Sportsfriends developers' love of split-screen gaming influenced their collaboration

In an Ask Me Anything on Reddit today, the four indie developers behind games like QWOP and the Sportsfriends Kickstarter project discussed their shared love of local multiplayer and how that influenced their not-yet-funded collaboration.

"The thought process was along the lines of: we each really care about each other's games, but we are not sure what's the best way to release them," Ramiro Corbetta, developer of Hokra, wrote. "What if we get together and do a compilation around this idea of local multiplayer games that we really care about? Yeah, good idea, let's do it! In terms of innovation, it's hard to argue against [Johann Sebastian] Joust. I mean, it won the Game Developers Choice Innovation award, beating out Portal 2 and LA Noire ... fancy stuff!"

Doug Wilson, developer of the screenless multiplayer game Johann Sebastian Joust, wrote that the developers and their games are thematically similar.

"All four games share the same spirit — the idea that minimalistic, spectator-friendly multiplayer games can be deeply rewarding," Wilson wrote.

"All four games share the same spirit — the idea that minimalistic, spectator-friendly multiplayer games can be deeply rewarding."

In response to a question about local multiplayer, the developers responded with stories about their love of playing games locally and how that influenced their Sportsfriends contributions.

"All the best times I've had with video games have involved local multiplayer," wrote Bennett Foddy, who will include a multiplayer version of QWOP in Sportsfriends to backers who pledge $60 or more. "From playing Amiga games with my brother as a kid, to games of Command and Conquer over an ethernet link, to playing Street Fighter 2 in the arcades, there is really no single-player or internet multiplayer experience that can compare with it. I'm personally very sad that split screen multiplayer went away from modern 3D console games."

Johann Sebastian Joust developer Doug Wilson, whose game will include a new invincibility mode and other features if Sportsfriends is funded, wrote of the social aspects of local multiplayer.

"There's nothing quite like yelling at your opponents/teammates, hearing the roar of the crowd, seeing your opponents' facial expressions, and so on," Wilson wrote. "Also, I find that it augments the whole gameplay experience to be able to hang out before and after the match. Online, you typically just disconnect after the match. It leaves you feeling empty. You can't go out for beers or anything."

If its Kickstarter campaign is funded, Sportsfriends will release on PlayStation 3 in 2013. The campaign has 68 hours to go as of this writing, ending on Monday, Dec. 10. As of this writing, 2,423 backers have pledged $90,480 of its $150,000 goal. You can check out the Sportsfriends campaign and each of its games on its Kickstarter page.

For more on the history and future of Johann Sebastian Joust and the Sportsfriends project, be sure to check out our recent feature, in which we interviewed developer Doug Wilson.

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