Flip’s Twisted World Interview

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, August 9, 2010

Majesco Entertainment is preparing to release Flip’s Twisted World, a brand new puzzle platformer for the Wii. In this title players step into the role of Flip and use the Wii Remote to rotate the world and solve different puzzles. To find out more about the game, I spoke to lead designer Douglas Gregory from developer Frozen North Productions.

Tell us a little about Flip. Who is he exactly, and what is he up against in Flip’s Twisted World?

Flip is an apprentice wizard, of sorts, except that his master is very reluctant to teach him much magic. Impatient for adventure, Flip sneaks into his master’s study and is pulled into a magical book. To escape, Flip must battle and puzzle his way through six twisted-up worlds, ultimately confronting a ghost of his master’s past.

What kind of characters will Flip meet along his journey and how will they help him out?

Flip’s most helpful companion is his magical artifact, Pivot. Pivot is an enchanted cube, whose role is to help young wizards master magic – kind of a magical set of training wheels. Pivot has multiple personalities, one for each face of the cube, and each one gives Flip a new magical ability once powered-up.

Along the way, the pair will meet denizens of each of the twisted worlds they explore, who will share information with Flip and open doors, as well as treat the player to some amusing dialogue.

The game uses the Wii Remote to flip the game world 90 degrees. Tell us some of the more interesting ways in which this concept works in game. 

The most obvious use of this power is to twist the world so the wall becomes a floor, and you can walk up to the ceiling. This makes it easy to avoid classic obstacles like pits, but also opens the way for some devilish mazes.

You can also use this power to cross gaps that are too big to jump, or where there’s no good landing to catch you. Just twist the world and fall onto the far side, then walk to where you can safely twist back to the floor. Remember not to fall too far, though: long drops will set you back to your last checkpoint.

Certain objects will twist along with you if you get close enough. That means you can move an object you can’t reach (because of a fence or a gap) by changing its gravity so that it falls somewhere else.

Flip’s Twisted World features a musical score by Tommy Tallarico and narration by Anthony Stewart Head. What was it like working with them and what do you feel they added to the overall experience?

Working with Tommy Tallarico and Anthony Stewart Head was an amazing experience. We asked Tommy to give us music that echoed some of the catchy feel of classics like Mario, Sonic, Megaman, and Zelda, and he delivered on every track with his own signature spin. Anthony Stewart Head’s voice and performance adds subtlety and gravitas to the game’s narration, bringing the character of Master Fulcrum to life.

These two professionals have, each in their own way, given Flip’s Twisted World a sophistication in its audio that we were very fortunate to achieve for our first title.

What types of games inspired you when creating Flip’s Twisted World? Personally I feel as though it looks like a combination of a traditional platformer with puzzle titles such as Kula World (Roll Away) and Marble Madness.

Console classics were our biggest inspiration, from the original Mario, Sonic, Megaman and Zelda titles to N64 games like Banjo Kazooie. I hadn’t considered the influence of Marble Madness before, but now that you mention it, I can see that it’s probably had an impact too.

What did you have in mind when creating the overall art style of the game? Was there a particular theme that you were going for?

Our art team took a lot of inspiration from animation classics, from Warner Brothers and Disney, through contemporary Pixar works. They worked hard to create that fantastic, whimsical quality in all of the game’s characters and settings. A sense of topsy-turvy, and of wonder around every corner are consistent visual themes throughout the game.

How did you get involved with Majesco? Did you show the game to them or did they come to you?

Majesco Entertainment approached us in November of 2007, inviting proposals for Wii and DS titles. Up until then we had been developing an Xbox 360 prototype for what would become Flip’s, but we instantly saw how the game could shine using the Wii’s gesture controls. We made a pitch in early 2008, and had a signed contract to start development by the spring.

How long has the game been in development for, and what has been the biggest challenge during its creation?

From contract to completion, Flip’s Twisted World was in development for two years. The biggest challenge during that time was creating all of the content to fill-out our six worlds. Every world requires hundreds upon hundreds of art assets, from textures to 3D models, materials, particle systems, animations, cinematics, etc. For much of development our team was only around 8 people, and even outsourcing some of the art production we were taxed to our limit throughout the creation of Flip’s.

All that hard work really shows: it’s one of the most visually rich games on the Wii now, especially for a first-time, third-party developer.

Is there interest in making a version of Flip’s Twisted World for any other platforms at this time? I could see a version working on the IPhone for example, where you shake the screen to tilt the world or something to that effect.

We would be very interested in making Flip’s titles for other platforms, and have investigated some possibilities (I can’t say which ones, though). Ultimately the decision rests with Majesco Entertainment. If Flip’s Twisted World is successful on the Wii, there’s a good chance they might want to expand the franchise to other platforms.

Flip’s Twisted World will be available exclusively on the Wii in September. Check out the debut trailer for the game below.

 

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