We recently caught up with Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes of Team Meat and took the opportunity to get a progress report on the development of their upcoming WiiWare title Super Meat Boy.
Now before we proceed with the interview, it's worth mentioning that this little Q&A isn't for the feint of heart and if there are any little children in the room, send them away now! Don't say we didn't warn you.
Nintendo Life: Has there been any aspect of the Wii that's really impressed you, from a development standpoint?
Tommy Refenes: Nope.
Edmund McMillen: Yes.
NL: When it came time to develop Super Meat Boy for the WiiWare service, what was the first thing that popped into your mind as far as being something you wanted to do on the Wii that you couldn't do using Flash?
Edmund: The first thing I thought was...wow we can take this Flash game and make it good. Honestly Flash has so many limits it's insane...it doesn't use any kind of graphics card acceleration at all so its very easy to bog down gameplay by trying to make things look pretty...I mean you saw how simple the flash version was...yet it still had lag at times and the later levels took a few seconds to load after you died. Its stuff like that and the touchy controls that really held the flash game back a lot.
On the Wii we can basically get away with anything we want, fully animated environments (see Tommy's animation exporter) with no lag, huge boss fights, tons of partical effects, lighting/shadows and very tight and precise controls. Hell Flash doesn't even have built in gamepad support...Tommy had to make a flash joystick program for flash so people could use a gamepad with the original Meat Boy.
Tommy: Yea just getting out from under the limitations of Flash opens up a whole new world. I'm making all kinds of tools for Edmund to use and he's still learning that limits are for jerks and lazy jerks.
NL: Is there any aspect of the Wii console that's really impressed you as a developer?
Tommy: Still Nope.
Edmund: I like that I can play Viewtiful Joe, Wind Waker and Eternal Darkness on it.
NL: Can you give us an update as far as where you are development-wise on Super Meat Boy? Still on schedule to finish before the end of the year?
Edmund: We will be showing a playable demo of Super Meat Boy at PAX. We are still early in development because getting the foundation finished takes a bit of time, but you will start to see lots of gameplay footage by early September.
Tommy: Yes, the first part of development was mainly retooling the engine from Goo! to be super cross platform and also making the Tools that Edmund would use to build levels, animations, etc. The better the tools are for Edmund, the less work I have to do to add animations, particle effects, cut scenes, etc which allows me to perfect systems and code gameplay. Those tools are done now, we are full steam ahead.
NL: You mentioned Nintendo bumping the release of Super Meat Boy into 2010. How did that sit with you?
Edmund: It sat on my face and I enjoyed it.
Tommy: I filmed it.
NL: How would you compare the controls of Super Meat Boy against those found in the original Meat Boy Flash game?
Tommy: I wouldn't compare them.
Edmund: I would...the controls in the flash version compared to the console version is like comparing the death of a loved one to an orgasm.
NL: What's the single biggest improvement you've been able to make over the original Flash release?
Edmund: I'd have to say that the game is probably the thing that's been most improved.
Tommy: I totally agree
NL: Will there be a level editor in Super Meat Boy and how in-depth will it be for the player?
Tommy: We might make it available to the user, we might not...it depends on how I feel about people the day we have to finalize that decision...so everyone be nice...mumbles bunch of d*cks.
NL: Any chance we might see downloadable content for Super Meat Boy?
Edmund: DLC is for game designers that lack integrity.
Tommy: There will be DLC in SMB, there will be a 1K download that will unlock like 50 characters..we promise it isn't included in the original game...also it costs $5.00 NO REFUNDS!
NL: Can you give us a ballpark figure of how many levels we can expect from Super Meat Boy?
Edmund: 5 million
Tommy: NO, no Edmund, We agreed on 24 Million...DO NOT SCREW ME ON THIS.
Edmund: 4 million
Tommy: FINE, but I get to ride shotgun on the way home.
NL: What controllers will be supported in the game?
Tommy: All you're gunna need is your trusty Wiimote, 3 Balance Boards, a Power Glove, a Virtual Boy headset, R.O.B., Project Natal, and a picture of Abe Vigoda's left ball to get the real Meatboy experience.
NL: Any motion controls or are you sticking with the standard control method on this one?
Tommy: One method of play we are thinking about is having the user take 4 WiiMotes and strap one to each extremity. Then, their movements will be transferred 1 to 1 on screen. When they wall jump, MEATBOY WALL JUMPS! LOLZ! But seriously...no.
NL: You've already revealed several secret characters that will make an appearance in the game. Will they play a key role or are they merely there for show?
Edmund: We are playing around with them having more of a role in the game than we have mentioned before. Currently there will be hidden warp zones in levels, some might only be on screen for a limited amount of time, others could be very hard to reach places, each of these warps will send you into another game. Some of these levels will be from other indie games, others might just resemble retro games from the past, and others might just be hellish mind f*cks that make you want to die inside.
The indie game levels will have to be completed to unlock that character.
NL: If you had to describe Super Meat Boy in one word, what word would that be?
NL: Are there any juicy tidbits of information on Super Meat Boy you could share with our readers?
Edmund: Super Meat Boy is actually an anagram for Amber Pets You.
Tommy: Its also an anagram for My Pubes Tearo
NL: Is there anything you'd like to share with our readers in closing?
Edmund: Yeah, heres a picture of something totally random from SMB, totally exclusive!
We here at Nintendo Life want to thank Edmund and Tommy for taking time out of their busy schedules to take part in this interesting interview! We've got to say, it's the most entertaining one we've done to date. (Now if I could only get that Abe Vigoda image out of my head!)
The first person that posts the identity of the secret hidden character shown above and locates the full picture of it wins a free WiiWare game of their choosing.