Saturday, February 7, 2009
Interview: Edmund Mcmillen
You recently created a game with Tyler Glaiel titled AVGM. What was the inspiration for making that game?
AVGM is our take on games like World of Warcraft, that use abusive video game manipulation to get people to play them: Click a button for reward. The rewards take more time and effort as you progress, but you keep playing because you want to see whats next. Its a horrible way to manipulate people to play your games, but it's what sells.
It seems like it’s going to be a big year for Mcmillen games. There’s Super Meat Boy, No Quarter, and Spewer to name a few. How do you manage all of these projects?
Well, my schedule is usually get up at 10, work for about 2 hours at home, go to work with Alex (No Quarter and Gish 2). From 12 to 7 I get home and I spend some time with the wife, then from 10 to 1 I work more on my own stuff again. I try to only spend about 3-4 hours working on the weekends, but its not as hard to juggle them as you'd think. I'm trying to clear my plate though. Once Spewer and No Quarter are done I'll basically be open for only console development for the rest of the year.
Why did you start making games?
I was an animal control officer for about a year. I got fired and needed work. I was really set in conforming, just getting a real job, working, and not doing art for a living. I was always scared I'd grow to hate it and never be able to use it as a form of expression. I needed to make art to stay sane, so, it scared the shit out of me to think I could grow to hate it. I didn't have a real portfolio, so i started whoring myself out to people to get pieces for my portfolio. I got 2 jobs, one was as the cover artist for a local magazine, and the other was a freelance artist for a company called Chronic Logic. They made indie games. it was around that time I started working on a game called Cereus Peashy with Tom Fulp, and later Clubby The Seal with Rift. I was basically just doing box art and texture stuff (Chronic Logic). About a month in I pitched a game that would later be called Gish, a game about a physics based blob of black tar. And that's how I got started.
Before David Hellman jumped on the project, you designed the main protagonist in Braid. How was working with Jonathan Blow, and did you learn anything new from the experience?
Working with Jon was interesting. It seemed like he knew what he wanted but couldn't totally explain what it was because it was more like he knew how the character should "feel", but couldn't put the feeling into words, so there was a ton of trial and error in the designs. I ended up drawing all the characters about 50+ times each with slightly different sized noses and eyes till it was perfect. I learned more from playing the game then working with him. One of my biggest regrets in working on Braid was not really putting myself into my work. i didn't want to fuck his game up, so I stood back and just did what I was told. I wish I could say I had more to do with how things looked, but really I was just doing what Jon wanted. I just didn't want to fuck his game up so, I didn't want to push my own designs. But it was cool having worked on it, and Jon's a really cool guy.
In your blog, you posted about the issues of the IGF. Do you still feel the same way about that, and were there any nominated titles that you enjoyed?
Yeah, I still feel the same, and I'm still working with others who also feel the same way on a basic outline to pitch to the IGF later this year. I hope it might shed some light on things and fix a few of the issues a few of us have with the judging system.
The only games I've played so far this year are Dyson, Cortex Command, Between, Graveyard, Snap Shot, and You Have To Burn The Rope. The games this year seem okay... Nothing stands out to me as an AWESOME game like the past few years. I'm looking forward to playing Feist, and I also want to see how Night Game plays. From screenshots it looks a bit Gishy and I'm a sucker for games involving black balls with physics. I'm a huge fan of black balls.