Gaijin Games' BIT.TRIP series hits all the right notes for retro game enthusiasts over the course of its six games: Clever and varied design, formidable challenge, pregnant storytelling and an audio/visual style that quotes the days of the Atari 2600 without the baggage of age.
We've spent considerable time telling the tale of the series' development, and in light of the complete series seeing release on both Wii and 3DS, we now hand the spotlight over to Gaijin CEO and BIT.TRIP designer Alex Neuse for some visual insight into the concept art and influences that helped create and define the neo-retro series.
Alex Neuse, Gaijin Games: The sellsheet was meant to give publishers a broad idea of what we were trying to do with the series. It's meant to be something that publishers can take away from a pitch meeting and reflect upon on their own time.
This image was made in answer to an interview question back in August 2009 when Nintendo Power interviewed CommanderVideo. The question was "What is your mission?"
The name 8bit was always a working title and we wanted something that better described the story we were trying to tell. The story is all about a person's trip through life, and we were telling it in a retro style, hence the bit.
While designing the levels for BIT.TRIP BEAT, we basically listened to the music and made the gameplay dance around the tunes. We wanted it to feel like the player was interacting and reacting to the music with their paddle. Comparing it to dance is very accurate — especially during the boss battle in Level 1.
Whenever we start working on a new game, we do some sort of gameplay mock-up. This one was to prove that using 3D in BEAT was the right way to go. We had been toying with straight-up 2D or 3D, and this proved that 3D should win out. Simply making the choice to do the original games in 3D instead of 2D probably influenced our decision to bring them to the Nintendo 3DS.
These were the original drawings that illustrated the AI for all the unique beat types. As we implemented them, due to technical constraints as well as gameplay concerns, we ended up cutting several of these initial ideas.
This design doc image was the first thing created for BIT.TRIP CORE. Each game starts on one piece of paper with a pen.