Feature: A Peek Behind the BIT.TRIP Curtain
Posted by Jon Wahlgren
For the original concept of VOID, the player was going to have to protect their core (the shaded portion) within their shield (the outlined outer portion). As Beats flew in, the player had to move the core around with the Control Stick and control the shield with the Wii Remote pointer. As the shield got hit by Beats, it would deteriorate, and if the core got hit, the player would mode down. This proved to be A) too difficult to control, and B) not fun at all, so we totally changed it up.
VOID original concept
Boss monster mock-up
Prototype boss race
Laser ability cut from RUNNER
Void ability cut from RUNNER
We were really bummed when we cut the Laser and Void abilities from RUNNER. What it came down to was that having seven abilities for the player to keep straight was WAY too confusing. So, even though the moves were cool in the game, we had to cut them. With the Laser (from CORE), you could shoot bats that would swoop down and hurt CommanderVideo. And with the Void ability (from VOID, duh) you could absorb black beats that flew across the screen.
In this screen, you can see a very early mockup of BIT.TRIP FATE, when CommanderVideo (and his friends) were going to be piloting spaceships. Eventually the spaceships were scrapped in favor of the more iconic floating CommanderVideo, which fit both the theme of the story and the artistic style much better.
You can also see the competitive/co-op Dominator/Parasite feature illustrated in this image. When players were co-operating well, and their scores were within a certain amount, players were in balance. But if one player pulled ahead in their score, they became the "dominator" and the other player became the "parasite". In order to balance the scores out again, the parasite could hover over the dominator and syphon their points away, adding them to their own tally. This would encourage strange co-operation as well as competition among the players. This was removed when we cut 2-player.
Once our Art Director saw (the top) image, he felt that it represented the Fate Line very well, and as we were exploring themes from each of the previous games in FLUX, we moved forward with this sort of ribbon-style interpretation of the Vibe throughout FLUX.
(The bottom image) just felt like an abstract representation of some of the buildings that were seen in FATE, and we felt that the abstract and ethereal presentation of these "buildings" truly belonged in the final game, after CommanderVideo is dead, and after all the stuff we've experienced in the previous games are also dead, these ghostly buildings were a huge inspiration.
This animation was created for use in a psychological study conducted by Fritz Heider and Mary-Ann Simmel in 1944 titled "An Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior."
We first saw this video at IndieCade 2010, and it was a total mind-blower. Hemisphere Games designer Andy Nealan did a presentation that illustrated how amazingly simple stories can be told, and we were downright inspired. Therefore, in the cutscenes of FLUX, we opted for abstract shapes that represented CommanderVideo and his friends as he bid them (and the world) farewell.