Bleed comes from one-man team Bootdisk Revolution, AKA Ian Campbell. Mixing speedy platforming and tight twin-stick shooting, this high-octane indie won us over when it arrived on Nintendo Switch in December 2017. Nintendo Life had a chance to speak with Ian about bringing his first solo-developed project to the console, how the indie scene has changed since it first released in 2012, and more...
Nintendo Life: Congratulations on bringing Bleed to Nintendo Switch. When did you decide to bring the game to the platform?
Ian Campbell: Thank you! It's a huge deal to me being on there, and I wanted it to happen the second I heard of the Switch. Luckily my publisher felt the same way, so from the moment we were talking (June-ish 2017, I think?) it was something we were working towards.
How was the development process?
It was very long and very involved! I spent around three years making Bleed while balancing other projects and retail work, and while I'd made games before then, it was my first time doing absolutely everything myself. By the end of it all, I had basically made the game three times over, but I'm really happy with what I was able to achieve!
The online marketplace and the indie scene has changed a lot since 2012 (Bleeds initial release). As a one man team, what's it been like seeing the indie scene change and grow terms of digital distribution, crowd funding and social media?
It's been inspiring, and a little scary! It's so cool how many barriers have been removed to people making their own games and reaching a wide audience, and it really is inspiring seeing the indie scene grow and flourish. The scariness comes from how much (often stellar) competition there is cropping up, but one of the best things about the community is how helpful and supportive people are.
How has the relationship with the console makers developed?
I wish I could answer this better, as I've only ever done console work myself on the Xbox Live Indie Games program. To me, XBLIG started the trend of console makers feeling actually open to and willing to work with indie devs, whereas before they felt more unapproachable and uninterested. I don't know if that's true, but it's how it feels!
Bleed combines classic platforming with modern twin-stick controls. How difficult was it to map out and balance the different control elements to make everything feel right?
It was definitely a challenge! I spent the first bunch of months just developing and playtesting the control scheme before much else got done. For example, air-dashing and jumping used to be two separate buttons, and slow-mo would automatically initiate when you narrowly dodged an attack. It went through lots of changes before I got it right!
What games (Nintendo or otherwise) influenced Bleed's design and look?
What did you play growing up?
The only console I was allowed as a kid was a Game Boy, so I played a lot of Pokémon, Donkey Kong and Tetris... but whenever I could, I'd be sneaking to arcades or friends houses to play Mega Man or Contra or Turtles In Time!
Is there a Nintendo IP you'd like to have a go at developing a game for? How would you change the formula?
Woah, what a question!! I'd love to give Mario a shot - I'd try developing one entirely around the pure, abstract platforming levels they only ever sprinkle through their games, like a game of only the moon-pipe challenges in Odyssey, for example! But I might be the only one who wants something like that!
What's next for Wryn and the Bleed series in the future and on Nintendo Switch?
Well first, I'm hoping to make Bleed 2 on Switch a reality - after that, it's anyone's guess! I love the characters and gameplay I've created with the Bleed series, and I'd love to make more of them. For now, I'm taking a little time off to recover and come up with new ideas, and if I get enough of them you bet I'll be back for another game!
We would like to thank Ian for his time. Bleed is available now for download via the Nintendo Switch eShop. Let us know if you've played Bleed in the comments below...