Oblivion’s Edge Developer Gives Industry Real Talk

We spoke with Robert Anderson, lead animator, character designer, and more at MMOVentures about small team development, as well as the studio’s new game Oblivion’s Edge.

This summer MMOVentures released its first game Penguin Problems on mobile devices. The physics based puzzle game according to Anderson was “largely overlooked,” (just like hundreds of other mobile games everyday) however, once released it garnered mainly positive reviews. Now, the studio is jumping from mobile to PC to release its next game, a twin stick bullet hell, space shooter called Oblivion’s Edge. In it you control a small fighter as the last surviving pilot trying to defend Earth from alien invaders. Anderson described the game as “a fast-paced action arcade game like 1942, Gradius, and even a bit of Asteroids.”

The new game is more ambitious than the studio’s last, but the team hasn’t gotten any bigger (still only four people), something Anderson and the factotum nature of his job highlights.

“For Oblivion’s Edge coming to Steam Greenlight I have literally created every piece of art, effects, animations and UI. There are very few days where I work on one thing so being able to multitask is essential.”

From this issues arise: as the balance between resource management, and full creative freedom is a difficult one to strike.

“Big or small company there is always the underlying need to make money, it’s a business first,” Anderson said. “As much as I would love to spend months creating the best looking house model, development time is set based on a budget, and sometimes that means leaving something at 90 percent.”

This is something every studio can relate to. Whether you’re working at a big developer like Treyarch or a lone-wolf working on a new mobile game, time and creative freedom naturally butt heads with deadlines and resource management.

As mentioned above the game will be coming to Steam Greenlight — a system that enlists the help of the community in picking new games to release on Steam —  this Monday, and will mark the developer’s first time using the platform. Beyond aiming for a successful Greenlight campaign, MMOVentures is also hoping to use it as a barometer for feedback from gamers.

Further, the release tomorrow will also go a long way to finding bugs and various issues with the game, that the team may have missed.

“There are four people working on Oblivion’s Edge, and so there is only so much we can do to playtest the game,” said Anderson. “ It is mostly bug free when I play it, though we only have ten PC’s in the office and three of them are laptops, so we can’t benchmark it on the thousands of PC configurations that are out there.”

MMOVentures hopes that Steam Greenlight will not only allow Oblivion’s Edge to be seen by a myriad of gamers who would have otherwise never heard of it, but will amass enough attention to propel it towards a console release.

My Opinion:

Seeing twin stick shooters have been my jam recently, I’m jazzed about this one, more so than usual because it’s in space…my favorite setting for a bullet hell, twin stick shooter.

Tyler Fischer is a Senior Writer for MONG who plays video games when he’s not busy researching alien conspiracy theories at 2AM. You can find him on Twitter.

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