Monster Madness

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Monster MadnessWS000000Monster Madness
Hi everyone, the response to my blog entry in August was great, and I finally have some spare time. So here’s an entry about our latest PixelJunk title: PixelJunk Monsters!

Everyone here at Q-Games loves real-time strategy games, from Warcraft through to Command & Conquer and Company Of Heroes, etc., but the Japanese public simply don’t buy that genre yet. So one thing I really wanted to do with Monsters is take the simple RTS concept of building and researching and having base defenses (a concept that has been used in Warcraft tower-defense mods and more recently in its Flash incarnations) and wrap it all in a completely different style and mode of gameplay that the Japanese public (and hopefully the West too, of course!) would really get into.

RTS’s are historically controlled by a roving cursor (either a mouse, or an analogue controller) and right from the start I decided to take that away and replace it with a cute character you control. You run around as this little defender-of-the-forests type chap, collecting money and building defensive towers along the paths to your base. You can only build towers where we have placed trees in the stages, which gave us enormous control over the design and balancing of each map. As a result we have over 20 very different stages, all of which are unique and addictive to play.

Another major help in the design was the addition of gems that the monsters sometimes drop; using these gems you can research more advanced towers, or upgrade existing ones. If you like though, you can upgrade existing towers by doing a little rain-dance-type performance in front of them too. The longer you dance, the more powerful the towers become!

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Out of all the games I have made over the years, PixelJunk Monsters was probably the hardest to balance and tune! In the end, it took a whole team of planners (Japanese for game designer) to play the game non-stop for a month and record their data into a database from which we adjusted money/gems/toughness of enemies etc., accordingly. They were all thoroughly addicted by the end of this process and even after completing the game in its entirety numerous times they still boot it up for “one more go.” The online rankings are going to be pretty competitive for this title and there are separate tables for cooperative and single play. The cooperative mode actually gets people to talk to each other as they play, and seeing as girls love this game (no, honestly, they do!), Monsters could become an important tool in every lad’s arsenal!

On a completely different (but important) note, some people might be looking for flashy graphics with thousands of polygons and in-your-face transparency/effects everywhere but if every game is like that things begin to look the same; so for this title we have purposefully gone for a style that hearkens back to the pre-PlayStation era. By using a ton of meticulously hand-drawn 2D art instead of 3D modeled graphics, we have tried to re-create the feel of some of those older classics (we still go overboard on shader effects though, as they are so much fun to program!).

Our next title will be yet another completely different style (as was PixelJunk Racers). In fact, this freedom of style and expression we are discovering is one of the great things about developing indie games. With your continuing support (i.e. please keep buying our games, they only cost approximately 1.5 beers!) we’ll continue fiddling and experimenting with new concepts and styles for as long as we can come up with the ideas and cash to support them!

PixelJunk Monsters will be available on PlayStation Network globally in January.

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116 Comments

8 Author Replies

  • If PS cards existed in US I would have bought SSHD, Everyday Shooter, flow, Calling All Cars, Pain, Gripshift and all RFOM map packs…

    Now I lost interest in them, I want this and the booster for Warhawk…

    I guess I would be able to buy them too.
    Good work Sony.

  • This game looks very interesting. I’m sure I’ll download it once it is released.

  • Wait, So about PSN card, is solely based on how well it does in Japan and the places that have it, and if it does well it may go outside of that area? If that’s the case, that’s real weird the fact that they have the option of PSN card on the NA Ps3 right now. Sony take risk, and this one they may as well do, The fact that CC really doesn’t help if it doesn’t always work (In my case it stopped for some odd reason)

    :O

  • @Dylan-

    looking forward to seeing the pricing…game sounds intriguing, and even my girlfriend said the characters look “cute”….anything my girlfriend will actually play is great!

    you said 1.5 beers will be the price, so I assume you mean $4.99- a great price! If it’s really $4.99 consider it sold!

    cheers man- how’s the weather today in Japan?

  • not-buying-incognito

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…
    This doesn’t sound cool at all…..
    GIVE ME IN GAME XMB FOR EVERY GAME.
    and hurry up with it!!!!!!!

  • This is cool, looks like a pick up for me, i didn;t get pixeljunk racers but this im definitely getting

  • Sorry if already asked buy is co-op online or offline?

  • Remote Play and co-op play! You just sold me your game. I will be buying this one as soon as it is available.

  • hey Dylan…some of us would love to see Blasto on the PSN

  • PSP remote play just sold me as well. I wish more developers would enable the remote play feature. Up till now only LAIR was availble on remote play and it really couldn’t be played that well. I’ve never understood why remote play hasn’t become more utilized for actual “remote play” of games. Maybe it’s still too soon, I don’t know.

  • Hey guys,
    I’m thinking of picking up a new title sometime this week. What do you guys think of “The Eye of Judgment”? Is it a must own title?

  • READE MY COMMENT HERE !!!!!!!!! Sony … If i wanted this game … and i am from Bahrain … and Bahrain dose not have Store … what the hell can i do ???

  • RTS? That’s all you gotta say to me!

  • Will it have a level creator?

  • i dont need IN GAME XMB
    but how about
    custom sound tracks
    will it have it
    access my friends list

  • OMG! PSP Remote play. THank YOU!!! if not PS3 games, all downloadable games should allow remote play! So from a person who has open Wifi and gets hour long lunches, Remote play has been amazing and now that I can play atleast 1 more game (Lair is the other), thank you!

  • Thumbs up for the DualShock 3 and more importantly remote play support. So that’s Lair, Aquatopia, High Stakes Poker and now PixelJunk Monsters that support remote play.

    Any chance of a patch for PixelJunk Racers to support remote play? The PSN games would be perfect for remote play in my opinion. Hope to see Sony supporting the feature more and more in the future.

  • looks awesome!

    @Ghostm
    check these two videos out they may help you
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKc4e1T7sQY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5yeM7HaQ1g&

  • i love tower defense

  • @Ghostm

    this may help with your decision
    youtube(dot)com/watch?v=SKc4e1T7sQY&
    and
    youtube(dot)com/watch?v=h5yeM7HaQ1g&

  • :D thanks! omg i can’t wait for this. PSP connectivity! this is a dream come true!

  • …let me see if I’ve got this straight. You’ve re-invented Starcraft?

  • > hey Dylan…some of us would love to see Blasto on the PSN

    This made me laugh.. I actually have a working PSP version (via the emulator used to port ps1 titles) but the original just wasn’t popular enough to warrant a release. I think it got 3/10 on the equivalent of IGN back then. ;-)
    Of course, I don’t agree with that score at all(!), it was a fun romp of a game and simply misunderstood!

    To the people who played the Racers demo but didn’t get a feel of the game I apologise – we probably should have given the full game and made it a timed demo. The full game is challenging and a lot of fun – it is one of those games you can come back to week after week for a quick “fix” with. It isn’t a game you play for hours in one session.

    Monsters, on the other hand, is the kind of game where you don’t realise how much time you are spending on it. The “just one more go” urge is particularly strong in this one.

    I have no idea yet what the final price will be in the West but it certainly isn’t going to break any banks.

  • hey! Dylan what’s that 3rd game on the PixelJunk website?

  • i saw that this game game came out in the japan PS store today along with a XMB theme which looks great but i didn’t see a demo of the game. i hope to see a demo of this game and it makes sense you will have one since RACERS did.

  • The 3rd game is a bit “out there”, we’ll post more on our website over the next couple of months. I can’t say more than that right now but it is certainly one of our more “esoteric” titles and a bit mysterious, even to us! :-)

  • oh!

    I want to hear more about this third game now! :O

  • hey dylan, any plans for a pixeljunk RPG game? you guys seem to be hitting a lot of genres here and I think a 2d PSN RPG would be great. I know that might take a bit more time and money tho.

  • Dylan; thanks for comment 49 you’re the first to agree with our PS-Card problem ;-p still i feel it would be better to contact shareholders or Neeli Smith-kroes for they really have the power to make some changes…

  • >>Agriel
    We definitely have some ideas for an RPG-like game, but nothing concrete yet. As you’ve noticed we are trying to visit a lot of genres, but at the same time also attempting to put something new into them. It’s a pretty tough task.

    The Japanese movie went online (our guys were working around the clock editing it):
    http://pixeljunk.jp/
    You can click on the balloon for a Racers video or the butterfly for Monsters.

  • Dylan,
    sounds great, I have to say I’m becoming a big fan of what you guys are doing. I can’t wait to see what you guys do next.

  • Great ! I’m very glad, but why Japanese unlove World in Conflict?!!!
    Would anyone care to respond to the last question?

  • A game entirely based around the tower defense style of gameplay you say ? This game is going to be great and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It’s also great to see PSP remote playability being worked into PSN games. Can’t wait to see what games you guys come out with next !

  • This is the “future of gaming”???????

    i bought a PS3 over a year ago for this?????

    This and Twisted Metal?? oh jesus lord help now so i dont destroy my property or someone elses…this is a joke right??

  • “Out there” sounds great Dylan. Many thanks also for adding some of the fantastic art from Monsters. While I’ve only player the Racer’s demo, I have to say I admire the mentality behind these games. Monsters I’m picking up for sure, and I’ll be looking forward to what comes next.

  • I hope you implement a friends toplist similar to PixelJunk Racers. Every PSN game should have a friends toplist.

    We are a ring of friends and almost daily play PJR to beat each other times.

    FeelSki game had a potential to be one of games we play, but it failed due to a lack of friends toplist.

    Please, make sure all PixelJunk games have a friends toplist and you already have +7 customers.

  • Dylan,
    Very promising looking game and it is a good sign to hear the devs play it even after all teh play testing.
    Have you guys/gals ever consider updating some of the old games like Mega-lo-mania or Wizkid (Amiga)?

  • >>Murmur
    Yes, it has the same friends filter, it sounds like you are having fun with Racers as it was intended. My personal favourite is Sudden Death. I really feel the demo didn’t show the essence which is a shame and put some people off from buying it.

    >>Loucifer
    It sounds like you need to get your hands on Uncharted or R&C! Our games are intended to give you a little light but addicting fun inbetween the heavy duty bouts.

  • Wow, that game looks fun. It reminds of some of the old PC games I used to play before I “graduated” to the PS2. (and then the PS3) I really appreciate the creativity that you guys are bringing to the PSN. I mean, if we have all the cool games and content, who cares what our user interface looks like? (btw, I’m not saying that the PSN Store looks good, I’m just saying that that fact is not going ot make me not buy stuff off it….if there’s stuff worth buying…..and that’s where you come in Dylan…)
    anyway keep up the good work

    @ Dylan I appreciate all your responses (more than anyone else so far), but I’d like to suggest that you include the number of the post you are responding to as well as the name. (ie. “@#88 thingg”)
    Just thought I’d make the suggestion ;-)

  • Does it support local (same console) coop, or only over the internet?

    Does the entire game take place on one screen at a time (eliminating the need for split screen)?

    Alsos, is there a competitive mode of some sort (outside scores)- i.e. can one person play the monsters or something?

    Sounds like a great game.

  • Well…atleast you know theres still some fans of the game out there :)

    Dont mind Loucifer…hes always trolling

  • Dylan,

    Ignore the ignorant haters. This game looks amazing and I’m buying it day one. I got a question, though. How were sales of Pixel Junk Racers? Did you guys make a decent profit off it or did you lose money overall? I want more unique, indie games like Monsters but I realize that won’t happen if the company ain’t making money. Do you guys get some funding help from Sony at all? I hope people buy this game. It’s going to be really fun and addictive.

  • Consider me sold. I’m really enamored by the art style…you guys really have class. This is part of the lovely and patient process of filling in every possible gaming hole that might be on the PS3.

    Thank you for this.

    I’m tempted to buy PixelJunkRacers after reading this only because I would like to be able to say that I’m part of the “PixelJunk” universe.

    Not sure if Racers is my kind of game, though.

    But I DO love strategy and monsters, and the ability to have quick-jump-and-go-multiplayer is what I’m looking for. (I thought I had it with Field Commander for the PSP, but last I checked Sony dropped support for that one…still sad about that)

    Perhaps this game will somewhat relieve me of my current Eye of Judgment addiction? Only time will tell.

    Looking forward to it, guys! This looks awesome!—–12

  • Thanks Dylan for answering our questions. I can’t wait to see what else you guys pump out from your studio. You guys could become the premiere PSN-game-makers!

    Also, are you guys going to try to make all of your games from her on out playable thru PSP?

    So excited for this game!

  • I have to say this game is different but in a good way. I like seeing these games come out on PSN or Xbox Arcade. These can be really fun. So I can’t wait to give this game a try.

  • It’s cool that you guys are working across all these different Genre’s and trying to do things a little different in each one.

    Probably helps keep the team engaged and challenged always thinking outside the box.

    This looks like a fun game, definitely plan on getting it. The videos were funny.

  • Looking forward to it!
    Do you think online vs play could be added (at a later date maybe), or would it just not work because of how the game plays?

  • Hey, nice job with this upcoming title. I am still a hardcore WC3 Tower Defence player even if the game is OLD! I like what I see you doing for us with PJ: Monsters.

    As a suggestion: Is it possible to implement some kind of mapeditor? The reason why WC3 TD scene is still running is because of user made maps. Towers are different, monsters are different, maps are different, etc.

    If this is not possible then… I’ll go and buy this new iteration of pixeljunk!! :D

    KAAZMODAAAAAN! Ugh, that’s it, I’m dead..

    — Juginabi

  • i just watched the trailer and the game looks awesome! definitely a must buy for me!

  • How come the blog says, “released globally in January” when Pixel Junk Monsters is already released in Japan’s PS store? That’s not exactly a global release date, I’d say. At any rate, I’m looking forward to playing a demo of this sometime before it comes out, hopefully.

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