the other hand, we get to make the games that we want. We don’t have to worry about it being appealing enough to every demographic. In fact with ‘A-Men 2’ our PS3 and Vita release we openly admit; This is not a game for everyone.
Stephen Jackson: Talking of A-Men 2, what type of game is it for those who are unaware or haven’t heard of it?
Bloober Team: A-Men 2 is a puzzle platformer with a nostalgic feel of for example Lemmings or The Lost Vikings. You can control 5 classes; Spy, Muscleman, Engineer, Private and commando. Each has their own special ability and will enable you to approach levels in a particular way. The game is not easy, but it is all about making good decisions, thinking quickly and acting quicker. It is frustrating, and addictive and when you realise what you should do and how to do it, you feel like you have done something great and accomplished something.
Stephen: How long did a game such as A-Men 2 take to develop and were there any hurdles you had to overcome? What is the process for getting the game onto PlayStation Network for example?
Bloober Team: The hurdles that really stuck out for us were AI and level design. The AI can really make or break the game so we needed it to be not just good, but perfect. This took a lot of hours of testing levels again and again until we were sure there were no more creases. Then with level design… This is obviously integral to a platformer game and the way we went though this was by starting with sketches and some ideas this way and then but building a basic map using this design and seeing how it would work. We got rid of a lot of levels this way for one reason or another so the 44 that we have are ones that we simply could not find a problem with.
Also to getting the game onto PSN, I wasn’t personally responsible for this but the process involves almost no magic at all We converse with Sony and hope that our game passes the QA. If it does then we can start working out a deal for promotion and PSN
Stephen Jackson: Do you have any plans to bring A-Men 2 to other platforms such as PC? If not do you intend to create games on other platforms at some point in the future are you focusong in PlayStation at the moment?
Bloober Team: At the moment we have a few projects going so at the minute there are no plans to take A-men 2 to the PC. As for our future games, our main focus is on the Vita, PS3 and PS4 the reason for this is simply because we feel that this is where the majority of people who would enjoy games that are so challenging are. For this reason you should not rule out PC development from us in the future.
Stephen Jackson: As well as A-Men 2 which is releasing this week, you also have another game in development called Basement Crawl? What type of game is this and when will it be available?
Bloober Team: Basement Crawl will be a title for the PS4, it has a much darker atmosphere. It will incorporate the same principles we have on difficulty but it is quite twisted. I can’t give away too much but there is a trailer to tease you and we are currently working on a gameplay trailer so, watch this space
Stephen: How has the current economic climate affected game development in general and sales? Have you guys felt it?
Bloober Team: That’s a pretty good question, I wouldn’t say that it has greatly affected us, I am no economist but I have a few theories as to why that is. I think that video games are great for escapism, any time I am having a tough time I’ll throw something on for a few hours (helping people out on GTA:O always cheers me up) so when something as bad as the economic downturn happens not once but twice as it did in many countries, we have that friendly warmth of video games to help us forget. *GTA: Online
But as I said that is just my own thoughts on it
Interested in winning a PS4?
If you pick up A-Men 2 we are running a competition… The first person to get a Platinum trophy will win a free PS4. We were waiting for the launch to announce, but since it is officially live in North America now, I thought you might like to hear it first.