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Extensive Super Meat Boy Postmortem Interview

by Adam Biessener on Apr 16, 2011 at 10:34 AM



The two-man Team Meat squad gave a long, detailed look at how Super Meat Boy came to be, the differences between working with Valve and Microsoft, and endless nightmares.

Originally published in Game Developer Magazine, the postmortem is reprinted online at the print book's sister site Gamasutra. The whole read is fascinating; the goofy personalities of Team Meat designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes really shine through the text. In the meantime, enjoy these excerpts from McMillen:

On the business of games:

I remember the day we got an email from Nintendo asking for head shots and a developer bio. It suddenly seemed so insane how serious everyone takes an industry whose goal is supposed to be entertainment.

On hubris:

Nothing could ever touch Mario, and nothing has ever come close, but as a designer I desperately wanted to at least try. Super Meat Boy is Super Mario Bros. if Tommy and I made it. If we had made a design doc, it would have been as simple as that.

On being a third party on Wii:

We looked into getting SMB published on Wii retail, but sadly, there wasn't one publisher we talked to that saw the Wii as a smart investment at this point in its life cycle. So we closed the book on the Wii.

On crunching to make the XBLA Game Feast deadline:

I remember having a breakdown in September where I actually thought I was stuck in some nightmare where I was repeating the same day over and over.

On working with Valve:

Working with Steam never felt like a publisher/developer relationship. It felt like a mutual partnership to make the most money and put the best game out there. We love Steam.

On working with Microsoft:

We never received any of the promotional launch bonuses that the previous Game Feast games had gotten (exclusive launch week, #1 spotlight, and a review by Major Nelson) but were told if we performed well in terms of Metacritic score and sales, we would move up and be more heavily advertised.

[...]

We never got a review by Major Nelson nor did we get an explanation for why Microsoft launched SMB alongside Costume Quest, or for why, even though we exceeded their expectations for sales and score, we weren't given the treatment we were promised, even while they continued to heavily promote other Game Feast titles like Comic Jumper.

In the end, we felt very confused and taken advantage of.

Again, I suggest that you read the whole four-page article if you have any interest whatsoever in Super Meat Boy, Team Meat, or game development.