Exclusive Q&A with Ty Taylor – Developer of XBLA game The Bridge
The Bridge has been out on PC a little while already, but will finally be released on Xbox 360 on November 13th. Before it hits our consoles, TheXboxHub managed to grab a quick chat with Ty Taylor, one half of The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild and top brain behind the latest puzzle game to drop onto Xbox Live Arcade. (that’s him below!)
So, sell it to us….Why should Xbox gamers buy The Bridge?
The Bridge is what you would get if M. C. Escher made a game with Isaac Newton. It’s a puzzle game about manipulating gravity and walking through mind-blowing impossible structures, and all of the art is hand-drawn in a beautiful lithographic style. It’s won a ton of awards for the game design and the artwork. If you like beautiful puzzle games like Braid or Limbo, there’s a good chance you’ll like The Bridge.
Are there any amendments to this from the PC version?
Aside from Xbox Live specific features, it’s the same game, though during development I envisioned The Bridge played sitting on a couch, relaxing in front of a television, and playing with a controller, rather than playing at a desk using a monitor and keyboard.
How long has the development process taken?
From start to finish, three years.
Are there any games you looked to for inspiration whilst creating The Bridge?
I found Braid to be a big inspiration, not necessarily in terms of gameplay, but rather how the game is framed. Braid eliminated the “fluff” that many games incorporate just to occupy the player’s time. I wanted to do the same with The Bridge. Like Braid, The Bridge “just starts”, it organizes puzzles into chapters with the same theme, it incorporates story in a minimalistic way, it doesn’t have lives or any consequences for making a mistake, and The Bridge doesn’t incorporate any unnecessary fluff that exists just to make the game longer for no reason.
Was it always the plan to go with the M.C. Escher style from the very beginning?
Absolutely. I’ve always been amazed by Escher’s impossible drawings, and before creating The Bridge I imagined what it would be like to walk around inside of his impossible staircase or Relativity drawings. It seemed like an amazing experience, but doing this would only be possible in a video game. This eventually turned into The Bridge.
Which part of the game are you most proud of?
What I’m most proud of is seeing people’s reactions. I still watch first impressions and Let’s Plays on YouTube. I see people have a fantastic experience playing The Bridge, and it still warms my heart to know that I’ve created something that I’ve been told my many people the world over is their favorite video game. People have told me that The Bridge has completely changed the way they see art and they way they see the world. I never expected any of that, but I’m incredibly proud of myself and of the game for impacting so many people the way it has.
You’ve won a fair bit of recognition for The Bridge. When did you first realize that you were onto something special?
The Bridge actually started as a student project, and it was the first large-scale game that I had worked on. I didn’t know what to expect from it, and I certainly didn’t expect to be nominated for any awards simply because it was my first major project. In the summer of 2011 The Bridge was a finalist in both IndieCade and DreamBuildPlay. Huge gaming sites posted preview articles about the game, and we started getting a ton of fan email with people eagerly asking when it would be finished. At that point I knew we really had something special.
There are 48 thought-provoking puzzles in The Bridge. Do you have plans for any more in the form of DLC?I don’t have any concrete plans for DLC at the moment, but that isn’t to say it won’t happen. While a game created by a team of two people is certainly great in terms of the heart and soul put into the project, unlike a large team we’ve gotten a bit burnt out on working on The Bridge. While future DLC is possible, a more likely thing to expect is a similar but different puzzle game set in a different world, with a lot more color.
Puzzle games can sometimes become frustrating. Do you have any hints and tips for gamers playing The Bridge?
If you’re stuck on a puzzle, my biggest tip is to not look at guides online. While there are plenty of guides and this might be tempting, these will ruin the puzzles for you. I feel like every single puzzle in The Bridge should give the player an “ah-ha!” moment, and walkthroughs ruin this forever. The best thing to do for any puzzle game is to put it down for a little while, perhaps “sleep on it”, and let your unconscious mind work on it. When you come back to it and finally solve the puzzle, you’ll feel like a genius, and that’s the whole point.
And finally, are there any more Xbox titles in the pipeline for the Quantum Astrophysicists Guild?
Definitely, but it’s still way too early to give any more details other than “yes.”
And finally finally! That’s a cracking name by the way. Where did it come from?
I tried to come up with the silliest company name I could think of that I would be comfortable having show up on websites. A lot of distributors and contests require a formal legal company hold the rights to the game, which is why I created The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild in the first place. But The Bridge wasn’t created by a bunch of people in suits to make shareholders a profit, it was created by two independent artists who wanting to bring the world something intellectually stimulating and beautiful. Choosing such a silly company name was a subtle protest to the fact that we had to have a formal company.
Thanks go out to Ty for allowing us the opportunity to quiz him.
Remember, The Bridge will be available on Xbox Live Arcade on November 13th 2013. After receiving a fair bit of recognition and on-the-whole pretty decent PC reviews, this is looking like being one of those games that you may just have to play.
We’re certainly looking forward to it.