One of the highlights of my PAX Prime 2014 experience was my time spent with Marc Gomez of Tic Toc Games. As I am already a fan of Adventures of Pip, being able to meet the team in person, as well as demo the most current build, was a total treat! The controls are incredibly tight and responsive thus far, and should be intuitive to any longtime fan of platformers. Not to gloat, but according to Marc, I played a close to perfect run of the PAX build, so much that he even asked me if I had watched the build before I came, to which the answer was no. My years of Mega Man love have just made me an old hand at this sort of thing. I loved the way Pip played, and took to wall jumping and puzzle solving with relish. After my demo, I was able to interview Marc personally. The following is a transcript of that interview, with my questions in bold.
As many know, Tic Toc Games originally was a part of WayForward before they branched off to make Adventures of Pip. What was it that decided you on that course of action?
I really liked working at WayForward, I did a lot of cool games like there, like Boy and His Blob and Contra 4. But one thing I’m able to do at Tic Toc is I got to work on some original IPs like Adventures of Pip. So that was one of the incentives of coming over.
Tic Toc Games has a great pedigree when it comes to retro platforming. Have you considered trying out other genres in the future?
Well, because this is our original IP, we really wanted to try and do platforming. We have done other genres, because quite a bit of the other stuff we do for other publishers is a lot of iOS titles. So this is our way of doing stuff we do really well. There’s still room to do a whole bunch of different things.
What do you think is the reason Adventures of Pip is already more than halfway done with their funding in such a short period of time?
I think it’s partly because we learned from our first campaign. Our first didn’t have a playable demo for people to try out. We learned a lot of things. We tried to make sure we go to conventions like PAX, put in enough time and effort into the design of the Kickstarter page. And it’s done really well for us. The idea is a lot clearer this time around.
How challenging are the boss fights going to be in the game? And will they require skillful use of the various forms?
What’s different from other platformers is that you’ve got to try and figure out what to do before you really just tackle it. It’s not just fast Pip kinda action. You see the boss, it starts doing actions and you have to try and figure it out like a puzzle. What evolution of Pip should I be when I face this guy? When he goes into a second mode, what evolution should I be? At the same time, you’ll have the option to evolve and devolve at the boss fights (something you cannot do at will during levels).
Though I have no problem with Wii U being one of the primary consoles of the launch, why not PS4 and Xbox One? Is there something special about Nintendo to you?
Again, that is something related to our shift from our first campaign to this campaign. I think we were shooting too high, but we toned it down and we’re making Xbox and PlayStation our stretch goals. As far as why we used Wii U for our initial goal, it seems like Wii U liked to promote the games, and it helped use the code of Unity on Wii U.
Speaking of stretch goals, could you provide some details about upcoming stretch goals? Any surprises?
We have, again, Xbox and PlayStation as our first two stretch goals. After that, we wanted to do New Game+ mode. We’ve got a lot of feedback at the convention that people want to do speed runs, coin challenges, villager challenges. Those are all things that are up in the air, but we want to talk with the community and see what they want to happen in future updates.
Can you explain a little more how your Work for Hire projects have allowed you to lower the funding goal?
It is pretty much that we can do the work for hire, and have time on the side to dedicate to Pip. If we get our funding, that’s the way we can really put a lot of man hours into the game. Right now, there is a lot of back and forth, and just trying to make time.
Now, is that the Freemium you were discussing prior to the interview?
How instrumental has Virt’s music been to your vision of Adventures of Pip? Would the game be the same without his music?
Oh, man. With our initial chaotic town scene, if you hear that with the music (SIDE-NOTE: I had played without any headphones) it is completely different from playing it without it. Our level designer, when he first heard the music, his jaw dropped. It’s crazy. Virt’s a talent beyond any other.
The last one is kind of silly, but how did you come up with Pip as the name of your protagonist?
It sounds small, and it sounds like a pixel. It’s like a blip. One thing we’ve been doing is coming up with lots of little nicknames for all our versions of Pip. Super Nintendo Pip we call Snip, and stuff like that (laughs). And there is Flip for the Box Pip. It’s just a cute name, and it fits the character and the time period.
That’s all I have, unless you want to mention anything?
Check out the Kickstarter. Right now it’s close to 60% funded, and hopefully PAX is the thing that will drive us to the top and see that the word is spread.