VGB Feature: Pid Q&A With Might and Delight Managing Director Wendy Young

Pid

After forming in 2010, the team at Might and Delight, consisting of ex-GRIN mates behind Bionic Commando: Rearmed as well as veteran talent with experience developing titles such as Battlefield, Killzone, and Mirror’s Edge, is finally closing in on the completion of the studio’s first project, Pid.

Pid, for those who haven’t heard about this sleeper gem in the making, is a 2D platformer about a young schoolboy who gets stranded on a mysterious planet populated by evil robots hellbent on preventing the little lad from escaping the surreal world he’s trapped within and returning home. On his journey, the boy discovers a special power that forms the backbone of the game’s core gameplay mechanic.

Determined to find out more about the delightfully peculiar title, VGBlogger reached out to Might and Delight, and we were fortunate enough to have the studio’s Managing Director, Wendy Young, take time away from what I’m sure is a busy closing-stretch schedule to answer some of our questions about Pid before it takes the final tractor beam ride onto digital download platforms later this year.

VGBlogger: Pid is a cute yet curious title. How did you arrive at this name and how does it relate to what’s happening in the game? Does the name come from the main character or planet the game takes place on, or does it derive from something else?

Wendy Young: Well it started more as a concept for us… I guess….it spells the same word when you rotate it clockwise….I think of it just rotating around in space. We have called it loads of names. Pid just stuck. It’s open for interpretation.

VGB: Retro-flavored 2D platformers are really booming right now, particularly on the indie/digital download scene. What do you think about the current state of the genre and how does Pid distinguish itself from the growing crowd?

WY: For us it is really exciting and great to see a growing demand. The genre allows such creative freedom and nostalgia which evokes something special in all of us. Pid is routed in those old school values and we worked tirelessly to create a thoughtful, playful, ambitious experience. It is so much more because of its adventure, action and art house elements. It is our love letter to the genre and like nothing you have played.

Pid_1

VGB: Pid’s core gameplay mechanic centers on what appears to be a deployable anti-gravity tractor beam of sorts (please correct me if there is a technical term). How did the concept for this mechanic originate?

WY: Yes, a gem of sorts that creates a beam of gravity. Well, we knew we wanted to create a platformer with a strong mechanic. So we started messing around with cardboard cutouts talking about how you would move platform to platform….the rest is history.

VGB: With one of the game’s main selling points being its free-form approach to being able to clear each individual obstacle in a variety of ways, how challenging was it to create level designs with such open-ended solutions that are also properly balanced?

WY: The level designers love a challenge and there has been loads of trial and error.

VGB: I noticed in the original trailer a quick shot of a backpack inventory full of different items. In addition to the beam device, what other tools will players be able to play around with during their Pid adventure and what are some examples of ways to combine different items to solve a given puzzle or challenge?

WY: Well, we have standard bombs, timed bombs and life vests but the beam is dynamic so you get some fun treats that change the beam. For example you collect a slingshot which can be used to shoot the gravity gem into otherwise unmanageable areas.

VGB: How are new tools/abilities earned over the course of the game? Are they discovered at set intervals as progress is made through the world?

WY: We have a currency system lite….so collect star constellations along your journey and exchange them for items. So in some cases you get them as you progress.

Pid_2

VGB: How does the game balance out between single player and co-op? Is co-op the same content as the single player or do the puzzles, levels, mechanics, and/or difficulty level adapt in any way based on the method of play?

WY: Yes, but the level designers had to do a bit of tweaking for coop. The fun thing is that each player has one beam. So, you can mess around plus really cooperate. It can be a blast.

VGB: Will co-op be offline and online or one or the other?

WY: Well, we decided to go retro and stick to couch coop. We think it is more fun and forces a more real and tangible stream of communication.

Pid_3

VGB: On estimate, how many levels/hours does the full game encompass?

WY: Wow, that depends how you play or what you want to achieve…. 4-6 hours to 3 days….

VGB: Beyond the main story mode and co-op, will the game offer any replayability features and/or unlockables? Maybe some tough challenge rooms like you guys did back on Bionic Commando Rearmed?

WY: Sure, we have achievements, tons of secret areas and hard mode which you unlock after playing the full game…hard mode is insane.

VGB: From what I’ve seen of gameplay footage and screenshots, Pid has a very playful and surreal atmosphere. What were some of the influences that inspired the game’s unique art direction?

WY: We love works like “Little Nemo in Slumberland”, Studio Ghibli’s movies and puppet animations, games such as Uforia and Little big Adventure. We wanted to create a world that was just as imaginative, charming and rich with unique characters and culture.

Pid_4

VGB: I really love what I’ve heard from the game’s soundtrack so far. Who scored the game and how would you describe the musical themes and how they mesh with the overall message of the storyline and visual style?

WY: The music and audio design has been a key part in creating the mood in the ‘Pid’ universe. Our sound designer Josef and the musicians from ‘Retro Family’ haven’t worked with games before and we really liked that. Their work on Pid is not influenced by a traditional video game style, and that has taken the feeling in the game to a completely new level for us.

The musical themes have a common thread but also a distinctive raw feeling and everyone was just clear on the creative intention and we think it meshes into our design style. We are constantly inspired by the diversity of the team shaping ‘Pid’ into an experience that is more than just a video game.

VGB: Will the official soundtrack be available as a standalone download at some point?

WY: Wow, I am glad you asked. We are really in love with the music Retro Family created for the game. Pid the soundtrack will be available for download on iTunes.

VGB: Recently it was announced that D3Publisher signed on to publish the Xbox Live Arcade version of Pid. Where do things stand with the PC and PSN versions? Is D3P also handling those versions or are you still looking for partners to bring the game to those platforms?

WY: The partnership with D3P has allowed us to reach our publishing goals. They have been great to us and we are excited about this opportunity to reach a larger market. ‘Pid’ will be available on PSN/PC from Might and Delight.

Pid_5

VGB: Has the team considered doing versions of Pid for PS Vita and/or Wii U?

WY: Sure. We are willing to talk whenever Sony and Nintendo are ready.

VGB: How far along is development and when can players expect to get their hands on Pid?

WY: Early Fall 2012

VGB: Any details to announce regarding an expected price point or demo availability?

WY: Pid will be available for digital download cross platform (XBLA/PSN/PC) with a Demo Trial. We haven’t determined a price point but it will definitely be available for a reasonable price.

VGB: Thanks for your time, Wendy!

Now check out the latest Pid gameplay trailer along with a music video featuring Retro Family performing ‘The Butler Theme’ from the game’s soundtrack.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!