IGS: The Kyles - From EA's DS 'Indie Side' To WiiWare Praise
Kicking off day two of the Independent Games Summit, Kyle Gabler - co-founder of World Of Goo creator 2D Boy, and Kyle Gray - working at EA Tiburon on a "quasi-indie title" - discussed how the two CMU grads and Experimental Gameplay Project had diverging paths but both innovative ways of making independent-minded games work.
The session was hilariously honest - and filled with Powerpoint captions and puns on the perils of working at a big company and at a tiny start-up developer respectively.
Firstly, Gray showed a Flash-based EA prototype he did at Tiburon called Monkey Business - clearly designed for the Nintendo DS - in which the top screen featured a 2D side-scrolling action title with a British explorer fighting with monkeys and powering up with giant robots made out of Big Ben. The bottom screen is a block-shuffling pzzler, and platform game actions affect the blocks that appear in the bottom of the screen.
The project - in modified form, but still starring the British explorer, sometimes called 'Hatsby' - was then seen by the newly segmented EA Casual, which greenlit it. Gray finally showed a video "for an un-named platform" of the latest version of the game - clearly the Nintendo DS - with the same dual-screen gameplay, and classic 2D side-scrolling goodness - complete with an opera-singing boss and other quirkiness. He quipped in questions: "It's this weird new face of EA... they're actually looking to do new things now."
As for Gabler, his first game as 2D Boy was The 100 Year Tree, where he modeled an eco-system - but after seeing a Russian developer 'borrow' the Tower Of Goo concept for a Pocket PC game, they decided to make an enhanced version of the concept in the form of World Of Goo - which is one of the two most-nominated titles for this year's Independent Games Festival Awards.
The title is still in negotiations with publishers, but is confirmed to appear initially on PC and Nintendo's Wii. Gabler made it clear In questions that the title is not yet confirmed for WiiWare, and hinted that they might be considering different type of distribution in different territories, but noted after dealing with publishers: "I cannot speak more highly of WiiWare." He also mentioned 45mb as a possible WiiWare file size cap in passing, though it was unclear whether this was a confirmed figure.