The Gamebag

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Interview: Gaijin Games

Thank you so much for taking your time to let me interview your team.
I assume this is your short amount of down time before getting to work
on your next project?
Actually, we’re well under way with the next project.  We pretty much start new projects the workday after completing our previous ones.  No rest for the weary!

About your team’s recently completed project, BIT.TRIP: CORE, how does
your team think about the challenge to the player with the new input
method?
In regards to thinking up these challenges, we pretty much start with a concept that sounds good on paper, and then we pretty much just start running with it.  The first part of our development cycle is a prototyping phase.  We take our ideas and we get them on screen as quickly as possible, whether pretty or ugly.  We get them in a playable state.  Then we fine tune that prototype until we have something that is fun regardless of graphics, score, music, or anything.  Settling on a challenging and engaging input method and gameplay style is the single most important thing we can do, so we do that first and we let it take as long as it needs to take before we move on.

As you have before, BIT.TRIP: CORE follows the canon story of the
character CommanderVideo, is the story in the rising action still?
Definitely.  This is merely chapter 2 in CommanderVideo’s story, so it’s still early on.  We’ve got a lot of ideas for how we’re going to bring the story to climax and then conclusion, but I’m going to save those for another time.  ;)  Let me put it this way: There is a definite story arc, and each game in the series has a definite theme.  Let us know if you pick up on what they are!

When do you expect the climax to unfold, just later in the story or
the last game?
If I told you that, wouldn’t it kinda be a spoiler?  ;)  It is coming though.

I’ve noticed in gameplay videos, you added small squares at the bottom
left corner of the screen to signify what transtion the player is on
in the level, did your team add that to revise a common gripe about
the game?
I’m not sure how common a gripe it was that led to the inclusion of the map in the lower left, although it might help with people knowing roughly the next time they’re going to be able to blink.  :)  We wanted a way to let the player know what kind of progress they were making so that they could pace themselves as they move through the levels.  With one of the other new features–the Bomb, a one-time use item–it becomes important to know how far along you are, so you don’t use your bomb too early in the level.

Does your team often listen to common input so your team can provide a
good experience for the player?
Yes.  We try to read most, if not all, comments posted on sites about our games.  Sometimes that’s harder than others, and there’s only so many hours in the day to get our work done as well as keep up with the community, but we definitely do try.  In fact, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on our blog.  A lot of the input from BIT.TRIP BEAT didn’t come in early enough for us to incorporate a lot of it into CORE, but for BIT.TRIP ???? (Game 3), we’re definitely weaving some of the online feedback we’ve gotten into the game.

I also understand that you outsource your music? How does that work?
Who makes what parts of the song in the level?
Yeah, we don’t have a Composer or Sound Engineer in-house, so we outsource that aspect of development.  It works pretty well, although it would always be better to have someone internal working alongside the team.  We talk on the phone a lot, and we send our Composer video footage of the game bi-weekly so that they can make the songs (in all their different layers), all sound effects, etc.  Also, to set the tone of each game, we’ve collaborated with established chiptune artists who have provided the Main Menu music as well as the Credits music.  For BIT.TRIP CORE, the first thing you’ll hear are the tunes of Bubblyfish.  In BIT.TRIP BEAT, Bit Shifter provided these "bookends" to the game.

Again, I can’t thank you enough that you took your time to do this
interview with me, does your team have anything else they’d like to
say?
You’re absolutely welcome!  We’d love to chat with you again!  Just drop us a line!  In closing, we’d like to remind gamers out there to keep your imaginations active and we hope that you enjoy our games as much as we do!

July 6, 2009 - Posted by | Interviews | , ,

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