2D Boy Interview - World Of Goo
Posted by Darren Calvert
As the much anticipated World of Goo draws ever closer to release we thought it would be a good time to catch up with Ron and Kyle, the masterminds behind 2D Boy to find out a bit more about the most recent developments.
Thankfully the dynamic duo were only too happy to answer our questions. Read on and find out what’s new in the World of Goo:
WiiWare World: For those who have been living in a cave for the past few months can you tell us what World of Goo is all about?
Ron: Yeah, World of Goo is a physics based puzzle construction game where you drag balls of goo and attach them to each other in order to build gooey wobbly structures.
WW: Can you tell us the how ex-EA employees Ron and Kyle met and formed 2D Boy?
Ron: We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend (hi Amin!) and both of us wanted to go off and make our own game. Somehow it's nicer to jump off a cliff with someone else than it is alone, so we quit our jobs and shortly after started working on World of Goo. We barely knew each other when we decided to do this and we're very lucky that this collaboration has been working out so well.
WW: Do you have a rough date in mind for the US WiiWare release of World of Goo? Can you confirm the price point yet?
Ron: Development for the North American version will be done in September. I'm guessing that the release date will be sometime in late October, but don't hold me to that. It depends on how quickly we're able to get through lot check and on timing the release with our PC retail partner. The price on Wiiware hasn't been set yet and Nintendo has the final say on this. It will be higher than 1000 for sure and we'll announce it as soon as we know what it will be.
WW: We understand that World of Goo will be a disc based retail release in Europe. Can you tell us more about this decision?
Kyle: The most important thing is that everyone has a chance to play our game. But first, people have to know we exist! In Europe, very skilled gamers have heard of us, but many other people have not, so it looks like we can reach the most people, including families and casual players, by getting our game in stores. In America, slightly more people know who we are, and appear to be connected to the online Wii store, so we are trying to go digital. Both routes have their advantages, of course, but as long as people are able to hear about us, and find the game without too much trouble, we are happy.
WW: How much will the EU retail version cost and when can we expect it?
Ron: I believe RTL is setting the recommended retail price for the Wii version at 39.99 Euros, RTL said it would ship in Q1 2009.
WW: What extra content will the retail version have that the WiiWare version won’t?
Ron: Europe will have a sixth chapter that takes place on the moon. We're not sure about the exact number of levels in that chapter yet, but there will be a special free-form area similar to the World of Goo Corporation that will be set at the center of the moon.
WW: We understand each chapter will have unique themes. Can you tell us more about these themes in more detail?
Kyle: The game takes place over the course of one year. Each chapter is a season, Chapter 1 is Summer, Chapter 2 is Fall, Chapter 3 is Winter, Chapter 4 is … a mystery, Chapter 5 is Spring. Each chapter also has it’s own small story arc, with background flavours involving targeted marketing campaigns, beauty products, brand loyalty, evil products with glossy packaging, etc. Just like the story, these themes inform the artwork and level design, but are never ever crammed down the player’s throat. You’ll notice them only if you read between the lines.
WW: How many levels will World of Goo have in total?
Ron: I just counted 48 including the sandbox/leaderboard level. The European version will have a 6th chapter, but we haven't finalized those levels yet so I can't tell you how many there will be.
WW: Will online leaderboards still be included? What kind of info will be tracked?
Ron: Yes, there will a leaderboard for the tallest tower built in the World of Goo Corporation. Entries will appear as clouds in the sky to mark the tower height and will show the country flag of the player and how many goo balls they used to build that tower. The PC version will also show the names of the players and will have a leaderboard for every level of the game. In fact, those are already there for the levels in the preview version.
WW: Is it true that Kyle is doing the voice-work for characters in the game?
Kyle: Uh oh – I impersonated some Goo Ball voices for the Revogamer guys. That might have been misleading. There is absolutely no voice work at all in the game – the Goo Balls make the voices themselves!
WW: We heard you were not big fans of the Wii Remote’s internal speaker. What game was it that made you dislike this feature so much?
Kyle: The speaker is fine for some games, we just didn’t need it for ours. I wonder if we’ll ever see games using it as a required gameplay feature, not just an aesthetic one? Sounds like a good premise for an experimental game design competition…
WW: How do you use the rumble feature in World of Goo?
Ron: Rumble can be very important in giving a player feedback about fine motor control. You see that when you use the Wii's virtual keyboard. We generally use the same approach, giving feedback for mousing over buttons and goo balls. Also, when a big structure collapses and hits the ground it can cause an earthquake that you can both see on screen and feel in the Wiimote.
WW: Are you planning any TV advertisements for the retail version of the game?
Ron: That's up to RTL. They are primarily a TV and radio company so it's possible that Europe will see TV ads for World of Goo.
WW: We were intrigued to hear about the 4 player co-op feature, can you tell us more about this? Is it online or local?
Ron: It's local and social. My favorite thing about it is that you need to actually talk with the other players both to figure out the puzzle and to coordinate the work required to solve it. I love the multiplayer play tests we've done so far. As a game developer, there's nothing more rewarding for me than to watch people laugh while playing the game. That seems to happen a lot in the co-op mode.
WW: As indie developers what has it been like to work with Nintendo on getting this game ready for release?
Ron: So far so good. They're have dealt with us very honestly and fairly and are perfectly fine with us doing our thing and being totally hands off. They've helped us a lot with publicity, and the terms of their distribution agreement for WiiWare are very fair.
WW: What has it been like to have such support for World of Goo in the gaming community? With even David Braben from Frontier and the enigmatic Luc Bernard gushing over it, does your head fit through the door still?
Kyle: It’s great to hear compliments, but the satisfaction bucket is a black hole. I like to hate the game as much as possible, and believe that it’s ugly, with horrible gameplay, and that nobody will like it. And then I freak out and stay up all night re-doing artwork, tweaking every level, making every detail as high quality as possible. I hope this painful paranoia results in a good game, even if it destroys us. If this were a human relationship, it would be very unhealthy, and World of Goo would cry a lot.
WW: Is there anything else you want to reveal about World of Goo for our readers?
Ron: Yes – we can't wait to get this game out the door and collapse into a coma for at least a month. Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered for being so patient with us, we'll make it worth your while!