With a number of indie titles becoming considerable successes this past year, it is foolish for anybody in the games media industry to overlook the huge amount of work coming from smaller companies. As mainstream gaming continues to water itself down for the mass market, independent titles are the ones destined to become havens for those who want originality and risky prospects in their library.
Titles like Owlboy represent the kind of games we should be paying more attention to. While it's true that it could become the next Eternity's Child, it has just as much chance of becoming the next Braid. You never know which risks are going to pay off, and that makes indie gaming exciting.
Owlboy is a retro-centric, charmingly presented flying game that has caught eyes for its old school roots and interesting characters. Yesterday we debuted gameplay footage of this future PC/XBLA title from D-Pad software, but we also caught up with two of the men responsible for its creation, Simon Andersen and Blake, who has no information regarding his surname.
Read on for our full interview with D-Pad studio.
Destructoid: How did the idea for Owlboy come about? Where did main character Otus and his world come from?
Destructoid: What have your experiences been like working with XNA?
Blake: I love retro 2D games. Adventure games and platformers during the 16-bit era still hold a special place in my heart. With Owlboy, we're lucky enough to get to model our game after some of the great games of that time period, but also add a lot of new tricks and elements from modern games too. I know that not only have graphics improved over the last 20 or so years, but so have gameplay elements. One game I really enjoyed recently was Mega Man 9, and though Owlboy has the retro graphics in common, we're still experimenting with all kinds of new gameplay and not limiting ourselves to just the nostalgic gamers (like myself).
Destructoid: How did you decide on the current art style? Upon initial glance it looks like an SNES or Genesis game. Have other games inspired the look in any way?
I have a suspicion though, that what you're actually asking is "Why did you go for pixel art?" The answer is simple: Why not? It seems people have come to the conclusion that pixel art is somehow outdated and thus obsolete in the game world. It's probably a result of all the marketing for the latest games and machines, each one proving they're better simply because they have a sixth layer of raytracing on the gun barrel. Pixel art is an art form and I feel it's the best way to convey the idea I had. You don't stop making paintings just because someone invented the camera. 2D games has a different feel to them, and offers different gameplay, which is what a game boils down to in the end.
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