PID on PSN: More Than A Pretty Face

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PID on PSN: More Than A Pretty Face

We have been developing our first title, PID (coming soon to PSN), for nearly two years now. Like all developers, we had to decide what our focus with the game would be.

The videogame medium is unique in the respect that it borrows from many other media, such as movies, radio, and the written word. The one aspect that separates games from movies or books is their ability to interact. But there are other distinctions worth mentioning, too. A book is conventionally about the text; a movie is the combination of sound and pictures. A game experience, however, can be crafted using a varied palette and with a more unpredictable focus. The balance between the different media incorporated within a game differs from project to project. That is the strength of videogames as a medium – but also the challenge for consumers.

As players, we usually carry our own set of expectations and opinions regarding the balance between the games’ different sides. Some people prefer titles all about the story; others would discard anything that doesn’t demonstrate visual beauty. Of course, there are players who wouldn’t care whether their protagonist is a submarine or a dinosaur, as long as the interaction part is skillfully developed. Between sound, moving pictures, text, and interaction, we all have our favorites.


Which aspect of our game would dominate in the creative hierarchy? Can we justify a visually attractive feature, even if its gameplay function is somewhat doubtful? Do we force the player to read the dialog, or is the story an option that ambitious players can explore and enjoy? It became obvious that we needed some sort of theory or foundational thought regarding the balance early on.

For PID, the answer was inspired by the term “adventure.” The sensation of being on a journey, or an adventure, inspired many of our decisions. The variation of the gameplay rhythm is one such example. Also, a balance of preciseness of gameplay — supported by visuals and presentation that delivered on the moods we wanted to convey — remained the strongest focal points.

In PID, you are given a strong and potent set of features to help you on your way. But this “toolbox” doesn’t change during the course of the game and the variation is instead created by challenging the player to use his arsenal in different and new ways. This helps to establish the sensation of being a survivor — a resourceful child, ready for anything.


The difficultly level became a much debated subject internally. Being a platformer with strong influences in precision-based retro games, it had to be. However, with our adventure aspect, the difficulty naturally had to follow the same recipe. An adventure is something that happens once and it was therefore decided that you should have infinite lives. It all fell into place neatly. The game felt like a journey and the gameplay was difficult in the right way. Even to date, that defines PID: a challenging adventure through a world where ideas and creativity rule both presentation and game design.

Or so we thought. Two of our team members had an ambition to take the game further; especially the core mechanic. The light beams were considered to have more depth than what had been seen in the game. A new game difficulty setting was created to explore the idea: PID’s Hard Mode. After working around the clock – in a time where the normal production was at its most critical point – they were ready to share their results with the rest of us. PID might be a challenging adventure that lures you in with stunning environments and a mysterious story, but Hard Mode did not share these traits.

Hard Mode had turned the cheerful and pedagogical learning curve of PID into a nightmare. The game was no longer a tasteful balance between the different elements. It was now primarily about the interaction and that alone. It was quickly evident how the priorities in-game changed. The richly detailed colored backgrounds became superfluous; the charming cast of characters simply mocks you by their very existence. You no longer care about the little boy on his way home: you are far too busy memorizing the enemy patterns in front of you.

Understanding what balance a game is trying to achieve is the key to appreciating it. In our game there are two game modes, each with its unique ambition, feeling and balance. PID will be released very soon. I truly hope you will like it, and I dare you to complete Hard Mode.

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  • Literal difficulty spikes….I like it! I’ve been following this game for a while now, and I’m psyched to see it’s finally coming out. How much will it be? Could we get an October release date, so it contributes to the “spend $100 in October” PSN deal?

  • Also, just like many of the PSN titles being released these days….this game would be perfect for Vita. I’d definitely buy it if it were released on Vita.

  • I’d definitely buy it if it were released on Vita.

  • I remember when Adam Boyes first revealed the game on GiantBomb. I’ve been keeping my eye on this game ever since. Glad to hear it’s coming out soon.

  • I’d buy this day 1 for Vita.

  • Looks good for a budget game.

  • I like how the higher difficulty seems to be based on more obstacles rather than a smaller energy bar. Is this the case?

  • !!! Been following this game for FORever. Can’t wait.

  • Sony should stop making games for PS3 for a little and just start developing for VITA, only about, 2 millons vitas sold, but with game like this or like many other only hittin PS3 is a shame! Vita will revive SONY. All this games are good but on VITA they will shine MORE! But only a PS3 version will reach a 50% of potential!
    Games on VITA are (replayedbles*)
    Just make them and pleople will follow!

  • You poor fools that bought a Vita…. Hey look approximately ten Vita players would buy this if it were on Vita, oh joy, get to porting this right away.

    I would not buy this for ps3, unless it was under $6..

  • looks good… will definitely keep an eye on it

  • Some ignorance up in these comments.

    Yo devs flip that magic switch on the game you’ve been making for years to be on Vita instead. You know since that’s how it works.

    Nevermind that 2 years ago the Vita wasn’t in existence. Oh hey, where all Vita games? I mean it only takes five minutes to make games. It’s so easy. Not like any game ever takes longer than that.

    RIP common sense and reality

  • This game looks amazing.

    Also, I thought the write up was BRILLIANT and a joy to read.

    You got me.

    Guess I’ll have to get The Unfinished Swan AND Planet in Distress.

  • been watching this game since i first saw it on PTOM a few months back. cant wait to get my hand on this

  • I would love to see this on Vita if possible.

  • What a great article! And thanks for sharing your insight – not just into your own game, but into the very nature of gaming. I love challenge, but I’m an “in-it-for-the-journey” type of gamer first and foremost, so I’ll be taking the trip on normal mode. At least first time ’round.

  • One more copy sold, were it released on the Vita. Not that I’m not buying it on the PS3, but, you know…

    Devs must have realized by now that any good quality game released on the Vita would sell pretty much to EVERY Vita owner. We are starving for games, and we’re certainly vocal about it, everywhere on the internet…

    Oh, and @10, if you don’t like the console (probably never got your hands on one, it’s irresistible), at least respect us, happy owners! ;)

  • From the way the title is displayed I thought this was a game about breast-cancer awareness.

  • Looks fun, will be keeping an eye out for it.

  • This looks like fun and would be really cool on the Vita!

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