Nick's Gaming Blog

Youtube Video of the Day: Pid Launch Trailer

I’ve always stood by my comment that “One (game) and done” has proven to be the case for developers unaccustomed to producing AAA titles.  The start-up costs as well as the ongoing ones, usually have said studio placing their future in the hands of that one title.

So why make AAA titles in the first place?  A couple years back this notion would have been borderline blasphemy.  Back then, developing AAA titles was always the “end game” for any fledgling studio slingin’ lines of code in their parent’s ramshackle garage.  Little projects were “okay,” but were always considered stepping stones on the road to employment with gaming giants like SEGA, Microsoft, or Nintendo.  Let’s say you deliver an indie/Xbox Arcade hit (especially back in, say, 2008, when Castle Crashers was the only bona fide XBLA hit).

Pretty soon, your little studio is fielding offers from “Titans of Industry” like Capcom and Warner Brothers to deliver AAA blockbusters for them (even though that’s not in your wheelhouse), next thing you know you’re opening development houses in other countries to vainly attempt to stay afloat on all these projects.  But because of your tight schedule, the franchise tie-in nature of the titles (and maybe, just maybe a lack of experience with this type of game) they all, more or less, bomb.

Studio dissolves, members go their separate ways, murmurs are whispered here and there about people forming new teams…but you treat it without about as much interest as when musicians of a lauded rock band announce their “side projects.”

But when said side project puts out a trailer for a title that reminds you of that “little game that could”…well, it’s love all over again.  At least that’s how I feel about Pid, the new title from Swedish studio Might and Delight, made up of previous Grin staff members.  That’s right, I’m talking about those geniuses that made 2008′s Bionic Commando: Rearmed.  Here’s the trailer below, join me after the link for a little discussion about it.

Okay, okay, I’m taking deep breaths, but this is still probably going to come out like a stammering fanboy.  First off, art design?  These guys have mastered the use of color.  Their game isn’t an indiscernible muddled shade of rust and iron, nor is it a technicolor ejaculation of neon goop.  As of right now, about 70% of games look like the former, 20% think it’s ironic/cute/80s to resemble Lisa Frank dropping Acid, and about 10% have arrived at a healthy medium.  Please don’t interpret this as me saying that games not within that 10% are bad games, or that their palette inclinations are “wrong,” just that I’m not sure this industry trend of “50 Shades of Brown” is healthy.  That’s all.  Everything in moderation.  Pip pip.

Minor soapbox rant within something of an op-ed aside, look at the use of color on the already stellar robot designs a few seconds in; how well the utilization of shadows dampens these bright shades, perhaps as a symbol of how things have changed under newfound oppression.  Throw in the stellar soundtrack that reeks of mystery, exploration, and “conspiracy-uncovering,” and some oddly captivating gobbledy-gook for voice-overs.  Kinda how you couldn’t explain why you still found Simlish or whatever they spoke in Animal Crossing to be just as compelling to hear as actual spoken word…though probably more.  Having every creature speak this flimflammery with a different tone/voice adds to the atmosphere.

This time, instead of “leaping and bounding” via bionic limbs, you’ve got the ability to fling gravity wells that can push you down, rocket you up, or flick you from side to side…the developer never has had much of a predilection for the walk/run/jump rinse, repeat routine.

Oh, and the level variety (both from a design and an aesthetic perspective) is beautiful.  It’s like a “pastels and Papercraft” sort of approach to things.  Not that you didn’t already make these astute observations on your own.  You probably did.  In fact, you probably enunciated these points better than I did.  It’s hard to describe what makes me nostalgic and intrigued and scared and fuzzy, all at the same time.

I mean, WebMD says that might be SARS, but I’m willing to bet it’s Pid.  If I stay on WebMD more than another minute or two, I’ll probably find a way to chalk it up to that one thing where you have to get poop transplants.  It’s real.  Look it up.

I mean, look up Pid.  Not that thing about poop transplants.  I know I brought it up, but rise above my juvenile inclinations.  ‘Tis not hard, as I have set the bar frightfully low.

Anyway, any game that has the atmosphere of Lucidity, Limbo, and Machinarium combined with the exploration/puzzle elements of Shadow Complex or a 2D Metroid title, and a score with a rich emotional connection not unlike that of Fez‘s or the soundtrack to Braid.


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