With the upcoming release of Gajin Games' BIT.TRIP CORE WiiWare title on Monday, we thought it was time to get in touch with the ever-insightful CommanderVideo, aka Alex Neuse, CEO of Gaijin Games, to find out what we can expect from their second BIT.TRIP release.
As usual, Alex was as candid as ever, and he seems about as excited as we've ever seen him when the conversation turns to his newest WiiWare release that will be hitting the North American WiiWare service on Monday, July 6th at a cost of 600 Nintendo Points. You can check out what he had to say on the subject in our full-length interview below.
Nintendo Life: How long was BIT.TRIP CORE in development?
Alex Neuse: We started BIT.TRIP CORE the moment that BIT.TRIP BEAT was wrapped up, and CORE was in development for about 3 months.
NL: You've mentioned in other interviews that Imagic's Cosmic Ark game was fairly influential in your design of BIT.TRIP CORE. How so?
AN: As I work on the concepts for gameplay for each of the BIT.TRIP games, I start thinking about 2600 games that may have done something similar. Since we’re drawing inspiration from the classics, we want to make sure that our gameplay always feels like it might have been possible back then. Knowing that I wanted to go with a two-axis gameplay style with a rigid character in the center of the screen led me back to the Imagic classic. After the team played a lot of Cosmic Ark, we had tons of ideas on how to shape our game into what would eventually become BIT.TRIP CORE.
NL: Can you tell us a little bit about the gameplay in the game?
AN: The game uses the +Control Pad and 1 & 2 Buttons. Since we wanted this game to be more precisely rhythm-based, we made it so that you have to blast the beats on time with the music as they cross one of your Beat Lines (which extend out from the CORE in the center of the screen). Pressing a direction on the +Control Pad highlights one of your Beat Lines (so you can predict where and when the Beats are going to cross), and tapping the 2 Button activates the Beat Line with a Beam, destroying passing Beats. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, you also have a once-per-level screen clearing Bomb that you can use by tapping the 1 Button.
NL: What controller is used for this game?
AN: BIT.TRIP CORE uses the Wii Remote held like an NES controller.
NL: What about BIT.TRIP CORE do you think will make it stand out from BIT.TRIP BEAT?
AN: The control scheme and gameplay style is a lot more modern than it is in BEAT, and I think that’s going to be one of the biggest features that sets CORE aside from the first game. For the musically inclined, there is a noticeable difference in the aural landscape as well, and that could be a big factor for folks who really dig the tunes. Above all else, though, I think the fact that the gameplay is drastically different is going to be what sets CORE apart from BEAT.
NL: Does the musical rhythm still play a part in the overall gameplay?
AN: BIT.TRIP CORE is more precisely rhythm/music based than BIT.TRIP BEAT was. BEAT had you playing alongside the music, passively contributing to its themes, whereas CORE has you playing to the precise beat of the music, making it a more rhythmically active game.
NL: One complaint of BIT.TRIP BEAT was the way the difficulty tended to ramp up rather quickly, even early on in the game. How does the difficulty curve in CORE compare?
AN: The difficulty curve in BIT.TRIP CORE tends to be mostly wrapped up in the concept of Beats coming at you from 8 directions at once. It is completely bonkers on the brain the first 3 – 5 tries. However, I will divulge a small pro-tip here. In level 1, we introduce many patterns that are used throughout the rest of the game (in varying degrees of difficulty), so it’s good to pay attention to what’s happening early on.
NL: Is there any online play modes in BIT.TRIP CORE or any plans to add online play to a future BIT.TRIP release?
AN: There are no online play modes in BIT.TRIP CORE, but there is local co-op support (which we jokingly call Easy Mode), just like in BIT.TRIP BEAT. Currently, there aren’t any plans to support online play in future BIT.TRIP games, but you never know. If it seems like the right thing to do, we may give it a shot down the road.
NL: Is there one particular aspect of the game that you're especially proud of?
AN: I think my biggest sense of pride comes from the fact that we have been able to satisfy a particular emotive theme through art, gameplay, and music. You’ll notice that CORE is a darker, more serious game. But these feelings are conveyed primarily through the player’s reactions to the restrictive gameplay, the lonesome background art, and the driving, deliberate beats. Obviously, the cutscenes also set the tone, but I would have to say that I’m very pleased with our ability to convey such emotions with such a simple-looking game.
NL: Are you finding the actual game development becoming easier now that you have a few titles under your belt?
AN: We are certainly hitting our stride and as a team, we pride ourselves on constantly learning as we go. So I would say that yes, we are definitely finding certain things easier. By the end of the series, we should be able to pound out a BIT.TRIP game in about 2 days. JK OMG LOL ROFL! We probably won’t ever streamline our process that much.
NL: How far along are you on the next BIT.TRIP title and can you give us a hint about what we can expect from it?
AN: We’re almost a third of the way through development on BIT.TRIP ????. It’s a little early for hinting, methinks, but you know we love Nintendo Life, so I’m sure you’ll be among the first round of hints that we unveil.
NL: In closing, is there anything you'd like to tell our readers about BIT.TRIP CORE?
AN: I’d like your readers to know that we appreciate all their support and well-wishing as we work on realizing our creative dreams. We hope that you continue to enjoy the games in the BIT.TRIP series. CORE is the second installment of CommanderVideo’s saga and I would challenge the fans to start speculating on what it all means. Like the Transformers, there’s more to CORE than meets the eye.
NL: Alex, we here at Nintendo Life would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
AN: It was my pleasure, Corbie. I always enjoy bouncing Word docs back and forth with you. One of these days we’re going to have to meet up in person and have a bona fide face-to-face. All right. Back to it! Good luck with CORE come Monday! I’m a day-one purchase myself.
I've assured Alex that the next interview we do with Gaijin Games will be in person. I want to especially thank Alex for doing this interview at the last minute and for getting it back to us so quickly. -cd
Great interview Corbie! Thanks for doing it! I got my points ready for this Monday! Bring on the CORE!
Monday is gonna be awesome.
It's always fun talking to Alex. His passion for what he does is infectious. Now I just have to wait until Monday when I can finally get my hands on BIT.TRIP CORE.
I love these guys. Bit.Trip BEAT is awesome; the fact that there's a series is such a treat. Really not enough thanks is possible for me to express. LOVE
Yes,I can't wait!!
I still need to download the first one.
I dunno... I'm worried about Bit.Trip Core. Beat set such a high standard right out of the gate that it's got some huge shoes to fill! That said, if Core is anywhere near as addictive as it's predecessor then it should be an instant WiiWare hit.
Nice interview. I'm really excited to see what Gaijin Games comes up with for future releases, and where CommanderVideo ends up.
Gameplay and controls sound perfect, that was a detailed look into THE CORE! Thanks! Just having directional and button control makes me breath a sigh of relief, as I bet this one can get manic.
I'll likely pass on Core, but this reminds me to give another shot at Beat with a friend.
I will get this sometije, if not monday. I wonder if we're getting some other Wiiware games as well?
Hopefully this will come to Europe soon. I think I'll enjoy it a lot!
Hmm, if this gets some really good reviews I might get it.
Going to buy this once it comes out.
Cool. Good job Corbie. Everyone wins.
I wonder how many levels this has.
Buying CORE the day it comes out. Loved BEAT - truly one of my favorite games I've ever played and I'm sure CORE will not disappoint as a follow-up. As others said, I'm so happy this is a series. Thank you Gaijin (and Corbie for the interview)!
A question for Gaijin, if anyone there reads this: have any of you guys ever played the Sega arcade game "Flash Beats"?
woah, what was with the sudden JK OMG LOL ROFL... anyway, CORE sounds a lot more fun that BEAT, but if i like CORE ill get beat
Very nice interview! Are there any clues on European release date yet? I tried posting this question on their web site/blog, but it didn't appear for some reason...
GIVE ME YOUR GAME! I'LL GIVE YOU MY MONEY!
I have a hard time believing this game will be anywhere near as good as Beat, but, as someone said before me (too lazy to scroll up), that's only because Beat set the bar so remarkably high.
That said, I'm sure it's going to be great, and it's going to cause me to shout all kinds of profanities at my television.
i finished the bit trip beat just right now,great game.old good years they are repeated.the monday is so close.
@strato castx: I haven't played Flash Beats, but I just saw a few photos of it online right now and nearly lost my brainz. I want to play that game. Badly. Have you? Is it awesome!?
@CommanderVideo: very awesome, indeed! I was lucky enough to discover the game at the DisneyQuest in Orlando. There's a decent video of it on YouTube that will give you a general idea of how it plays. It's like a tug-of-war using waves of light, with some rhythm elements added in. When you see the waves of light traveling fast, that's when someone has hit one of the five buttons exactly on a beat.
Seems like there were very few of them made, so it's pretty rare and unknown. Hope you get a chance to play it somewhere - if you ever use it as an influence in one of your future games, that would be fantastic!
Can't wait to play some CORE tomorrow!
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