Interview with Coffee Stain Studios
Swedish indie developer, Coffee Stain Studios, originally created Goat Simulator in January as a joke prototype, intended to serve as a parody of other strange simulation games such as Euro Truck Simulator and even Farming Simulator. It wasn’t until an influx of comments on YouTube after releasing game footage in its alpha state that prompted the team to put more people on the project and develop Goat Simulator as a full title to Steam.
Valenka managed to catch up with Armin Ibrisagic, one of the game designers and PR manager at Coffee Stain Studios for an exclusive interview to find out a little more about the behind-the-scenes action with Goat Simulator.
VALENKA: How would you describe Goat Simulator?
ARMIN: I would describe Goat Simulator as humanity’s next step in hyperrealistic goat simulation technology.
VALENKA:Simulators aren’t entirely new to the gaming world, but a protagonist of a goat certainly is. What inspired this seemingly outlandish but incredibly interesting and original concept?
ARMIN: Goat Simulator was partially inspired by the question: “What would it be like to be a goat? How would it feel? What does a goat do?” and the other part, funny YouTube videos of goats wrecking shit.
VALENKA: I think I’ve seen a good number of those videos. We’re able to do just that in Goat Simulator as well – wreck stuff, I mean, not watch YouTube videos. What did you find to be the most appealing part of the concept?
ARMIN: From a developer standpoint, probably the fact that most of our coolest features were totally unplanned. Just the fact that there are several unlockable goats in the game, or that you can sacrifice humans to the devil; that was something that we added over a lunch break when we didn’t have anything to do, and now they’re really iconic to the game. I guess from a player’s standpoint, the best part of Goat Simulator is that you can never really expect what’s going to happen. Like in Patch 1.1, you’re going to be able to unlock a Shopping Goat, which is a shopping cart.
VALENKA: Were any goats involved in the development of the game? What was the toughest concept when it came to Goat Simulator's development?
ARMIN: We have three goats at Coffee Stain Studios working as consultants. The toughest concept was keeping them from shitting all over our office.
VALENKA: Oh dear. Well, hopefully no one slipped and fell in any of it, if the goats had. When it comes down to gameplay in Goat Simulator, how would you describe it?
ARMIN: The gameplay in Goat Simulator works through a patented formula that turns your computer screen into a surface that produces a mind-altering drug, which is then absorbed through your eyes and into your brain, forcing your mind to have fun.
VALENKA: Have you any intentions of expanding on the concept of Goat Simulator? Perhaps downloadable content, add-ons or even a sequel?
ARMIN: A lot of people asked us for DLCs for Goat Simulator, but we felt like it wouldn't make sense to sell people content when they can just download new content from Steam Workshop for free. So we decided to make a free DLC instead and patch it into the game. It's coming June 3rd, and you can read more about it here:
After the patch we'll just see how it's received and plan on from there.
VALENKA: So is it safe to say that the company strives on spontaneity? Do you feel as though that contributes to originality and even success?
ARMIN: Oh definitely, Goat Simulator would have never been as fun as it is right now if we had a strict project plan and planned every piece of content we made. For example, I had an interview with a journalist a couple of weeks before the game was supposed to launch, and he asked me why we chose a goat in our game and why not a giraffe instead, and I told him that giraffes are actually just really tall goats. I thought that was pretty funny, so I went to our artists and asked them if they had time to add a playable giraffe into the game. They said they did, so we put it into the game as "Tall Goat.” After that, we ended up having about a week before launch where we had some time over, so we added as many other goats as we could into the game, such as the Devil Goat, Giant Goat, etc. Now, the fact that there are different types of unlockable goats is iconic to the game, and has become a part of popular culture.
Around the release of Goat Simulator, I saw a picture of a giraffe on Tumblr or something, and the first comment was like "GIANT GOAT WHOOO". It's so awesome, and it's something that could have never happened if we were a boring, corporate studio.
VALENKA: That is absolutely phenomenal. I love that your additions to the game came primarily from random thoughts and utter spontaneity. You mentioned unlockable goats of different variations; could you tell us a little bit about them? Do they have individual personas?
ARMIN: I guess the unlockable goats are of varying quality, we've had time to make some of them really awesome, like the Tall Goat, which is just as playable as the ordinary goat and has its own animations and everything, but when our development time starts running out we start adding the more ridiculous types of playable goats, like the Giant Goat, which is basically just a huge whale that you can't even move and it just sits there, or the Shopping Goat, which is a shopping cart which is totally hilarous and was made because our animator couldn't spare any time to make a new goat, so we decided to make a goat that didn't need animations.
VALENKA: Variety is the spice of life, I say. What would you say is your favorite aspect about Goat Simulator?
ARMIN: I like being the goat part a lot. What about you?
VALENKA: I’d have to say the same. Causing general mayhem as a goat is simply undeniable fun, especially getting your tongue stuck to humans. I’ll critically judge anyone that doesn’t find some sort of enjoyment out of it. Is there a chance we’ll see Goat Simulator on the Xbox Marketplace or Playstation Store?
ARMIN: Xbox or Playstation? We haven't thought about it up until now since we wanted to finish our 1.1 patch first, optimize the PC version and finish the Mac and Linux ports. We've just had too much on our hands since release (we're just 16 employees), but now when things calm down, we might look at it. I'm sorry I can't be more specific than that!
VALENKA: That's okay, I'm sure players will be glad to hear that a console port is a slight possibility. How has Goat Simulator been received? Do you think you'll continue down the humor route for your next project?
ARMIN: It's been our best received game yet! Perhaps not by game critics, but we have a crazy psycho goat following now. For our next project…probably not. We have another project that's in pre-production that I can't talk about just yet, mostly because much of it isn't decided yet, but we made Goat Simulator to do something fun and different, so to continue on the exact same track for our future projects wouldn't make sense. Either way, no matter what we do in the future I'm sure it'll be absolutely great and you should too.
Goat Simulator is available on Steam for $9.99.
“Goats are the new zombies.” – Armin Ibrisagic
Day 2 | Coffee Stain Studios