Typoman Interview With Bilal Chbib, Brainseed

Author: indienova
2017-02-22
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indienova
What's your impetus of making such a game Typoman?
Studio
A couple of years ago me and some of my teammates were brainstorming ideas for a new game concept.
One of the ideas that came up was a game where letters and words are key element of gameplay and artstyle.
We drew some concept arts for the game world and characters.
Then nothing happened for a while, but the idea kept haunting me, I thought there is no game like this and I thought it was great fun to carry around letters that are game elements in the game world, and that enemies and objects are also made of letters.
indienova
You dig quite deep on the core gameplay and made wonderful level design, how did you do that?
Studio
Thank you for your kind words. I knew the game concept needed a lot of time and effort to develop.The artwork and the idea that I had were not enough to get a funding partner like a publisher or investor on board at that time.
They saw potential, but it was still too risky for them because I had no previously released games and Typoman was our debut title.So what I did was work for hire to finance myself, also applied for a governmental funded loan, then took the time (approx. 2 years!) to work out the details of the game and the design of the puzzles, before we finally started working on a playable prototype version which we demonstrated at gamescom 2014.
indienova
Some interviewers said your game is combination of Limbo and Scrabble, what's your opinion about this?
Studio
I agree, and I’m sure there was lots of inspiration coming from Limbo, which is a masterpiece of its genre.
Typoman is a puzzle platformer (like Limbo), not revealing too much about its story (like Limbo), you play a little character in a hostile world (like Limbo), it’s a 2D game with shadowy aesthetics (like Limbo), you have to rearrange letters to form a new word (like Scrabble), letters at your disposal dictate which and how many words you can create (like Scrabble), the better your language proficiency is the better you will do in the game (like Scrabble).
indienova
Typoman has a dark yet beautiful background story, what do you want to share with us on this topic?And the emotional experience part?
Studio
When you carefully analyize the game, its war-torn world, collect all quotations, play until the final scene the background story should become obvious. Typoman is a symbol, a hommage to the "Hero with a Pen”. He does not use weapons like swords or guns, he uses the power of words. It represents the everlasting battle between good and evil, the battle between a writer, who devotes his writing abilities risking his life to fight oppression, against a tyrant regime, their weapons are the monsters in the game, they use FEAR, DOOM and HATE as their evil tools. The Hero does not want to be Hero, he is looking for hope, and hope is a key word in the game.
indienova
I'm also curious about your beautiful designed characters and monsters, where do you get your idea?
Studio
I think it was important to have an underlying story before starting to design characters. Once we had the main story, we were able to create the game world, the chapters, the monsters, the enemies, the main character, for example FEAR as a monster with a syringe that induces fear and increases the scariness, or the DOOM monster that comes down like a bomb from a worldwar airplane. Your nemesis has also the power to create words, but he is the opposite of you, a writer that supports the evil tyranny.
indienova
Someone believes that the only-one-solution of puzzles is drawback for a typing game, what's your opinion?
Studio
I believe that too, but the game does not have only-one-solution, some puzzle have up to 10 solution words. There is also the LIE monster which turns words into their antonyms giving you more letters and therefore even more possible solution words. There are also lots of fun words to discover, like CAP, SPIDER, FUN etc.
indienova
I saw your favourite games on your studio website. It's very interesting 'cause some of your favourite games are 3As and not many Limbos there. What's the impact of your favourtie games when making games of your own?
Studio
That’s an interesting question but I’m not sure I’m able to answer it, because I believe these things happen on an unconcious level. I remember that we often spoke of examples from AAA titles during our meetings while creating the game, so there is definitely lots of inspiration drawn from bigger titles. But we all love many indie titles, this is not an exclusive list, we have spent a huge amount of time with games like LIMBO, Ori and the Blind Forest, Braid, Trine etc.
indienova
Very curious about your next title?
Studio
Me too :-) !! We’re currently concentrating on bringing Typoman to Xbox One and PS4. I think we will announce the next title soon, it’s too early to tell now.

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