As a lifelong fan of video games I respect the hell out of anyone who has the brains, creativity and patience to develop a game. That’s why I took the opportunity to sit down and ask the guys behind the new game Balance Bros some questions.
Chad (me): Hello, what are your names?
Answer: We are Daniel, Marcin and Philip.
C: Nice to meet everyone. I’m Chad; I’m not too thrilled about my name, so everyone calls me Ghost, or Ghost of Gamers Past–people like to put that S at the end of Gamer to annoy me.
Anyway, the three of you are developing a game called Balance Bros, do people now call you guys the Balance Bros?
A: Haha to be honest not really. It might have something to do with how good we are at our own game (hint: we suck XD).
C: You mind if I do?
A: We’d feel honored if you did 🙂
C: You guys (The Balance Bros) started a studio called Sarwic. Do I have that right?
The Balance Bros: You are correct. The forming of the company
was a natural step as we were progressing in
the development of the game.
C: So it’s safe to assume that this is the studios first game?
The Balance Bros: Yes, it’s the first project that is fully completed.
C: You guys are from Denmark which is consistently in many top 10 country lists. Here are some of the rankings: #1 happiest country in the world, #2 country with the best quality of life, highest minimum wage in the world and the most equal income distribution of any country in the world. Is Denmark really that great, should we all be
The Balance Bros: Denmark is great on the listed topics, that is correct, but the weather could be better, I guess that every place in the world has pros and cons, it’s a matter of how you want to balance it.
C: There’s the word of the day: balance! I know what you mean about the pros and cons of every country. I live in Canada, and all I see are the cons.
What are some of the games that have inspired you fellas to start creating them?
The Balance Bros: We grew up with games like Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo, almost anything made from the company Blizzard has been something to look up to.
C: That’s a great company to look up to. I’ve met some inspiring developers who looked up to LJN, needless to say they’re working at Wendy’s now!
On to the matter at hand: I’ve played the Balance Bros demo, and I have to say that it’s a fun mini game that will have anyone addicted to it. Can you give us a rundown of the game?
The Balance Bros: The game is all about cooperation. Each player is given an astronaut character that they have to control, they have limited controls, only able to move left or right and jump. The players are balancing a board, so it’s important to understand how to make it steady and in favor of both players without falling off it. If either of the players fall off, the game is lost.
Now for the funny part, as the game progress, the players will be awarded points based on how long time they can keep standing on the board, but there will be obstacles that will force them to move, eg. missiles, fireballs or even crates that will change their weights and force them to change their mindset regarding physics. As the players progress further and further, they will be challenged with new mechanics, but the reward is to climb higher on the leader boards.
C: The game was designed to be played locally with a friend, but I played it alone and controlled both characters myself－the best I could－and the experience was great. Will there be a one player option in the finished product?
The Balance Bros: No, we want to focus on the cooperative element and force people to play together 🙂 We want you and your friends to have those “special gaming moments” where you laugh, shout, scream and throw things at each other in sheer excitement. But you can of course play the game as you please.
C: Guess I’m going to have to find a friend! Most fans of video games don’t realize the amount of time and effort that go into making a game. I should know I’m just as guilty. The process by which works of art are created has always fascinated me. What’s the grind that went into developing the game to this point?
The Balance Bros: We started of with figuring out the game design. We wanted to plan every aspect of the game from a design perspective. We asked ourselves what experiences the player should have while playing the game and worked from there. Once we had a good game design foundation we worked on the technical design and decided on which game engine would be best. We ended up choosing Unity.
Since Balance Bros is a fast paced space adventure that relies on the players ability to
balance their character, we had to make sure that the game mechanics where on point before we could start developing content. This part took months.
It takes a huge amount of careful consideration to make content that is both fun and exciting. However, content creation was easier for us since we had done a lot of preparatory work. Content creation took us several months, constantly adding bits and pieces.
One of the first lessons our development team learned since we started making Balance Bros was, that although we had a good foundation with our preparatory work the needs of the project changed.
About halfway through the content creation phase we started getting people to test parts of the game and get feedback. This was super rewarding and we adapted the game design and technical design in order to improve the game. Some of the ideas we had at the beginning of the process simply had to be changed while others had to be emphasized more.
That’s a lot of dedication. I bet it’s easy to get discouraged, but you 3 have marched on. I’m happy there are people like you guys who are willing to put in the time and make the sacrifices just so we can be entertained.
Your game, Balance Bros, is currently in the crowd funding process and time is running out. I hope that the fine people reading this interview will take interest and download the demo then perhaps provide support. Is there a plan B; what’s going to happen if the goal isn’t met?
The Balance Bros: Balance Bros has an existing scope an existing schedule and an existing budget. But we are a small team and we have had to choose our battles. If our crowdfunding efforts are unsuccesfully, development of the game will take much longer time and we won’t be able to implement all the features we want.
C: It sounds costly to develop a game these days. Where does the money go?
The Balance Bros: The funding will go to a lot more game content, added features, new levels, bosses and enhanced graphics.
C: Is Balance Bros just the beginning of something larger; do you have any ideas for
the next endeavor?
The Balance Bros: We have a lot of different ideas for our next endeavor. But for now we are focused on Balance Bros.
C: Everything is hush hush, I like it.
Thanks so much for answering my questions. If you ever need an opinion about any of your current or future games don’t forget that I’m here for you guys! In all seriousness I wish you all the best of luck.
I encourage everyone to check out the Balance Bros demo at www.balancebros.com