Remember 1997, when Dante’s Peak and Volcano, two movies focused on volcanic eruptions, released within weeks of each other? And 1998, when Armageddon and Deep Impact both thudded into the earth at the same time? Well, video games can have the same synchronicity. In 2020, within a week of each other, two games focused on the joys of ‘moving house’ launched: Moving Out released on pretty much all platforms, and a game called Get Packed landed on Google Stadia.
Being on a fledgling platform like Stadia meant that Get Packed didn’t quite get the exposure that Moving Out did. It’s a shame, as Get Packed had a lot of merits. It was perhaps even more of an over-the-top, crazy partner to Moving Out, and initial reviews were strong. But there’s a silver lining: the platform exclusivity for Get Packed with Google Stadia has elapsed, and it is now coming to Xbox with some separation from Moving Out. We can view it on its own merits, and get an expanded ‘Fully Loaded’ version to boot.
To give us an oversight of what comes in this full-fat version of Get Packed, what the developers felt about Moving Out, and how the community has helped to progress it post launch, we talked to Marcus Gardner of Moonshine Studios.
Could you please introduce yourself and your role on Get Packed: Fully Loaded?
Hello! My name is Marcus Gardner, and I’m one of the co-founders of Moonshine Studios, and a programmer on Get Packed: Fully Loaded. My work tended to focus on AI, physics and gameplay systems.
How would you pitch Get Packed: Fully Loaded to someone new?
Get Packed: Fully Loaded is a comedic physics-based cooperative game for one to four players where you play as a removals team tasked with relocating the citizens of Ditchlington as an evil salt conglomerate tries to take over the Town.
This is a ‘Fully Loaded’ release of the original Get Packed. What does the Fully Loaded part give us?
Get Packed: Fully Loaded features two brand new campaign chapters, Chapter 5 which completes the game’s story, and an Epilogue. It also adds another seven versus levels, a new time attack game mode, and a plethora of new challenges, playable characters, outfits and hats. Other than the additional content, we have added a truck load of life improvements, balancing, networking and bug fixes to improve both the local and online experience.
One of the joys of Get Packed is that the scenarios get ludicrous, with flumes, bank vaults, the Moon, and others. What was the inspiration for pushing Get Packed so far out there?
When we began development of Get Packed, we brainstormed a massive list of ideas for potential levels and mechanics. The more ideas we added to the list, the crazier and more bizarre they got. For early inspiration we looked at a variety of slapstick comedies, including classics like Buster Keaton’s films, to the more contemporary Jackass. It was important to us to constantly keep the player guessing what the next level might bring, by constantly upping the ante.
Were there any scenarios that had to be left on the cutting room floor?
Plenty! We have a whole spreadsheet of different level ideas and scenarios, with possible physics mechanics to add, but unfortunately we had to leave a lot on the wayside due to time and resource constraints. If our launch goes well and the community is excited to get their hands on more content, some of those ideas could make an appearance in the future.
How hard was it to get the physics right in Get Packed?
Trying to make the right balance between frantic physics interactions, stability and optimisation has been a very difficult challenge, especially when you start sending all that data across the network. We wanted to make every level feel new and interesting from a physics perspective by adding mechanics that we haven’t used before, but without overwhelming the players and cluttering up the scene. We wanted to ramp up the wackiness of the mechanics as the levels progress without necessarily increasing the difficulty.
What was it like being at the forefront of Google Stadia?
Launching the original Get Packed on Stadia was an incredibly exciting experience for us. As a brand new studio and our first launch title, to have the opportunity to release on a cutting edge steaming platform was really exciting.
How has the Get Packed community helped to change Get Packed for the better?
The Get Packed community has been amazing and has definitely helped shape some of the new content. A lot of people wanted more competitive levels, so we made sure to put a lot of additional emphasis on that, by not only adding brand new competitive levels to match the new stages, but also reworking some of the campaign levels to work competitively.
And in a similar vein, have you seen players doing things that you didn’t expect or plan for?
For the most part we were able to account for most player behaviour by design, but we have definitely seen some really impressive packing skills! We are hoping that with the launch of Get Packed: Fully Loaded, we’ll be able to see loads more interesting exploits that we wouldn’t have even thought about, especially in competitive play. The physics mechanics can offer quite high-level technical quirks, that most people wouldn’t know exist without knowing how it has been programmed!
Aside from Get Packed there’s another ridiculous removals game available in Moving Out. Have you been curious and played it as a team, and how do you think the two complement each other whilst battling for the same space?
Although both games coincidentally happened to be in development at exactly the same time, having both been inspired by similar titles such as Overcooked, they ended up going in quite different directions. We actually haven’t played it together as a team, but we have played it separately with our other halves, and it offers a very different but equally compelling cooperative experience. While the themes are similar, the gameplay itself is very different, so there is plenty of room for them to co-exist. I’d definitely recommend picking them both up!
And finally, any moving-house nightmares of your own? Do you pack your own, or get the movers to do it? 😉
While I don’t have a mover-from-hell story myself, I don’t think I could ever let movers pack my things for me hahaha! When conceptualising the idea of Get Packed we did have a big laugh over our experiences of how painful moving large sofas and cupboards up and down narrow staircases were though!
If you like the sound of an OTT, physics-based moving game that can be played by up to four players, then Get Packed: Fully Loaded moves onto Xbox, as well as PS4 and PC via Steam on July 29th. Grab your label gun and brown packing tape, and remember to bend your knees.
As always, massive thanks go out to Marcus for giving us some of his time ahead of the launch of Get Packed: Fully Loaded on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.