The Handheld Tank & Saint Talk Playdead Studios And Project 2… - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

The Handheld Tank & Saint Talk Playdead Studios And Project 2…

Before we get started, I just wanted to say you're not the first person to ever leave the website and come back, and whatever the reason behind your departure, it's inconsequential now because the important thing is you're back. I'm sure I speak for most of the community members when I say it's good to have you here and we look forward to all you have to contribute.

So, you and I have elected to discuss Playdead Studios and their latest project - Project 2 (working title).

Project 2 is being described as a spiritual successor to Limbo. As you and I and the audience well know, Limbo was a sleeper hit of 2010 for the Xbox Live Arcade and did so well, it's now available on the PC and Playstation 3.

As someone interested in video game development, do you think their second game has a chance of competing with the high standard set by Limbo? What elements, if any, do you think they should recycle from Limbo and incorporate into Project 2?

Well I think that Project 2 so far from what we know about it, could easily compete, or even surpass Limbo in quality, and become another indie success. The concept of a 2D game set in a 3D world should add an innovative twist and make the game feel fresh and exciting while still maintaining the slow, dark atmosphere of Limbo.

I think that Playdead Studios should incorporate many of the elements of Limbo that made it such a success. Elements like the slow, dark atmosphere, and the very open for interpretation story of Limbo would definitely help to make Project2 another hit.

It's interesting you mention the dark atmosphere of Limbo as an element of success because Project 2 is still supposed to have that same feel, yet will be in color instead of the black and white scheme that Limbo adopted. Do you think they can still achieve that same mood and tone with a color palette?

Something else I find interesting is Playdead Studios chose to use the Unity engine instead of their own proprietary engine they used on Limbo. This decision is being described as a "reduction in effort".  I know you have tinkered with constructing your own video games using various software packages, so maybe you are familiar with the Unity engine. I wasn't all that familiar with it so I did a little reading up on it. Did you know the Unity engine will run on Windows, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, iPad, iPhone, Android, and is being developed to run on versions of Linux. Apparently it has also been used to produce web browser games. It's won a few industry awards including the Wall Street Journal 2010 Technology Innovation Award in the software category. It doesn't have a large library of games that have been built using it, but one interesting game in development that is using it is Wasteland 2, the game that was recently crowd sourced funded using Kickstarter.

Do you think this move is a sign that Project 2 will be available on multiple platforms upon its release, or do you think it will have a limited window of exclusivity on one platform? What about an iPad or iPhone version? And do you think it will be a full length game as opposed to an Xbox Live Arcade or Playstation Network only game?

Well I think that they could easily maintain the dark mysterious feel of Limbo with a color palette. Games can, and are, easily still dark and creepy with color. Games like Amnesia, Bioshock, Dead Space all show how easily games can be dark without making the whole game black and white.

As for the Unity engine, I actually hadn't heard of it until you brought it up. And it does seem very interesting and could easily take Project 2 in a new direction from Limbo. And could open up the possibility of an iOS port, which could be easily achieved if it still has the same basic control scheme as Limbo. However I don't think Project 2 could become a full length retail game and will remain like Limbo as a downloadable game, although it will likely end up being a larger downloadable game like Bastion and I Am Alive.

As for you, what are your thoughts so far on Project 2? Do you want Playdead Studios to add a more fleshed out story in Project 2? Or to keep a very open for analysis plot like Limbo, which could lead to such great analysis's as one I read suggesting the final levels of Limbo were representative of the boy dying in a car crash. Would you prefer a straightforward plot or an open one?


I certainly agree you can achieve "dark and creepy" in color, but my only concern is Project 2 then looks more like the games you mentioned and less like Limbo. There was something magical and mysterious with the black and white + film grain filter scheme used in Limbo. Somewhat off topic, did you ever see the YouTube video someone made where the little boy from Limbo has a flashlight and what the world really looks like? It's clever.

I would have to agree about the length of the game not quite being a full feature game, but perhaps a bit longer than Limbo. Clearly they made a ton of money off of Limbo, so hopefully they don't veer too far from that proven business model. I actually prefer shorter games (with smaller prices of course) as long as they provide a captivating experience like Limbo does. I think Playdead Studios will be able to recapture that in Project 2.

And as far as the story being clearly defined or open ended, in that regard I am a fan of a somewhat ambiguous endings. Then again, I actually enjoyed Mass Effect 3's ending for that very reason. For example, you mention this "dying in a car crash" theory, which is not one I've heard - if the game ended and that was indeed the story and it was clearly revealed, I don't think I would've liked the game as much. I saw it completely different. For me (and I've written a number of blogs about it) it was more a story of a real boy with an overactive imagination; who battles spiders and bullies while traversing jungles and cityscapes to find his sister and get home.  I've gone on those same journeys when I was a little kid...in my imagination of course. I've read a number of the theories and yes...I can see that the boy was thrown through a windshield and the game play represents his life passing before his eyes - but I like that I am able to inject my own translation into the intentionally vague plot. Sure, mine might be simplistic and wrong, but since it isn't clearly defined nobody can prove it. That was a long winded answer to say I'm fine with Playdead Studios having another open ended, undefined game ending.

I was also surprised to read it's going to take over three years to complete the game and that the Danish Film Institute is one of the primary financial supporters. What do you think about that, outside entities or venture capitalists investing in the development and production of the video game industry, especially in light of the 38 Studios - Curt Schilling debacle?

I would have to agree on that first point, Limbo did have a certain magic about it and the black and white color scheme, and the film grain effect helped add to that magic a lot. And yes having a color scheme in Project 2 could result in it losing that feel and atmosphere, but I think that Playdead Studios could make it work, looking at some of the screenshots even though it is in color it's still very bleak and none of the colors are very bright. And even if they do have bright colors it can still have a great feel to it, just like Bastion which had a very bright color palette had a certain feel all because of the art style. And I did see that video a while ago of Limbo, it was pretty funny.

Back to the story interpretation, I never really thought of it that way and that does seem as a plausible meaning behind Limbo. And it does go to show just open the story of Limbo is, and how it could really be interpreted any way and could change the whole experience of playing it.

I too was surprised to see its going to take 3 years to develop Project 2, but seeing as Limbo took that long as well to make it's just fine it's taking that long. The more time the developers spend perfecting it the better it will be. As for the Danish Film Institute supporting the development of it I'm not really sure. I suppose it could end up working out fine as long as they don't interfere at all.

Well now we've reached over 1500 words and have covered everything about Project 2 so I think we're about done with this co-blog. Do you have anything else to add about Project 2?

Well, we did fail to mention the one shred of evidence what the story is going to be about it. It's fairly vague, but pretty much all the video game news outlets are reporting the story is about, "a boy's struggle against evil forces trying to take over the world through questionable experiments on human bodies." I think we've pretty much covered everything now. Suffice it to say I'm pretty excited about the game. I'll give you the final word, perhaps a stab at the real title of Project 2 or maybe a thought on whether these "evil forces" are supernatural, alien, or the works of a deranged madman.

That story premise does sound very interesting and could open up for some new enemies. And as long as they keep the story simple like Limbo, I'll be happy. And well thank you for blogging with me and it was good being able to blog with you. As for those questions I have no idea.

It was my pleasure, and again...welcome back.

Cheers.

 

comments