I recently sat down with Michael Wilford CEO of Twisted Pixel Games the masterminds behind their latest smash hit COMIC JUMPER on Xbox Live Arcade !! We go through and ask Mike everything you need to know about this fantastic title from it’s development to its crazy humor.
Enjoy the interview :
1. “Where did the inspiration come from?”.
Our co-founder and CCO Josh Bear created the characters back when he was in grade school. He always wanted to make it into a comic book, but when we founded Twisted Pixel we convinced him to make it into a game instead!
2. “How hard was it to keep the art styles separated while in development?”.
This did prove challenging during development. We had to do spurts of development on each style where we focused entirely on that style, and then switch to another one. It was too hard to have the team try and work on multiple styles simultaneously.
3. “Which came first: the story or the idea?”
We had the idea for Comic Jumper for years, and a vague idea of what the story would be like. But story really came together when one of our designers, Sean Conway, outlined the whole script and invented the characters, which we then handed off to some professional writer friends of ours Matt Entin and Ed Kuehnel who have a lot of experience bringing characters to life.
4. “You have always been generous with giving stuff away in your games. Do you feel this helps a lot in selling your games?”
It probably doesn’t help that much, but we don’t think of it like that. I think giving away freebies is one of those cool things that downloadable games can do pretty easily, so why not do it? It’s a great way to say thanks to your fans.
5. “How did you decide the art styles?”
We wanted to invoke comic books that most anyone would recognize, not just the hardcore comic geeks. Everyone has seen what a silver age comic looks like, and most people know that manga is weird. So we chose to hit the broad strokes, but for the fans that really are into comics, there are a lot of nods in there that they will appreciate too.
6. “Will the free DLC for splosion man, have achievements? Or is it just extra levels?”
No achievements, that would have been a lot more difficult to pull off, but it was important to us to provide new levels.
7. “Will Comic Jumper have replayability? Like Extra difficulties, and maybe secret areas and easter eggs that people may miss on the first playthrough?”
Comic Jumper comes with over 200 unlockables that require lots of playing to unlock them all. They kind of chronicle the making of the game with behind-the-scenes videos and commentaries about early concept art and animatics. And yes, there are lots of easter eggs / obscure references in the game that would be impossible to find on one play through. I myself continue to hear new lines of dialog that I never knew were in there.
8. “Where do the jokes come from? Do you have one giant think tank of a writer, or does the entire team input lines and jokes as the game gets developed?”
It’s definitely a team effort. Just like Splosion Man, we have a lot of fun working on the game so there’s no shortage of crazy ideas that we try out by anyone and everyone on the team. Between the designers, the writers, the voice actors that have lots of ad lib in the game, and the rest of the team, it’s impossible to pinpoint where the jokes come from.
9. “In some of the gameplay videos, I’ve noticed a few references to your earlier games. Can we expect a whole bunch of those subtle references and do they ever take a bigger role then just background billboards for example?”
You’ll just have to see for yourself. =)
10. “The title is ‘Comic Jumper: The adventures of Captain Smiley’ does that mean we can expect other heroes for Comic Jumper even though you have stated that you don’t like making sequels?”
The game lends itself very well to the idea of doing DLC down the road where you get to jump into other comics, and we made sure the game supports that feature, but we’ve been focused on the content in this game and don’t have anything else in the works at this time.
11. “Did you ever get to the point where you felt the joke was simply too crude to actually use it?”
Many, many times. Damn you ratings boards!
And there you have it. Another fantastic interview completed. Special thanks goes out to Michael for taking the time to answer these questions. We wish the team over at Twisted Pixel Games the best of luck with Comic Jumper and we hope you all try it out. If you’re not sure whether to pick up this game then have a read of our review of Comic Jumpere here. Then click on the BUY it now link and download it directly to your Xbox 360 from marketplace.