[In the latest Road to the IGF interview with 2010 Independent Games Festival finalists, Gamasutra speaks with Dino Patti, part of the team behind shadowy Excellence in Visual Art finalist Limbo.]
Copenhagen-based Playdead's sidescrolling Limbo depicts a small boy in a shadow-and-light, haunting world of ambient sound. Little has yet been revealed about the title, and creator Arnt Jensen is so intent on finishing the title that his partner, Dino Patti, came to discuss the game in its place.
Jensen and Patti have been building not only a game, but a business, and here Patti explains what they've been up to with Limbo and the studio.
Where did you come up with the concept?
Limbo is an original idea by Arnt Jensen which has been long under way. Right now it is the result of great teamwork, still with Arnt Jensen as Game Director in the centre of it.
My name is Dino Patti, I met Arnt in the end of 2006 where we started developing and making plans for a future gaming studio.
What is your background in making games?
My background comes from a long line of gaming and programming. I started producing games professionally in 2003, on a Danish project which actually made to worldwide retail.
What development tools did you use?
All made from scratch, so Visual Studio as the most important one. This was used to create the tool in which we created the game.
How long did you work on the game?
Arnt has been developing the concept and idea since 2004, I started working with him in the end of 2006. Since that a whole team of people has been working on it.
How does the idea of "Limbo" relate to the game's core goals or themes?
Limbo is a "real" mythical place. Latin "limbus", edge or boundary, referring to the edge of Hell. This is where the game plays out.
If you could start the project over again, what would you do differently?
Well, with the same limitations we would probably do the same again. Finding finances has surely had its toll. Thinking back, it could have been fun exploring some of the other funding options even though the road we chose were a defining part in securing the independence of the game.
It's has been challenging to create a game on our own tech, so we are looking at 3rd party solutions for the next title. Though we are still to find a tool which comes as handy as our own.
Were there any elements that you experimented with that just flat out didn't work with your vision?
Yes, hundreds. We had a very productive R&D period which was both fun and arduous. We have trashed around 70 percent of the content, which either wasn't tight enough or didn't fit in the context.
Have you played any of the other IGF finalists? Any games you particularly enjoyed?
I've only played a few. There are some really nice games where both the idea and execution feels right.
What do you think of the current state of the indie scene?
The timing is just right for getting good, small games to a mass audience as the nature of a small production enables many developers to ship themselves. I myself am very tired of playing the AAA titles. Despite polish and loads of content, they provide very low gameplay value.
Larger budgets give lesser room to create something really interesting, because you need to please a lot of people. Indie titles delivers an edge, and the audience has grown to a size which is not embarrassing to write into a business plan any more.