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Cave Story creator on wanting to quit, working with publishers photo
Cave Story creator on wanting to quit, working with publishers
by Jonathan Holmes

[Kero Blaster art by Paul Veer]

Cave Story is one of the most influential games to see release in the past ten years. It showed the world that one person can make a videogame that is as good if not better than works from major studios, and without asking for a dime. That's a tough act to follow for the game's creator, especially seeing how long Cave Story was in development. Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya had put years of work into the game before it was released. There was even a completely different version of Cave Story, now known as the Cave Story Beta, that had to be almost entirely reworked before it became the classic that it is today. 

A similar thing happened with Kero Blaster, Pixel's latest game. It was originally called Gero Blaster, and had a completely different story, premise, level design, music, enemy design, items, and just about everything else. After months of production, Pixel had doubts about what Gero Blaster had become, so he scrapped nearly every aspect of it, despite being very close to wrapping development. Instead, he took "cat and frog" premise of Gero Blaster in a whole new direction for a whole new game called Kero Blaster (and its semi-prequel Pink Hour), which was released on Playism and iTunes earlier this month.  

In this first entry in a two-part mini-interview, we asked Pixel about what it took to remake Cave Story and Gero/Kero Blaster, and if he'd ever want to work with Sony or Nintendo. His answers may surprise you. 

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The old world European electronic noir of Transistor photo
The old world European electronic noir of Transistor
by Steven Hansen

As much as Jen Zee's mood paintings and art catalyzed what would become Transistor early on, so too did Darren Korb's music. The soundtrack is an important part of Transistor and while I'd like to be able to yell at you to go freely listen to it right now, there are some meaningful compositions that should first be experience in-game.

Making music is, "different at different stages of the process," Korb said. "At the beginning, there aren't a lot of other assets happening. There's not a lot of other stuff that defines the tone of the game so I'll kind of go off and try some things. I'll come back like, 'here's a thing and it feels this way,' and try to develop a center for the identity of music and the feel.

"As the process goes on, I can look at the art and look at the gameplay. That will affect and change the direction a little bit. Or I can regroup and go in a different direction. Once it's in and once we get a better sense of where the game is going story-wise, well here's a scene we need a specific thing for. It won't be blind, throwing darts and it hits something." That's when you get tracks that should be enjoyed in-game, but, like with Bastion, the early music helps set a tone.

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Transistor's sword was a briefcase at one point photo
Transistor's sword was a briefcase at one point
by Steven Hansen

Parts I and II of this series have touched on various elements of Transistor's design, but not one of its most striking facets, the artistry that immediately arrested many of us when Transistor was announced. We also sat down with Jen Zee at Supergiant, the artist behind this indelible style, and talked a bit about artistic influences, design process, refusing cyberpunk, and briefcases.

"We came off Bastion and Bastion is such a bright and colorful world that we kind of wanted to try something different. It was reactionary," Zee explained. "We did a fantasy world already, what can Supergiant do in the sci-fi world? What would that look like? We attempted to go for a more pallet-controlled world that would just feel a little more dark than Bastion.

"The difference between Bastion and Transistor for me, the big difference, is that I wasn't on board at the very start of Bastion -- pre-production. But I definitely got to scratch an itch where I kind of wanted to in a sense write a love letter to classical artists that I grew up really liking, like William Waterhouse or [Gustav] Klimt, or Alphonse Mucha. I wanted to inject that somehow into the art we made for Transistor because there's no other opportunity like the one that's right in front of you to express yourself the best you can. So I think that it's a combination of reactionary to Bastion, things that we wanted to do on Bastion that we never got to do, and also things that I wanted to do my whole life."

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8:30 AM on 05.22.2014

Watch Taro Yoko discuss Drakengard 3 as a sock puppet

Guys, Taro Yoko is adorable. At least, I think he is. I know he's not actually a cute little puppet, but this interview regarding Drakengard 3 is adorable and informative. This may be one of my favorite interviews yet, simpl...

Brittany Vincent



Under a red sky Part II: Transistor's strategy for doing strategy photo
Under a red sky Part II: Transistor's strategy for doing strategy
by Steven Hansen

Make sure to read Part I in this series. It deals with development crunch time, getting a game ready to launch, and the genesis of Transistor post Bastion. Now we're continuing the abrupt, jerky carnival ride through time and getting to the middle bits, to Transistor's design philosophy as it came together and the games that the people who made it love.

Come sit with us on Amir's dad's old, burgundy couch and learn about furniture utility with Supergiant's Amir Rao (co-founder), Greg Kasavin (writer), and Darren Korb (composer).

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Under a red sky: How Transistor came to be Part I  photo
Under a red sky: How Transistor came to be Part I
by Steven Hansen

Turning down a one-way alley towards SuperGiant's downtown San Francisco office space, I noticed the fenced parking lots on either corner decorated with two sorts of barbed wire. Three classical, no nonsense parallel strands were circumscribed by much more lively spirals of metal like a sharpened, stretched out slinky. 

This is the coveted San Francisco startup space over two million Bastion sales led to. Atypical out of the gate success that the team doesn't take for granted. The move from the sleepy San Jose suburb that bore Bastion to an urban hotbed would, perhaps by coincidence, bear Transistor, SuperGiant's next project.

We sat down with Supergiant's Amir Rao (co-founder), Greg Kasavin (writer), Jen Zee (artist), and Darren Korb (composer) -- on Rao's dad's old, burgundy couch from the San Jose house -- after development on Transistor had wrapped, while the team was prepping it for launch.

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Hack 'N' Slash lets you take revenge on those darn block puzzles photo
Hack 'N' Slash lets you take revenge on those darn block puzzles
by Bill Zoeker

Max recently sat down with Brandon Dillon of Double Fine, Programmer and Project Lead on Hack 'N' Slash. Brandon walked us through a demonstration of the game, which allows players to manipulate the actual code of the game with the protagonist's USB sword, and we all learn some lessons in critical thinking.

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11:00 PM on 05.07.2014

Last Life shows that death is not the end in a cyber-noir future

Max sat down with Sam Farmer, the creator of Last Life. Being developed in association with Double Fine, Last Life is a point-and-click adventure game set in a cyber-noir future, where death doesn't always mean the end. Check out the Kickstarter for this game here.

Bill Zoeker

2:00 PM on 04.28.2014

Bungie making sure you can import characters from last- to current-gen in Destiny

Destiny is going to be a huge game where you'll be able to sink hundreds of hours into the experience. So it's a good thing Bungie is looking into making sure players can import their characters from last-gen consoles to the ...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

12:30 PM on 04.28.2014

Destiny's competitive multiplayer will be balanced, says Bungie

Destiny wants players to create the exact experience they want. Your character, weapons, and gear are all customizable to fit whatever desired play style. These persistent characters you can create can be carried to any aspec...

Hamza CTZ Aziz



Video: Watch Dogs' Jonathan Morin talks delays, multiplayer, and the franchise's future photo
Video: Watch Dogs' Jonathan Morin talks delays, multiplayer, and the franchise's future
by Max Scoville

After almost two years of wringing my sweaty little hands and looking at screenshots like a schlub, I finally got to take Watch Dogs for a spin last week. After hacking into steam pipes and blowing up cars for two hours, I took a moment to chat with the game's creative director Jonathan Morin. 

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Firaxis designers speak on Civilization: Beyond Earth photo
Firaxis designers speak on Civilization: Beyond Earth
by Darren Nakamura

Last weekend during its panel at PAX East, Firaxis announced the next big project for the Civilization franchise: Civilization: Beyond Earth. After the announcement, Destructoid took some time to talk to some of the designers behind bringing the strategy series into space.

Lead Designers David McDonough and Will Miller were present for the interview along with Systems Gameplay Designer Anton Strenger. The designers discussed the inspiration behind Beyond Earth, some of the world building systems, and the possibility for crossover with other Firaxis science fiction properties. Read it below!

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2:00 PM on 04.20.2014

Checking in with Renegade Kid on Moon, Cult County, and more

Holmes had an extra long interview with Renegade Kid's Jools Watsham during PAX East, and it covers all the games the small studio is currently working on. It's a nice showcase of every thing they got going on, and biggest of all is Cult County. It's their upcoming survival horror game, and there's just under two weeks left on their Kickstarter.

Hamza CTZ Aziz

11:00 AM on 04.20.2014

Tetropolis is Tetris crossed with Castlevania

There's a headline I never expected to write. Like ever. But that's Tetropolis for you! Tetropolis sees you playing as those iconic falling blocks, going through levels and exploring the things that need to be explored. The ...

Hamza CTZ Aziz





6:00 PM on 04.19.2014

See why Mushroom 11 was one of my favorite games at PAX East

Alex Bruce, the man behind Antichamber, was at PAX East with no game to show off at all. He was simply there purely to help out other indies. I saw a lot of indies supporting other indies at PAX, as a matter of fact. In this...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

5:00 PM on 04.19.2014

Max Gentlemen was inspired by a spam email for penis pills

Max Gentlemen was inspired by a spam email for penis pills. Yup, that's according to the developer Holmes interviewed at PAX in the video here. It was then created in a drinking game jam, and brought around to some shows lik...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

10:00 AM on 04.19.2014

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is not as simple as it looks

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake saw success on Kickstarter, and it's coming along nicely as evidence by our interview at PAX East. It looks super cute and simplistic, but there's way more depth than you'd imagine here. A deep ...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

2:45 PM on 04.18.2014

Civilization: Beyond Earth designers inspired by Cosmos

To take a brief aside from videogames: are you watching Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey? If not, you should be, especially if you are not particularly scientifically literate. It is filled with a lot of important information abou...

Darren Nakamura

4:15 PM on 04.17.2014

Hyper Light Drifter is the developer's own 'dream game'

When you look to hard-hitting journalism you (hopefully) look to Destructoid. In keeping with this tradition we had the creators of Hyper Light Drifter onto our live channel to talk about developing the game while we totally...

Spencer Hayes

2:00 PM on 04.17.2014

Woah Dave scratches the manic arcade itch

One of the most common questions one gets asked when visiting a show like PAX East is, "what's the most fun game you've played this weekend." Woah Dave was my automatic response to any such query this past weekend. An a...

Conrad Zimmerman

2:30 PM on 04.15.2014

SoundSelf is an experience that puts you into a trance

SoundSelf was one of the more interesting experiences I had at PAX, or any other convention for that matter. I put on the Oculus Rift, the headset, and then hummed into the microphone where the visuals and audio would react ...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

10:00 AM on 04.09.2014

Why Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is sticking to last-gen

The industry is currently trying to support two generations of consoles at once, which means game publishers have to decide what the safest bet is for their next projects. Some companies are creating the the same content for ...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

11:30 AM on 03.27.2014

World of Tanks in 2014: Mobile MMO, new PC engine, console updates coming

I met with Wargaming boss Victor Kislyi last week in a dark, quiet, private meeting room on the GDC expo floor on an early morning following what was probably the biggest party of the week. The chief executive looked surprisi...

Dale North

10:00 AM on 03.23.2014

Sup Holmes finishes off with Conker's Chris Seavor

Oh my god, it's the last Sup Holmes on Dtoid! Ahhh! What does that even mean? We'll find out soon enough, as the Sup Holmes year 3 Kickstarter is set to go live any second now. In the meantime, why not tune in to the show tod...

Jonathan Holmes



What do indie developers think about the ID@Xbox program? photo
What do indie developers think about the ID@Xbox program?
by Brett Makedonski

There's no two ways about it -- Microsoft had a terrible reputation with independent developers during the last console generation. Not that indie's games didn't sell well on the platform, because many of them certainly did. However, the culture and attitude at Xbox was one that didn't mesh with a lot of small teams and many of them documented their experiences in a negative light.

That's not a good position for Microsoft to be in. With the audience for independent games growing at a tremendous rate, the "triple A" development process makes less and less sense from a business standpoint. After all, an indie game needs to move far fewer units to be considered a "success." Nothing needs to sell at an astronomically high rate to be worthwhile.

Microsoft's attempt at repairing this somewhat burned bridge within the indie community was to launch the ID@Xbox -- a program designed to be more accommodating to independent developers and make it as painless and attractive as possible to publish on the Xbox platform. Microsoft held an event at GDC to showcase 25 studios' games that are part of ID@Xbox and we got a chance to talk to some developers about their feelings about the program thus far.

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Capy Games' Nathan Vella talks Super Time Force, Below, and the IGF Awards photo
Capy Games' Nathan Vella talks Super Time Force, Below, and the IGF Awards
by Max Scoville

Literally the first thing I did at GDC this year was sit down with Capy Games president Nathan Vella and talk about their upcoming games Super Time Force and Below, as well as his hosting duties at this year's IGF awards.

Also, a woman in the background knocked over a lamp and broke it, which I thought was pretty funny.

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12:00 PM on 03.09.2014

Sup Holmes points and clicks with Jane Jensen

Today on Sup Holmes we welcome Jane Jensen to the program. Jane has been working on games that put story and characterization at the forefront since the 1980's, working on established series like Police Quest and King's Quest...

Jonathan Holmes



Mods, hate, and community with Chucklefish's Molly Carrol photo
Mods, hate, and community with Chucklefish's Molly Carrol
by Jonathan Holmes

Two week's ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes), we welcomed Molly Carroll to the program. Molly used to be a big part of the Dtoid Forums community before moving on to become community manager at Chucklefish (Starbound). We talked about how Molly got into the game industry, the role that she plays in the development of Starbound, how to develop and maintain a passionate and creative community around your game, the stuff that happened when the Mighty Number 9 community manager was announced, her pending move to England, and a lot more.

Outside of her work at Chucklefish, Molly's been working on smaller games with a development collective called Owl Cave. With games like Richard and Alice and Starbound already under her belt, it's pretty clear that Molly's going to have a long and fruitful career in the game's industry. I'm glad I got to know her now before she ends up sheltered away from shows like Sup Holmes by some big publisher. It's going to be fun to see what she does next. 

Thanks again to Molly for appearing on the show, and tune in to Sup Holmes live at 1pm PST/4pm EST today when we welcome legendary adventure game developer Jane Jensen (King's Quest VI, Moebius, Gabriel Knight) to the program. It's going to be one for the books. 

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Fear, Disney, positivity, Zynga and more with Erin Reynolds photo
Fear, Disney, positivity, Zynga and more with Erin Reynolds
by Jonathan Holmes

Last Sunday on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we welcomed Erin Reynolds of Flying Mollusk to the program. We talked about so many things, like the influence Ecco the Dolphin and Gremlins had on her formative years, why she got into game development, that jerk from Fox News (my words, not hers), her work at Disney and Zynga, her thoughtful-but-dead baby drawings, the Michelle Obama awarded student game Trainer, depicting mental illness in games, the idea of "positive games," and of course, Nevermind -- the biofeedback-integrated horror game she's been working on for the past few years. 

Nevermind is designed to make you feel uncomfortable, but the real goal of the game is to help players learn to be aware of their own anxiety and learn how to manage it. You play the role of a new kind of mental health counselor who enters the subconscious minds of their clients, in an effort to help them work out repressed memories of trauma. It's your job to stay calm in the midst of a world teeming with surreal threats. If you can't do it, how can you expect your client to? 

That's just the tip of the iceberg on what Nevermind has to offer. Check it out on Kickstarter here, and back it while you still have the chance. Erin tells me that even if they don't make their funding goal, that backing still helps them immensely, as the closer they get to their goal, the better they'll look to potential publishers. Backing any amount will help them to make their game, regardless of how much funding they get in the end. 

With so much to talk about, I failed to ask Erin an incredibly obvious question. What are the fears that she's had to overcome in her life, and how might they relate to Nevermind? Erin was kind enough to fit that question in after the show was over. You can find her answer below. 

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2:30 PM on 03.02.2014

Sup Holmes gets post traumatic with Erin Reynolds

Today on Sup Holmes we welcome Erin Reynolds of Flying Mollusk to the program. Erin's been in the game industry for over ten years, having worked on a variety of games for big publishers, including working as senior game desi...

Jonathan Holmes

4:15 PM on 02.24.2014

Austin Wintory: Everyone has the potential to make music

We managed to catch up to composer Austin Wintory (Journey, The Banner Saga, Monaco) following his D.I.C.E. Summit talk on how technology has changed music making, and how this impacts videogame scores. As a fellow musician a...

Dale North

2:15 PM on 02.24.2014

Journey was composed on a $50 crappy Casio keyboard

We recently had a chance to chat with Journey and The Banner Saga composer Austin Wintory, and as a fellow musician I took the opportunity to talk shop. Curious about which tools he uses to create music with, I asked abo...

Dale North

3:00 PM on 02.22.2014

Double Fine has enough funds for Broken Age Act II

I think the question that most people asked themselves when they finished Broken Age Act I was "Okay, so when am I going to get to play Act II?" The more pressing concern was "Will there be an Act II?" but thankfully Double F...

Alasdair Duncan



Media Molecule on the challenges of making Tearaway photo
Media Molecule on the challenges of making Tearaway
by Dale North

Earlier this month, I caught up with Media Molecule's Rex Crowle, lead creator on one of my favorite games of last year, Tearaway. My main goal was simple: to thank him for such a fantastic Vita game. But we ended up chatting about Tearaway's reception, as well as some of the challenges that Media Molecule had to work through to bring us the final release.

I also repeatedly told him that they should make another Tearaway game.

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The anatomy of Evolve - interview photo
The anatomy of Evolve - interview
by Bill Zoeker

Our own gentle giant, Max Scoville, had a chat recently with Denby Grace of 2K Games about their upcoming title, Evolve. In case you missed it, Evolve is being developed by Turtle Rock Studios, the minds behind the Left 4 Dead series. Max got the scoop on some of the finer points of gameplay in this "4v1" clash of predator and prey.

After sifting through the game footage for this video, I'm thoroughly intrigued by the unusual concepts presented in Evolve. Knowing this game comes from the people who crafted the remarkable AI in L4D, I'm rather excited at the idea of a new multiplayer game I can just play by myself when my friends aren't around. *cough*Payday 2*cough*

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Free games, AOL discs and the afterlife with Ackk Studios photo
Free games, AOL discs and the afterlife with Ackk Studios
by Jonathan Holmes

A week and a half ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes), we welcomed Brian and Andrew Allanson of Ackk Studios to the program. We talked about their breakout success Two Brothers, their start in making their own games (and Pokemon toys) before they were old enough to drive, the differences and similarities between using writing, coding, music, and visual art to convey ideas, and a lot more. 

I was taken aback by how creating games seems to be something that's hardwired into the Allanson brothers's DNA, though the idea that their games have the potential to be widely accepted and appreciated is still so new to them. They've made a lot of games over the years, some of which they would only consider releasing under assumed names, as they never intended for anyone outside of their small circle to ever experience them.

Their excitement to finally share their games with the world at large seems to be taking precedent over their interest in getting big money, as their next game will be a free title for phones that will take a very different approach to life and death than Two Brothers. After that, it's the release of Project Y2K, a game where you use excess AOL start up discs (or their non-lawsuit friendly parody equivalents) to battle opponents, among other things. It's definitely one to look forward to. 

Thanks again to Brian and Andrew for being on the show. We're taking a break from live recording this weekend as Sinistar (our intrepid production manager and engineer) is moving to a new galaxy. Stay tuned for the rerun of our most recent episode with Jake Elliot (Kentucky Route Zero) and come on back on February 16th when we welcome Mike Kasprzak to the program.

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How Paradox Interactive found success in a niche market photo
How Paradox Interactive found success in a niche market
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Paradox Interactive is best known for their hardcore grand strategy titles on the PC market. Makers of such hits as Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Magicka, and many more games, the Sweden-based company celebrated 10 years of independence since splitting off from Paradox Entertainment last month in Miami, Florida. 

Made up of seven people in 2004, Paradox now has 120 people working across four different studios, with an additional 150 other people on contract making games externally. The company has blossomed, with continued revenue growth year after year, yet with all that success Paradox has managed to keep their indie spirit and continues to put their fans first when developing games.

I sat down with Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester at their recent annual showcase to see how Paradox has found success in such a niche market, and where he sees the gaming industry heading towards.

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Paradox on how to do free-to-play the right way photo
Paradox on how to do free-to-play the right way
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Magicka: Wizard Wars is Paradox Interactive's take on the MOBA genre. While most companies have had trouble getting a foothold in the market thanks to how dominating League of Legends and Dota 2 are, Wizard Wars looks to have a better chance establishing itself with how it's offering more bite-sized MOBA battles.

"It looks like we're jumping on the MOBA bandwagon as the same time as everyone else, which I see how it looks from the outside, CEO of Paradox Interactive, Fredrik Wester, told me at their annual showcase last month. "We discussed though building a bigger PvP version of Magicka because so many people were asking for it. Magicka is basically built for PvP, especially if you have friendly fire. I think that is one of the key selling points for us. You can't just go in like you do in League of Legends, I play a lot of League of Legends, and you go in there with everything that you have, and you don't have to care about your teammates.

"Magicka you have to watch your teammates. If your teammate is low on health you can't just throw a fireball in his general direction because you're going to kill him. We are also focusing more on 10- to 20-minute matches. I never play classic League of Legends no more because some games can take an hour. I don't want to spend that in one competitive game. Even ARAM, which is their short game mode, takes 25 to 30 minutes to complete, if it's not like a total steamroll."

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12:30 PM on 02.02.2014

Sup Holmes doubles down on Kentucky Route Zero

Today on Sup Holmes we welcome Jake Elliot of Cardboard Computer (Kentucky Route Zero, Wikipedia Vs. Predator) to the program. Jake's been creating games and "artware" for years, but it was Kentucky Route Zero that really put...

Jonathan Holmes

4:30 PM on 01.31.2014

Spearhead: We found Sony more helpful than MS or Nintendo

Making a brand new game studio isn't easy. So imagine the undertaking of creating a new brand, crafting a never-before-seen IP, gathering a production crew, and shipping a game in a year. That's what Spearhead Studios did wit...

Chris Carter