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Interview: Image & Form CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson Talks SteamWorld Dig And Working On The eShop

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Critical reaction, the Wii U eShop and picking 3DS over smartphones

At this year's Eurogamer Expo we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to speak to Image & Form's Brjann Sigurgeirsson about the company's 3DS eShop title, SteamWorld Dig.

In the interview, Sigurgeirsson speaks about the development of the game and its lore, its critical reaction, the differences in developing and publishing on smartphones when compared to consoles like the 3DS and Wii U, and why the eShop environments are the right place for developers as opposed to the focus on mini-stores and monetisation — sometimes at the expense of gameplay — on iOS and Android. And yes, we talk about the importance of music to SteamWorld Dig.

Sigurgeirsson also clarifies the reasoning behind continuing the SteamWorld franchise on the 3DS, as we reported previously.

Check it out below and let us know what you think.

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User Comments (36)

Link41x

#1

Link41x said:

This is a developer who must be commended! I like his way of thinking.

Meaty-cheeky

#2

Meaty-cheeky said:

Steamworld Dig and Gunman Clive are shining examples that Indie developers can be successful on the 3DS eShop, also the community on the 3DS is solid, 3DS owners are mostly informed and are looking for great quality games to play.

Freakazoid

#3

Freakazoid said:

I like that he thinks that mobile gaming isnt gaming but a shopping place with gaming elements.
Also i liked his sheep comment :-)

imageform

#4

imageform said:

All right... if anyone could have thought of offering some makeup for that shiny nose of mine? ;D Great questions Tom, enjoyed every second! Thanks! Now everyone please rush off and buy SteamWorld Dig if you haven't yet. ;)

ljb88

#6

ljb88 said:

what a charming guy, hope steamworld dig gets the sales it deserves; it is a fantastic game.

DerpSandwich

#7

DerpSandwich said:

This game's on my wishlist for sure. Just got to clear up the backlog a bit first. Looks really awesome.

Bucbanzai

#9

Bucbanzai said:

It is a fun game. Pick it up if you haven't already. A nice combination of exploration/mining sections will little a platforming/puzzle sections every once in a while. He had an interesting comment on the long sales tail of the game. I wonder if that is more common on the 3DS than on mobile. because the games aren't coming out a fast the ones that rise to the top stay up a little longer and drop slower.

luminalace

#11

luminalace said:

I finally bought the game last week and it's excellent! Image&form deserve all the success they have achieved and more!

GuySloth

#15

GuySloth said:

This game is amazing. I love that Image & Form takes the time to make an account and interact with the communities of whatever website providing coverage for SteamWorld Dig.

Dr_Corndog

#16

Dr_Corndog said:

"I need to put an APB out on some microwave popcorn."
"I'd like to report a very good-looking robot prospector."

Only thing that image makes me think of.

WinterWarm

#18

WinterWarm said:

It says alot about a developer who makes a game, receives critical praise for it, but doesn't act all high and mighty. Could you see EA or Activison using emoticons? I don't think so. Developers with humanity are the best! I look forward to the sequel. Best eShop game this year.

Feight

#19

Feight said:

I would get the game, I wanted to get it for awhile now but my 3DS broke. I am finally getting it mixed next month and getting so many games that came out in the 4 months that I couldn't. I am telling all my friends about the game too!

chiptoon

#20

chiptoon said:

I had exactly the same experience at GDC Europe this year, that mobile is being driven into the ground by business people that don't really know or love games. they kept using the term 'aggressive monetisation'. Many suggested that it was essential to finalise your monetisation system before starting on game design. Its so sad.

DamoAdmin

#21

Damo said:

@chiptoon Indeed. Brjann's comments really do hit the nail on the head; this industry is becoming less about games which sell because they're good and more about finding new mechanics to extract cash from players. I'm sure it's a nice challenge for business types, but for pure designers like the guys at Image & Form, you can tell it annoys them.

chiptoon

#22

chiptoon said:

@Damo - But its great for those systems that support great games. The expansion into mobile and monetisation will collapse under its own weight and leave systems like Nintendos as sustainable ecosystems. I released my first game on iOS 2 months ago and despite a couple of good reviews, sales have been pitiful, mainly because discoverable is near impossible on iOS.

Just started concept work on my next game, and am hoping that I might eventually get to release on WiiU or Vita. Damn sure it won't be on iOS.

What was especially interesting at GDC EU was the contrast between the monetisation sharks and the indie guys, who were all passion and inspiration.

PorllM

#23

PorllM said:

@imageform honestly gonna give it a download purely because of your attitude and coming here to talk to the fans - I've heard great things about it and enjoyed gunman Clive so why the hell not!

ArkOne77

#24

ArkOne77 said:

Can't wait any longer!!!!!........must buy.....today. If it weren't for my ancient plumbing breaking at my house I would have gotten this day one. @imageform Thank you for creating a game worth playing. Keep up the good work!!!

ted-k

#25

ted-k said:

right now I don't even have enough time to play the games I've already bought, but I plan to pick up Steamworld Dig shortly. I definitely want to support developers like this. I see so many people playing crappy smartphone games, and I just shake my head. what has gaming sunk to? I think that bubble is going to burst soon. Is there really much money to be made there?

DazzaAdmin

#26

Dazza said:

I have to say that I am really loving SteamWorld Dig and regret waiting so long to download it. I'm glad I bumped into @imageform at EGX, when I saw the passion they had for their game I instinctively knew it was something special. I was not wrong. This is an low-priced eShop game, but it really feels like a fully-fledged retail game in many ways.

I agree with a lot what Brjann says in the video interview. He's spot on about the way that the indie scene has become soured on iOS by these so-called monetisation experts. I'm sick of it myself, I would rather pay a one-off premium to buy a game which I will enjoy rather than have to ensure nags to buy extra content. That to me isn't gaming, it's akin to shoving coins in a fruit machine! :)

strongest_link

#27

strongest_link said:

I wish games like this had demos available on the eShop. While I am sure this is a great game, I'm not convinced it's a game for me. If I could have a 15 to 30 minute trial run with a digital download title, then I think I could decide if I wanted it.

KryptoKrunch

#29

KryptoKrunch said:

SteamWorld is definitely my favorite 3DS eShop title. I'm really excited for what I&F has in store for us in the future.

I'm not surprised that they chose the 3DS over phones. I can't imagine this game controlling well at all using touchscreen only.

imageform

#30

imageform said:

Thanks all! I pinch my arm from time to time to make sure all this response to and love for our little game is actually real. But I don't pinch very hard, because I wouldn't want to wake up if it's not. :)
@strongest_link Thanks for your comment - this is what I like about you real gamers on a real platform: you take gaming seriously. You don't want shovelware and you have your preferences. Should you download SteamWorld Dig? If you like mining games, then this is for you. If you like platform games, ditto. Adventure games? Then get it. Puzzle elements? Go for it. Emergent gameplay? You should have it.
In our trailer (we couldn't and still yet can't afford to set aside the time to make a demo) we call it "A first of its kind game". It sounds pompous, we know. But we think it is. If any of the above genres fits you, I think you should get SteamWorld Dig. And if you regret it afterwards, then tell us (@imageform on Twitter) and we'll figure something out. Or you could lend your unit to a friend who might like it. At the end of the day, you will have done the right thing: you or someone near you will have had a great game experience, and you will have carried us one more step on the road to making more of those. And they will be good. <3

strongest_link

#31

strongest_link said:

@imageform

Your advice was very helpful! Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. I will definitely be downloading this game, and it only took a few words from the developer to convince me ;) I'm looking forward to it :)

And I appreciate your words as to why you like "real gamers." In response, I can say that many of us are truly grateful for developers like you who take their craft so seriously and work so hard to create games that you clearly have so much pride in.

originaljohn

#32

originaljohn said:

Funny enough I got chatting to @imageform at Eurogamer too. I had no idea what the game was like until I played it at the Nintendo stand.
Very good game, haven't picked it up yet but will be very soon.

Paperluigi

#33

Paperluigi said:

I recently purchased this game and I agree with all of the positive stuff thats been written and said about it. I play this game more than any other at the moment and I think its the most interesting platform game to be released in years. I have other platform games like New Super Mario Bros U that Im just not playing because Steam World Dig is just too good. Based on this game anything these guys put on the 3DS/Wii U eshop gets an instant purchase from me.

imageform

#34

imageform said:

@strongest_link Yay! Glad you take it the right way - after I had clicked 'Submit' I thought "God, what a pompous answer!" But I really do appreciate people taking their time before buying games. If everyone did, mediocrity wouldn't prevail. Thanks for your kind words, hope to speak again on Twitter! (@imageform)

imageform

#35

imageform said:

@Paperluigi Well, wow...! We also tend to think it's very interesting, but then we are a bit biased. Hope to serve up more interesting games in the near future! Thanks for the love!

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