The Nerd Age team would really like to thank the Octodad 2 team for their prompt and robust response to our interview request. You can really tell these guys love what they do.
Scholar of Nerd-Age:One big difference with your company is you don’t have a “frontman” such as Notch. You come at it from a team angle. Why did you decide to represent the company as a team?
John: There’s a bit of a “cult of personality” vibe in game development. It’s simpler to think of a game as made highhandedly by one rockstar designer, creative director, etc., but that’s not how it works. That devalues the contributions of the individuals who put so much effort and love into their work. It isn’t possible for a huge team to represent everyone on their team to the fans of the games, but with a team our size, we think it makes sense is more interesting and rewarding for everyone to see each developer’s perspective and personality.
NA: In what ways are you getting feedback from your fans, and is there any way for them to send you more?
Kevin G.: One of the best ways we have been able to look at fan reaction is through the various playthrough videos and comments people post on YouTube. With game development, you can never really tell if what you are building is fun until you see someone play it, so having people videotape themselves while they openly comment about the game is a huge help to us. Aside from that, people like to send us feedback through our website, forums, and Facebook page or we gather it ourselves through doing playtests locally.
NA: How did you come up with the idea for Octodad? Where does your team draw its inspiration from?
Kevin Z.: Back at the beginning of the DGE2 summer project, we wracked our brains to come up with game ideas that could take the IGF by storm. As we’ve told this story before, some members of our team (John, Seth, and Nick) were inspired by Jurassic Park: Trespasser to make a game about horrid arm controls. An offhand joke was made about an octopus. When it was pitched to the larger team, it garnered tremendous enthusiasm and just rolled along from there.
We draw inspiration from countless sources. Old cartoons like Animaniacs and Ren and Stimpy, the architecture of the fifties, those few precious video games about fatherhood like Heavy Rain and Bioshock 2. Mostly, though, we draw inspiration from each other. Throwing our team chemistry at the wall and seeing what kind of messes we can make together.
NA: Octodad 1 set itself apart with its strange control style and upbeat, quirky setting. What will stand out for fans about Octodad 2?
John: Well, we’ll expand the story and settings in ways that will be refreshing and surprising while retaining the quirkiness that we think makes Octodad special. Also, we really want to make sure that we retain the strangeness of the controls while avoiding that wrong-kind-of-frustration that sometimes happens with the currently imperfect controls. This will be challenging considering that there will be new mechanics that will need to adhere to this same “bizarrely satisfying frustration” theme.
NA: From Octodad 1 to 2, how far has this game advanced? Twice the scale? Four times?
Kevin Z.: Our goal is to make the main storyline four hours long, along with possible extra levels and challenges that will increase replayability. That should dwarf the first game’s 30-45 minute runtime.
NA: Will we see the same bizarre style of music that you had in Octodad?
Kevin G.: I think you’ll see something similarly quirky to the original, though we’d like to play more with themes this time around since it is going to more story-driven.
NA: Can you tell us about any new gameplay elements which we didn’t see in the first Octodad?
John: We’re still experimenting. There are a lot of hilarious octopus-themed mechanics we might do, but we don’t want to promise anything just yet because as cool as an idea sounds we don’t know yet what will work and what won’t. We have a lot of prototyping still to do to feel that out.
NA: Will there be multiple endings or variations on the ending?
Kevin Z.: We would rather pick one ending for the story, and make it very strong. Changes in the story of Octodad come from player’s emergent gameplay, from filling in the blanks when Octodad burbles a conversation, and from coming up with answers to those questions we leave open.
NA: In the spirit of multi, have you ever considered multiplayer for this or any other Octodad games? It would be more than a little hilarious to see an Octoworld MMO far in the future.
Kevin Z.:We’ve considered multiplayer alright, and though it’s unlikely to exist in this particular iteration of Octodad, we may try something in the future. Current ideas involve competing Octodads playing soccer, or a mode where one player controls his right foot and one player controls his left. An MMO isn’t possible for us right now, but it would be pretty funny if every player was a secret animal of some kind (or a chef tracking them down).
NA: The Chef is back of course, but can you spoil any new characters for us?
Kevin Z.: The Chef has a wife, and she is a terrifying lady.
NA: You have mentioned taking this to several different platforms, such as Xbox360 and PS3. Do you have any platforms which you are 100% sure this will be translated to?
Kevin G.:We will 100% be doing PC/Mac, with a very high chance of Linux as well. We’d also like to see Octodad come to iOS if the gameplay translates well and will certainly do our best to bring it to consoles if our PC/Mac version is successful.
NA: You’ve mentioned changing up the game industry and doing new things. Outside of Octodad, what will you be trying to bring the industry in the future?
John: We are excited about all of innovation going on in contemporary game development. Motion control, mobile apps, and casual games that reach broad audiences are just a few examples of how much games are expanding and evolving. We’re taking it to the next level. We are going to continue to be pioneers in the dad genre, exclusively developing dad games. Games by dads, about dads, for dads.
Once again we’d like to thank the Octodad team at Young Horses, and we’ll keep you posted on this very exciting game.