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The Diabolical Whimsy of Q-Games: An Interview with Dylan Cuthbert

IndieMonth | 84d ago
User blog

Dylan Cuthbert, Q-Games founder, answers our questions about soup, do-overs, and drops teasers for their next game like mad.

Cat: What are your core development values?

Dylan: Our core values are fun and technology. We want to push boundaries in both areas and that drives everything we do.

Cat: Which of your games do you identify with most?

Dylan: That's like picking a son or a daughter over another, it's a little impossible to do! However our upcoming game that will be announced soon really embodies everything we've been building up to over the years. Watch this space!

Cat: Where does the inspiration come from?

Dylan: The inspiration comes from a few sources, one of which is simply that I have played a *lot* of games and a little bit from all my favourite games creeps into everything I make. On top of that though there is a lot of influence from art, especially modern art of all shapes and sizes. Music can also play a part, for example, HFB's soundtrack for Shooter influenced a no. of decisions we made for that game's scenario.


Dylan's self-portrait. Or Nom Nom Galaxy concept.

Cat: Is being prolific (you are) a necessary part of being a successful indie studio, or a necessary creative outlet?

Dylan: It's a necessary creative outlet - we can only make a certain no. of games in our lifetimes and I still have lots of genres and ideas I want to explore.

Cat: If you had one extra life for a do-over…what’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made with Q-Games?

Dylan: At one point we didn't have a stringent enough control on the types of people coming into Q and we ended up with a small group of people who were only working for themselves and not with everyone else. The situation was resolved but it did create some stress for a short while. A small indie company like ours needs people who work with each other fairly and evenly, without creating holier-than-thou cliques. I don't have any hard feelings, it's just a personality type that doesn't match well with out size but on the flip-side of the coin it *can* be much more successful in smaller groups where there are no "others" to look over at and comment upon.

Cat: What do you think of the FaceBook gaming environment and its predatory structure?

Dylan: I really don't like it - we have PixelJunk Monsters on facebook and it earns us practically nothing simply because we really don't want to put ourselves in a situation where we even feel like we're ripping off or squeezing people. If we were to throw that feeling out of the window we could squeeze a lot harder and make it a profitable venture I think.


Soup!

Cat: Economics or inspiration: PixelJunk Shooter got a stand-alone sequel, PJ Monsters got an Encore and a FB game - what’s it take for a game to get an "encore"?

Dylan: There was just too much content for it to be an encore. PixelJunk Shooter 2 had the same amount of stages *and* an online MP mode. The new combined "Shooter Ultimate" remake on PS4 is awesome by the way.

Cat: Music, monsters, cooking, soup - is it fair to say that we see a lot of "Dylan's Favorite Things" explored in Q-Games titles?

Dylan: Yes of course.. anything that I'm interested in at that point in time tends to get included into whatever games we are making. So what am I interested in at the moment? 1960s Russia, Clockwork Orange, Prague.

Cat: Platforms, you’ve made the rounds and settled on PC first for Nom Nom Galaxy, what’s the platform decision-making process?

Dylan: Basically, market size and reachability. I'm still not entirely convinced by Steam although PixelJunk Eden eventually did quite well for us. It feels like people just wait for prices to go dirt cheap and then buy up in bulk. It's very difficult for people to "discover" you on Steam I think, even though we have the PixelJunk brand/name etc.

Cat: ...and will it be coming to other platforms (Which ones. Go on. Tell us)?

Dylan: Well we've always liked Sony's platforms so keep your ears to the ground.

Cat: Tower Defense. Strategy. RPG. Terraforming. Nom Nom Galaxy is a game about... the viciously competitive nature of the soup market?

Dylan: It's a cross between a simulation and an RTS/base building game I think, including elements I really like, like the falling dirt/mud and lots of monsteres!


Nom Nom Galaxy

Cat: Which elements of Nom Nom Galaxy did gamers react to in unexpected ways? Parts they loved/hated that you didn’t anticipate?

Dylan: Nom Nom Galaxy is a weird concept to wrap your head around at first - I'm going to put soup in a rocket and ship it into space? There are always a lot of puzzled looks when we first demo it at game shows. People come in expecting Nom Nom Galaxy to play like other games, but when they start putting the pieces together, you see lots of smiles.

Cat: What are the best things fans have contributed to the soup?

Dylan: The fans have been extremely helpful! With practical stuff, like tweaking the keyboard and mouse controls, we got lots of useful feedback. For gameplay related stuff, we've got a backlog of great ideas we're working on, including ways to replenish the dirt around your base, different types of planets, and weather!

Cat: What is the development process like this time, having so many chefs in the kitchen at such an early stage?

Dylan: Early Access suits our development style quite nicely, actually. Even before we brought Nom Nom Galaxy to the public, it was being developed in an organic fashion where we iterated on ideas we came up with as a team. The main difference now is that our 'team' is the whole community and we're working with a little more focus to hit our weekly and monthly updates.

Cat: Does soup, arguably the most forgiving of foodstuffs, leave room for regrets?

Dylan: Never! Well, there are always things that you may want to work more on, or features that you have to cut because they aren't working. Some of that is hidden in Nom Nom Galaxy's code now! But as a team we're happy with the direction we're going.

Cat: What do you think of going 3D, even experimentally?

Dylan: Watch this space! Big announcements soon.

Cat: We've got kids that are nearly birthday buddies! Do you ever see yourself going down the edu-game road? Q-Games as the next Toca Boca?

Dylan: I've certainly thought about it since Jamie came into my life, so it's not ruled out. Toca Boca is awesome!

Cat: What does being an independent developer mean to you?

Dylan: Being independent is really important for me because it leaves a lot more control in our hands, it's up to us and we have the responsibility to do everything for our game and control every aspect of how it is seen, released, priced, or created. Game developers are almost all control freaks so being cogs in an non-independent company makes them uncomfortable, which is why you have seen a lot of creative people branching out by themselves recently thanks to the lower barriers of entry.

Cat: Reveal the future: what comes next for Q-Games?

Dylan: Watch this space! Big things are afoot! :)

Day 31 | Q-Games

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BiggCMan  +   84d ago
Had no idea Monsters was on Facebook o.O Wonder how that version is.
Cat  +   84d ago
I've been in it since Beta, it's fun and as tough as the original!
Derekvinyard13  +   84d ago
I like there games simply because there more then just tower defense games like PJM, hope it's in 3D
Jeice  +   84d ago
"Dylan: Our core values are fun and technology. We want to push boundaries in both areas and that drives everything we do. "

Great motivation, Dylan! I am anticipating any releases by Q-Games hence forward. Nom Nom Galaxy is epic!
#3 (Edited 84d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
MrxDeath  +   84d ago
" Well we've always liked Sony's platforms so keep your ears to the ground. "

i Hope i see it on ps4 or ps vita
MYDEATH21  +   84d ago
Can't wait to hear about their big announcements. I'm pretty green when it comes to indies. I'll be watching these guys from now on ^_^
beepbopadoobop  +   84d ago
Im really glad to see that their latest game is joining together bits and pieces of their other games, i love all the pixel junk games!
dictionary  +   84d ago
I love the pixeljunk series :)
oasdada  +   84d ago
Another dev that prefers sony.. makes you wonder
dota2champion  +   84d ago
aren't sony their publishing partner?
oasdada  +   83d ago
The 'makes you wonder' was a subjective statement and not in any way tipping towards sony's advantage.. just makin it clear :)
LukeFair  +   84d ago
I agree on what he said about Facebook games and I'm glad that they're not focusing on that ones. Also I'm curious to see their big announcement coming up (from the interview seems like it will be 3D also!)
Caffo01  +   84d ago
"we've always liked Sony's platforms so keep your ears to the ground."

Wow great news, more games on PS4!!
ichizon  +   84d ago
Good interview. Nom Nom Galaxy sure sounds a lot different than it looks. I think I'll go check out a video of some gameplay. I can certainly see a bit of the Soviet era in those screenshots, but A Clockwork Orange? I'd play that game, but I don't think it would do very well with your young 'uns.
Q-Games  +   84d ago
Dylan might not be talking about Nom Nom Galaxy there... ;-)
ichizon  +   84d ago
Hehe. Yeah, I got that. I was just goofing around a bit with that comment. ^^; Sorry about that.
CeilingManx  +   84d ago
Monsters has been my favorite pixeljunk game by far. I hope we get an ultimate version for ps4. The facebook version doesn't have couch co-op, so it automatically is worse.
hudibauc  +   84d ago
who is making music this time around? the electric bends?:)
Q-Games  +   84d ago
Most of the music in the game is Electric Bends, actually. We haven't finalized it though.
hudibauc  +   83d ago
Awesome!!! OST on LP please. ;)
MisterAV  +   84d ago
Their games have a unique style, they're very bright and colorful with geometric shapes, I like them
timmyp53  +   84d ago
Lol at the steam comments about waiting on price. Sad but true.
Crazyglues  +   84d ago
Wow didn't know PixelJunk Monsters was not making money on facebook I guess when I see a quality game like this and other games like plants vs zombies, I just assume they must be rolling in money..

So hats off to them for not trying to squeeze the consumer..

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#16 (Edited 84d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
XtraTrstrL  +   84d ago
So, the company is Q-games? I thought the company name was Pixel Junk all this time. Also, I really wish there was a Pixel Junk Monsters Ultimate, or just straight out part 2 on PS4. I played that way more than Shooter, and would still play it to this day on PS3.
SpeedDemon  +   84d ago
Haven't heard of any of the Pixel Junk games before, probably because I never owned a PS3, this game looks awesome though.
dota2champion  +   84d ago
they have pixel junk monsters on steam. it's a tower defense game, fun game. each PJ games are different
100Ton  +   84d ago
Is this what became of Pixeljunk Dungeons?
Q-Games  +   84d ago
No, Dungeons was just one of many concepts we had peculating at Q.
pyrocloud7  +   84d ago
Would love to see this game come to PS4, PixelJunk Monsters was one of the best games on PS3!
Monster_Tard  +   84d ago
Game is looking great, cant wait for the finished version.
KellyRay  +   84d ago
Can't wait! This looks great!
dota2champion  +   84d ago
don't go into 3D gaming, they suck along with kinect, motion gaming and all those other gimmicks. Great interview though, can't wait for this.
#23 (Edited 84d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
xHeavYx  +   84d ago
I'll have to try the BF beta
Disagree  +   84d ago
so much space watching :) whatever your guys next move is im sure it'll be awesome
grashopper  +   84d ago
Instead of shirts you need to give away soup at PAX ... or at least put the shirts in a can.
Anyway loved Monsters Eden and Shooter! Looking forward to playing Nom Nom
rambi80  +   84d ago
Good to hear about Continued support of Sony Platforms. Please bring to Vita.
IzNatDolan  +   84d ago
"Nom Nom Galaxy is a weird concept to wrap your head around at first - I'm going to put soup in a rocket and ship it into space? There are always a lot of puzzled looks when we first demo it at game shows. People come in expecting Nom Nom Galaxy to play like other games, but when they start putting the pieces together, you see lots of smiles." Who doesn't love shooting soup into space?
shadowvisa  +   84d ago
good read
LedZeppelin  +   84d ago
So from this interview, we can expect this game to probably hit ps4, NICE
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