Defying Gravity: Pid Interview

We spoke with Andreas Wangler, level designer on Pid, to get a better grasp on this puzzle platformer. Pid is now available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and soon for PC.

 
Game-Modo: Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions! For those that don’t know about your new release, could you please give a brief summary about Pid?
 
Andreas Wangler: In Pid you control a little boy Kurt who suddenly finds himself on a strange planet inhabited of robots. While looking for a way back home he quickly learns that strange things are happening with the planet that might put the inhabitants in danger.
Pid is a puzzle platformer set in an adventurous setting which will challenge the player to cleverly use the forces of gravity in smart ways to overcome the obstacles and puzzles encountered.
Parts of the team worked on the well regarded Bionic Commando Rearmed released in 2008. The aim with Pid was to continue in that vein of games and produce what we perceive is the best retro platformer we never played.

G-M: There’s more to the hard mode in Pid than games typically offer. Who over there is the glutton for pain? But seriously, I’m glad to see you went the extra mile. Was it an involved process cranking up the difficulty in the way Pid offers for those seeking a challenge?

 
AW: The hard difficulty was something we felt we had time to implement during the final months of the production to really push the limits of what a gamer can endure in terms of a challenge. Johannes, lead level designer on the project, and I decided we wanted this to be something you would have to unlock before trying out. Mostly because the experience of the game is vastly different from when playing it on normal mode. Rather than playing around with the balance of the game, like decreasing the number of items the player can carry, or increasing the cost of items, we decided we wanted to actually modify the levels as such as we thought it would add more to the experience. We hope someone out there enjoys it!
 
G-M: Regarding the co-op mode, is this the same game just with two players instead of one, the normal campaign tweaked to adjust for the 2nd player, or a separate experience entirely?
 
AW: The co-op mode is simple. The only adjustment made is that the players now only have one gravitybeam each instead of two. This automatically forces the player to cooperate. Also we graphically made the checkpoints in the game visible so that each player knows when it’s time to respawn again after dying. It turned out to be great fun, it’s also easy to mess with each other if you prefer to play it that way.

G-M: Pid showcases a beautiful and quirky visual style. Are there any inspirations to cite from other video games or elsewhere?

 
AW: I know that our Art and Creative Director Jakob Tuchten has been influenced a lot by Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay. The game Little Big Adventure 2 is also mentioned a lot here in the office as a reference even though it’s a whole different kind of game.

G-M: What was the reason for choosing a young boy as the protagonist?

 
AW: Personally I believe it strengthens the sense of wonder in the game, we look at this peculiar new world through his eyes, but it also increases the feeling we as players develop to see to it that we bring this kind soul back home again.
 
G-M: If you had the same gravity orbs used in Pid to do with what you choose in real life, how would you use them?
 
AW: Getting to and from work would suddenly be a lot more fun. That’s for sure!
 
G-M: Thanks again for speaking with me, and congratulations on the release!
 
AW: Thank you from all of us!
 
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