From Mr. Bounce to the award-winning Spirits, the success that Berlin’s four-piece, Spaces of Play, has had in the indie scene speaks for itself. Seeing as how we’re only days away from the release of the studio’s second title, Spirits, we at DIY HQ thought a nice e-sitdown with the auspicious devs would offer some insightful information regarding the game’s and studio’s future. Observe below:
DIYGamer: First off, let me congratulate you guys on the fantastic response that Spirits has received prior to release; you guys won the Aesthetics Award at IndieCade and got nominated for TGS’s Sense of Wonder Night. How does it feel?
Spaces of Play: Great! There was a tough competition at IndieCade which makes the honor of winning this award even bigger. Traveling to Tokyo for the Sense of Wonder Night was amazing as well. It was the first time we visited Japan, and we took the opportunity to look around a bit.
What’s the story on how Spaces of Play came to be? How long have you been working on games together?
We have known each other for a long time, we first met around 6 years ago at the Design Department of the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany. Mattias was teaching Game Design and Andreas and Marek took some of his classes. Last year Andreas and Mattias started working together to create the iPhone version of Mr. Bounce, which was originally a Flash game designed together by Andreas and Martin. Even though we have worked all together in different constellations, Spirits is the first project that involves all four of us.
Seeing as how Spirits is Spaces of Play’s second official game, I think it’s safe to say you have already set the bar really high. Do you guys intend on expanding the team? Did you do so for Spirits?
Spirits was a very dynamic project, we didn’t know exactly how we wanted the final game to be, but we did know what we wanted it to feel like. Being a small team allowed us to experiment and work in a flexible way that would not be possible in a larger team. Therefore, we don’t know if we’d want to include more people in the next project.
Where did the idea(s) for Spirits originate from? It’s certainly unique, but did you guys draw influences from any other games?
We are influenced by other games that we love to play, but none inspired us directly to do Spirits. Instead, we mostly draw inspiration from life and other non-game sources. We tried to design Spirits from the basic design goals of creativity, player freedom, and indirect control over the characters. This last part is of course similar to Lemmings, and when people start out playing Spirits they often notice the similarity, but once they progress they see that the gameplay of Spirits evolves into something quite different.
Marek and Matteas at IndieCade. Photo by Mimi Haddon.
I know the game hasn’t even hit the App Store yet, but what are your intentions with its future? Paid downloadable content? Free updates? Are you planning on having any Game Center, OpenFeint, Plus+, etc. integration?
There will be updates to the content, but it’s too early to say exactly how they will look.For a long time we didn’t have scoring in the game at all. We feel the game should be what you do with it. That said, we do provide a custom world ranking system per level, as well as for your total game rank. We don’t have any external API integration, because we feel it doesn’t fit so well with our game.
What makes the iOS your platform of choice? Do you intend on releasing the game on other platforms?
The iPad fits the game perfectly, but we are considering porting the game to other platforms. For the next weeks our focus will be on finishing the iPhone, iPod touch and Retina Display version of the game.
I’m really interested to know what your favorite games are and what you spend your time with when not developing. What does Spaces of Play do on its days off?
What are these “days off” you’re talking about? Seriously, when we don’t work on the game we try to go outside and have a walk in the park, play some soccer, go to concerts or exhibitions, or just grab a beer with some friends. But to name a few of our recent favorite games: “Braid”, “PixelJunk Shooter”, “Sixteen Tons”, “Every Day the Same Dream”, “Sleep Is Death”. We also had the chance to play a preview version of thatgamecompany’s “Journey” when we were in LA, which blew our minds.
Let’s take it back for a second, what did you feel Spaces of Play accomplished with Mr. Bounce? Is there a sequel or new content planned for Bounce-fans?
Mr. Bounce was our first project for the iPhone under the Spaces of Play label, so we learned some things about self-publishing a game on the AppStore that should help us with the release of Sprits. Like Spirits, it blends known game mechanics with new and unique ideas, which maybe is a good way of describing how we work. If time allows, we’d love to come back to it and maybe do an update that has native support for resolutions of the iPad and iPhone 4.
Do you have any other games you’ve been working on? Any ideas for what happens after Spirits?
Everyone of us has a couple of ideas, but we not working on another game yet and haven’t decided what kind of project to do after Spirits. We will try to get some more sleep though.
Is there anything else you would like to tell the indie fans, the mainstream fans, and the world in general?
Being still is not the same as doing nothing! Rush into things slowly, and thanks for making it possible for us to work on games like Spirits.
Thanks, gents! Congratulations again. We wish you the best of luck with Spirits and hope to hear from you soon.
There’s Spaces of Play talkin’ games, development, and even sharing philosophies. You can read our preview of Spirits here, and keep an eye out for our upcoming review. For more on Spaces of Play, check out their awesome blog which documents the creation process for Spirits.