Image courtesy of Choice Provisions

RUNNER3

CommanderVideo is switching things up

Last modification: 11 Oct, 2017
Duration
5 mins

This past February, we got our first glimpse of the upcoming installment of BIT.TRIP series when Nintendo announced it will be exclusive to the Switch.

We caught up with Choice Provisions’ artist, Josh Defries to get the scoop on the games’ development and the inspiration behind this wacky platformer.


 


How would you describe the BIT.TRIP Runner series?

The BIT.TRIP RUNNER games are rhythm/music platformers. There’s a sound associated with each action the player performs, allowing you to contribute to the music of the game!

What was the inspiration behind the series?

The original BIT.TRIP series was comprised of six games: BIT.TRIP BEATBIT.TRIP COREBIT.TRIP VOIDBIT.TRIP RUNNERBIT.TRIP FATE, and BIT.TRIP FLUX. People seemed to enjoy all of them, but many regarded BIT.TRIP RUNNER as the standout. This told us there was likely enough demand for a sequel, and so we put our heads together to figure out if we felt we could offer up enough new ideas and expand on previous ideas in a way that justified creating a numbered sequel. Spoiler: we decided we could. Additional spoiler: we came to the same conclusion for RUNNER3.

How did you come up with the quirky art style and music for RUNNER3?

I would say it’s very much a manifestation of our own personal preferences when it comes to video games. We’re really big fans of Nintendo, who have a real knack for making vibrant, upbeat games. That’s something we really admire and draw a lot of inspiration from, and we think that inspiration shows up most in the RUNNER games.

The music for the game comes from our longtime composer Matt Harwood (AKA Petrified Productions). He’s unbelievably good at what he does.



What about the lands?

We wanted every land in RUNNER3 to have a strong visual identity, but be open-ended enough conceptually to allow us to get kind of wacky with it. Foodland, for example, has plenty of the staples one might expect in a food-themed world (waffles, donuts, bacon, etc.). But we also wanted to offer up some items people wouldn’t be expecting, such as cattails made out of hotdogs. 

I should also mention that ‘Foodland’ in particular was inspired by our love (bordering on obsession) of food at this company. Our Slack is filled with images of food at pretty much all times.

What does your production pipeline look like and how does Maya play a role?

Maya is our primary 3D asset creation and animation application. Almost all of our high poly modeling, low poly retopology, UV work along with character rigging and animation is handled in Maya.  Baking and texturing are done in Substance Painter and Photoshop. 

Did you run into any new development difficulties making RUNNER3 as compared to the other games in the series? 

If anything, we’ve had fewer difficulties! We were able to go into this project with the knowledge gained from developing the first two, which gave us a pretty good sense of the work we had ahead of us. 



What was it like developing for the Switch, a new platform?

We were nervous at first about developing for the Switch, simply because there are always unknowns with new platforms. We ended up getting the game running on the console in only a day, however, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since!

What did you prioritize when making RUNNER3?

As important as it is to us to have appealing visuals and catchy music, we take a “fun first” approach to game development. You can make the best-looking game in the world, but it’s all for naught if the gameplay is lacking. This way of thinking guides most of the decisions we make in the company. We’re pretty unwilling to implement something if it will cause the gameplay to suffer in any way.

What do you see for the future of gaming? What are you most excited about?

I think we’ve started to see a push for more inclusivity in games and game development. There’s still plenty of work to be done in this regard, but any progress made on this front will only lead to more diverse game experiences and games that offer unique perspectives we haven’t seen before. I think this is a pretty crucial step for any creative medium to take, and I look forward to seeing it happen in games.


 


Choice Provisions uses Maya for the development of RUNNER3. CommanderVideo is making its way to the Nintendo Switch late 2017. Keep up to date on Choice Provisions’ Dev Blog.

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