Team Meat Interview - Super Meat Boy

Team Meat's Super Meat Boy title might be very early in development for the WiiWare service, but it's never to early to dig for a little new information on the game. With the popularity of the flash version of the game already creating some anticipation for the game, we couldn't resist touching base with the developers in an effort to pry a few tidbits of information out of them.

We recently caught up with two members of Team Meat, Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, and they were kind enough to take part in an interview with WiiWare World. You can read on below to see what they had to say to us about their first WiiWare title and quite a few other interesting things as well.

WiiWare World: What role do you play as far as game development goes?

Edmund McMillen: I do design and art.

Tommy Refenes: I do design and programming.

WW: Why did you choose to bring Super Meat Boy to the WiiWare service and why WiiWare over the Xbox Live Arcade or Playstation Network?

EM: Nintendo approached me about my flash work in the past and expressed an interest in having Aether and Meat Boy developed for Wiiware. At the time I had no money so Jon and I put together all the user made maps people had submitted to us for Meat Boy and released the Meat Boy map pack. I used that money to buy a development kit from Nintendo. Tommy (Refenes) jumped on board and that's where we are now.

Meat Boy is a big throw back to a lot of super hardcore NES classics like Ghosts 'n Goblins, Mega Man and the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2. It seems really appropriate to release it on a Nintendo console and I think it fills a hole in the WiiWare library. There aren't too many edgy games up there right now SMB should stand out a lot.

WW: What do you think of the selection of games currently available on the WiiWare service at the moment? Are there any titles that really stand out to you?

EM: The only WiiWare titles I've purchased have been World of Goo and Mega Man 9. There's a game called Bit Trip Beat coming out next month that I think will be a ton of fun as well.

WW: Is Super Meat Boy going to be a port with extras, a remake, or a totally new game?

EM: Super Meat Boy will be totally remade from the ground up, nothing from the flash version will be reused. Our goal is to keep the basic theme and feel the same. We aren't going to give Meat Boy a ton of new abilities. One of the things that made Meat Boy good is its simplistic design and we aren't going to mess around with that formula.

WW: Can you tell us about any new game play ideas we might see in the WiiWare version of the game that are not in the original flash title?

EM: We will have a lot of new things to interact with though, physical objects, cool lighting, partical effects, boss fights, side scrolling levels and a s**t load of new stuff that will kill you.

SMB will also feature VS, Co-op, 100+ levels, 10+ unlockable characters, tons of hidden extras and some really purdy music.

WW: Will Super Meat Boy feature the level creation mode?

EM: It might. It's something we are looking into.

TR: Internally we'll have a level editor, but we have yet to determine if we are going to make it in such a way that it can be used by the average player with just the Wii Remote. That's one of those things that we'll just have to test out and determine if it's realistic to do.

WW: We noticed that the original Meat Boy game featured a few references to other classic game titles, such as the short intro mimicking the intro to Ghosts 'n Goblins. Will Super Meat Boy include more of these?

EM: Yeah, we are currently looking at parody rights in video games. If all goes well, you will see A TON of parodys of old school games from the NES and SNES era. Players should also be on the look out for a few super secret warp zones that could potentially take them into a few of these games

WW: Just from playing your games, you've obviously been influenced by the 8-bit and 16-bit eras of gaming. What are some of your favorite old school game titles and did any of them in particular inspire or influence Meat Boy?

EM: The Mario series, Mega Man series, Ghosts and Goblins, and Zelda. I'm into all the tried and true classics and that have all had an influence on Meat Boy, and all my games for that matter.

WW: Just from playing the game, it's obvious that you guys have a rather sadistic side. What can we expect as far as difficulty goes from the WiiWare title?

EM: The difficulty will ramp up slower. SMB is 3 times longer than the flash version so we can ramp things up a little more realisticaly.

But for all the hardcore fans out there, we will be featuring an unlockable expert chapter that will probaby break a few Wii Remotes .

WW: Some gamers have complained that the control in the flash release of Meat Boy is a bit on the slippery side. Are you planning to change that at all in the WiiWare release?

TR: You can only do so much in Flash. A lot of flash games have slippery controls because the input is totally digital, there's no sense of pressure or any sort of analog input so to make a game feel a little more fluid, stuff becomes slippery. We are going to spend a lot of time on the controls and make sure that it feels as good as possible. You will BECOME Meat Boy...not just control him.

WW: The music is a rather impressive aspect of Meat Boy. Can you tell us a bit more about DannyB and will he be handling the music for the WiiWare version of the game?

EM: Yeah Danny will be doing all the music for SMB. He's an awesome muscian and great person to work with. There hasn't been anything he's done for me that hasn't totally blown me away. We posted his work so far on SMB on our blog, but you can check out his other work on his site

WW: You've mentioned that you're still very early in development on Super Meat Boy. Do you have any time frame for when you'd like to have the game completed?

EM: We would like to have the PC version done by Christmas, so close to then I assume.

TR: I'm building the Wii and PC versions side by side, so hopefully around the end of the year, but we'll see!

WW: Are you planning on making Super Meat Boy available in regions outside of the US?

TR: I'm going to build localization systems into the game so we are going to localize it to as many regions as possible.

WW: We noticed that you now have a Meat Boy plushie available for purchase on your blog. Who came up with that idea?

EM: My wife makes plushies for a living and usually will make a version of every character I do. Meat Boy is one of the first I've put up for sale. It's pretty sweet. I have one sitting next to me right now. He's the perfect keyboard caddy.

WW: Are you planning on bringing any of your other flash titles to the WiiWare service in the future, like Gish perhaps?

EM: Aether is an option once Tyler is out of school. Tommy and I have been talking about doing an epic shooter with rpg elements that started out as a flash idea, so that's possible as well. We are also working on a flash game called Onion that would fit nicely on Wii as well.

WW: Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers in closing?

EM: Get the word out! Super Meat Boy is one of the first games I'm developing exclusively for the fans. We are doing this so you can have something awesomely edgy and nostalgic to play on Wiiware. The more you guys talk about it, the better we will make it! Support independent game development!.

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