Interview with Fish Factory Games on Defy Gravity

Could you tell us a little about your company, Fish Factory Games? Who are you guys, where did you come from?

Fish Factory Games is made up of a group of biomedical engineering graduate students based in New Orleans. Some of us have a background as programmers.

What were the challenges you ran into when running Fish Factory Games and getting your first game published?
Probably time would be the biggest challenge. Making a game is quite an undertaking, and is very time consuming. The last 10% of finishing a game seems like it takes 50% of the total development time.

Defy Gravity Graphics

Defy Gravity Graphics

How did you come up with the concept of your first game, Defy Gravity? What was the inspiration for the game?
We were heavily influenced by Bionic Commando, Super Mario Bros, Braid, Portal, and many others. The gameplay concept was initially based on rocket and conc jumping in Team Fortress Classic, and then through lots of experimentation we ended up with the mechanics in Defy Gravity.

What are the three features of Defy Gravity that you are most proud of? Things which really set it apart from other games in the genre?
The gameplay is what I am the most proud of. The game is fun to play and has a lot of depth for people who want to master it. gameplay was always our focus from the start.

The mechanics of the game are pretty unique, yet it stays true to its platformer roots and is still clearly an action game. It is hard to design a fun game that does something that is truly novel. A large amount of development time was dedicated only to prototyping gameplay ideas and making sure they were both fun and unique.

I really like the music in Defy Gravity. I often just listen to it as background music.

The graphics style is very retro. Did you plan on using sprite-like animation and graphics from the start or was this due to availability of resources?
We planned on using sprites from the start. The focus on this game was not really on the art though, but on pure gameplay.

Have you considered including different game modes? While the main game is very enjoyable and the hard mode is challenging, it’s lifespan is still rather short for the experienced platformers among us.
The normal mode of the main game was meant to be finished in a single playthrough, like the old school platforming games. The harder mode adds about another hour on top of that. Many alternative game modes and mini-games such as a kind of space basketball game were considered, and may be added in a update.

What are your thoughts on the hazardous environment of the levels? All entities that were harmful were rather passive. During development, have you considered ‘active’ enemies for the player to dodge, or find another way of dealing with?
Yes, enemies with guns where you are bending their bullet trajectories were considered, as well as gravity deformable terrain, and using gravity to control enemies you could stand on top of, as well as objects with mass based physics.

Those as well as many other ideas are being considered for a sequel or an expansion.

Defy Gravity Enemies

Golden enemies are affected by your gravity fields.

Is there a community behind Defy Gravity at the moment? We believe an element such as a Level Designer could add a lot of value to this game, even more so when people are able to share level designs with one another. Custom built competitions come to mind, for example.
There is a small but growing community around Defy Gravity, and a level maker is possible. We may add one in a future update.

What does the future hold in stock for Defy Gravity? Will we see further updates to the current game or are you working on a potential sequel?
We are about to release Defy Gravity on xbox, as well as on the Impulse distribution network. There will likely be further updates to Defy Gravity, and we may make a sequel. If we do it will still be a 2d platformer, but in a 3d world.

What else can we expect from Fish Factory Games? Will you focus on Platformers or are there plans for other types of games?
We are still deciding on our next project, but we will probably be creating more platformers or a metroidvania type of game.

Thank you very much for your time. We wish you the best of luck with Defy Gravity and look forward to seeing what else your team has to offer in the future!

the author

Crazy Dutch fella with an interest in mostly action-packed adventure games, platformers and first-person shooters. I love Real-Time Strategy games, but I *really* suck at them (except for Dawn of War II). I also like physics puzzle games a lot, like Portal and The Ball.