Q&A With Octodad creators, Young Horses

I got to talk to Young Horses, the company behind the upcoming game Octodad: Dadliest Catch. I hope you enjoy our first official interview!

Would you mind telling me a bit about each member of the team? How can we follow you each?

Kevin Zuhn is the creative director guy that decides what color of bananas are Octodad canon (it’s yellow btw). You can find him in the trenchescreating Octodad levels and arting the things you find in Octodad’s world.

Kevin Geisler is the stern father programmer with a strict wit and a stricter haircut and is responsible for fixing all the things and making sure this game ever comes out.

Chris Stallman is the bearded mystic that leads the artists in their fight against programmer tyranny and is omniscient creator of all the animated things and the rooms they die in.

Majdi Badri is a comedian trapped in a comedian’s bodymaking Octodad levels and writing dialog and has already donated to your tabletop gaming Kickstarter.

Nick Esparza is the hot new guy (that you used to date on the first Octodad) making sure all our cut scenes are nicely animated so you forget you’re destroying a poor Octopuses life, and not watching The Little Mermaid.

John Murphy wants you to think he is a well-dressed sociopath and sex-addict while designing giant, intricate existential mazes for Octodad to suffer in, but he actually just cares too much. 

Phil Tibitoski is the pretty face of @octodadgame hiding a metal heart of darkness, e-developing the e-businesses, whetting the stones, greasing the pits, testing the tubes, making sure you like us and know about the game.

Seth Parker writes flute sonatas and records sponges and butts to make Octodad sound as realistic as possible.

I’m Devon Scott-Tunkin, the permissive grandfather programmer of the group that works on the bits that make Octodad and all his frienemies move around as badly as possible. I like pie and balance the books.
So how did Young Horses get its start, what’s the history there? 
Young Horses formed in Chicago out of a DePaul University project, the Depaul Gaming Experience. Eight of the original DePaul Gaming Experience members wanted to continue working on a fully realized version of our IGF Student Showcase game, Octodad.  We ran a Kickstarter in 2011 to get enough funds to pay for things like trade shows, company formation, software etc. Otherwise we’ve been working on a shoestring budget out of an apartment. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is our first commercial title.


What’s an average day like for the team?
Kevin Geisler, Kevin Zuhn, and Chris Stallman all live in the apartment that is our office. They usually wake up at a reasonable time and start working with Nick Esparza who also wakes up at a reasonable time. No one drinks orange juice. Then a rotating cast of the rest of us will show up and work. Everyone puts on headphones because I like to make weird bird-like sounds to distract them from their work. Sometimes Chris will only have one headphone on and be sucked into my spell and regret his life. If Majdi is over, jokes and videos will pepper the workday with joy and rage. Nick will fight Majdi for captain of all memes on our Skype Chat. Kevin Geisler works in a room by himself where he has four computers, six monitors, and two robot interns so he can be more efficient than the rest of us.  He emerges to make us feel guilty about our existence, make sometimes clever puns, always clever insults and to get McDonald’s. If Phil is over while me and John are over we will form a terrible Voltron of bad jokes and insults at each other until we all go home to our wives (disclaimer, none of us are technically married). Sometimes the designers will join heads and bash out some great ideas and draw terrible things and diagrams on the whiteboard. The rest of the time we all stare at our screens and only talk to each other in the same room over Skype chat. Like any healthy relationship. Seth lives outside of Chicago and makes the best Google Hangout mustaches.


Is there any one team member that always tries to throw something really crazy into the game?
John and I like to joke about adding hidden, questionable, adult content to the game, but we never actually do. Kevin Zuhn has a pretty strict world of what flies in Octodad’s world (and we want the game to be more Spongebob/Adventure Time than Adult Swim). With how ridiculous the Octodad character is, it’s pretty important to not overshadow that with a crazy world. We had to cut Octodad’s secret mad scientist basement and an airplane that was also a church.


Alright so, for someone who’s had ZERO information given to them about Octodad, how would you describe it? 

Someone on twitter once described it as, “raw ass.” While I think that’s pretty descriptive, “You’re an Octopus in a suit. You have a perfectly normal suburban life with a human wife and kids. Nobody knows you’re an Octopus. Do whatever it takes to keep it that way.” gives a little more information and also makes it sound like a Pixar version of Breaking Bad. “It’s 3D QWOP + Chicken Boo, but you’re an Octopus, and a good dad.” also works.


So how did you guys come up with the idea for such an interesting and unique game? 
Someone had an idea for an Octopus that controlled a robot human by moving levers inside of his head. Being good designers always in search of elegance, someone suggested why not just make it in an Octopus in a suit. Everyone thought that was the stupidest thing we’d ever heard so of course we had to do it.


The art style is very interesting, and having played the demo, I’m very curious about inspiration that you had.
We immersed ourselves in 1950s advertising and media, scouring the internet for whatever it could provide. Then drew from a childhood filled with cartoons. Then thought about how long things might take to make and how to best streamline content creation. Add all those together and what you see is the result. Also some Team Fortress 2.


Same thing with the music and sound effects. What did you use as inspiration when creating them?
Seth spent a lot of time engrossed in Koji Kondo’s huge body of work for the various Mario games.  Some of his favorite tracks come from Super Mario Galaxy (“Gusty Garden Galaxy,” in particular).  Also, the music from games like Little Big Planet definitely were a consideration in trying to develop a musical style for Dadliest Catch.  Seth wanted to make a soundtrack that was quirky, yet allowed him to express himself musically.  This game hopefully does that.  I know Seth’s had a lot of fun making it because he heavily used his own performances on flute and guitar instead of sample libraries and that has opened a lot of new capabilities for him.  The overall audio aesthetic that we’re going for is one that is fun and quirky and complements the goofiness of the Octodad character and story, but one that also gets the job done.


Anything you can tell us that we should look specifically forward to?
    You should look forward to having a wacky day at the aquarium with Octodad’s family on PC/Mac in late January 2014 and the PS4 version to follow soon after in early 2014. The Windows version of the game comes with the editor we used to make the game and Steam Workshop support, so we hope to see some crazy stuff from the mod community. There’s some really adorable and heart wrenching stuff happening in the plot and voice acting that we can’t wait to share with you. The PS4 version has Move support to fully simulate life as an Octopus and stream it to Twitch. The Mac version has a multitouch mode for the trackpad since Macbook users don’t like to use mice. We have some unannounced modes that should make the game much more replayable as well. Oh and secret things to find. Secrets.

Thanks guys! Nice talking to you and can’t wait to play the game!
Check out the Octodad website HERE and the Steam Page HERE.

SteamWorld Dig Coming to PC This December!

Branded as a “platform mining adventure” in a Steampunk / Western setting, SteamWorld Dig lets 2_archaea_dig2players take the role of the Eastwood-esque robot protagonist Rusty in order to save a mining town in need. The plot thickens as he digs deeper into the dark, rich underground.

Thanks to its immersive gameplay, unique mechanics and stunning presentation, praise for SteamWorld Dig has been unanimous. This is what leading gaming sites say about the game:

  • ”SteamWorld Dig is easily the best eShop game of the year.” (9.5/10, IGN.com)
  • “…an utterly phenomenal video game.” (10/10, PocketGamer.co.uk)
  • “A totally unexpected love letter to bold concepts.” (9/10, NintendoWorldReport.com)
  • “…super-fun, addictive and inspired gamified manual labour…” (9/10, gamesblip.com)
  • “Image&Form has created an interesting and beautiful world…”(9.5/10, pixlbot.com)

Moreover, in a recent top list prestigious IGN.com declared that SteamWorld Dig is among the ten best 3DS games ever made. This made it simple for Valve, the company behind leading game-download service Steam, to embrace this David among Goliaths and put SteamWorld Dig on the fast track for release on Steam.

“SteamWorld Dig now plays at 60 frames per second in full HD, and features gamepad support as well 6_drill_caveas keyboard controls,” notes lead designer Olle Håkansson. “We have added many nifty features such as achievements, bloom filters and cloud saves, but put our main focus into making the experience feel custom-tailored for the desktop… and it looks and feels marvelous.”

So is this a departure from the 3DS? “No, it’s not,” assures Sigurgeirsson. “Nintendo has treated us like royalty, and the Nintendo community is fantastic. We would be very foolish to turn our backs on them. As with SteamWorld Dig, our next SteamWorld game will appear on the 3DS day one.”

SteamWorld Dig will be launched on Steam December 5, 2013. The suggested retail price will be $9.99 / £6.99 / €8.99, although gamers on Steam can expect a celebratory release sale.

DUCKTALES: REMASTERED Flies to Retail Stores Beginning Today

It’s time to solve a mystery, or re-write history, as Capcom is excited to announce that the disc-based version of DuckTales: Remastered is available now in retail store shelves across North America. Fans of the digital version, or new players who have yet to experience the nostalgic re-imagining of the iconic title, can now pick up this disc-based alternative for $19.99 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U.

To help celebrate this quack-tastic event, the team has put together an all new “Duckstep” video that is guaranteed to shake your tail feathers.

Originally released in 1989 on the Nintendo Entertainment System , DuckTales was widely acknowledged as one of the generation’s seminal platform titles. DuckTales: Remastered once again follows the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews – Huey, Dewey and Louie, as they explore different themed worlds on their search for five legendary treasures.

The development team at WayForward have taken the levels and layout from the original release and expanded on them to significantly enhance the gameplay experience; but where this update truly impresses is its graphics and sound. All of the visuals from the 8-bit game have been beautifully re-created as hand-drawn and animated sprites, across a backdrop of luscious, re-envisioned level backgrounds. Furthermore, original Disney Character Voices talent, including some from the cartoon TV series, bring in-game characters to life with charm and wit, while the classic melodies of the original soundtrack are given a modern twist.

Youmacon 2013 Gaming Room

One of the biggest Youmacon 2013 surprises for me was the game room. Originally we stopped in as a way to waste time, but we ended up spending a few hours at the gaming oasis. Aside from the loud music of the rave and the craziness that was the After-Dark panels, the gaming room was filled to the brim with classic and modern arcade games. Everything from rhythm to fighting, home consoles to Virtual Reality was stuffed into the perfectly sized room. There was a huge setup for PC gamers where they hosted the League of Legends stream, an entire section of wall dedicated to Super Bomberman, and a ton of rhythm games.
Check out our gallery, and if you can, check out Youmacon 2013 next year and pop into the game room!

Youmacon Championships & Extra Life

Youmacon here in detroit is doing some awesome stuff this weekend, raising money for needy kids!
Check out the below info and check it out, there’s some great stuff, and for a great cause!
“There are a lot of kids who aren’t able to play games with their friends because they are patients in hospitals. Youmacon proudly supports the efforts of Extra Life, a charity which is raising money for children’s miracle network hospitals. Our current goal is to raise $1,500 for Beaumont Children’s Hospital. We believe video games can help bring a brighter future to Beaumont’s patients, and you can help prove that by donating to our campaign.

While each of us can be heroes in the games we play, by contributing to extra life, we can be heroes in real life. Join the thousands of gamers who do. Please help Youmacon support the children of Beaumont! Thank you!”

Check out the action right here, and open you wallet wide!

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