Can a hardcore platformer work on a touch device? We'll certainly find out with Super Meat Boy on iOS.
About a month ago, Team Meat, the development duo behind Super Meat Boy, announced that a new installment for the franchise was on the way, this time coming to iOS. Now, in an interview with Polygon, Edmund McMillen of Team Meat has gone a bit deeper, explaining just what we can expect from Meat Boy's debut on mobile devices.
"[The original] Meat Boy was a twitch-based game about memorizing things," said Edmund McMillen, the lead designer of Team Meat. "[iOS] Meat Boy is the opposite. That's the foundation of its design. But it's also on a touch device, so there's that as well. We want to make a twitch-based platformer that's not about memorization."
I wanted it to be a reflex game. Canabalt is closer to what we're thinking about.
McMillen continued, saying that he liked Bit Trip Runner, but "didn't like that it turned into a game about memorization. I wanted it to be a reflex game. Canabalt is closer to what we're thinking about. But Canabalt is very surface-level stuff."
Canabalt, released in 2009, was a one-button platformer which had a player running across a never-ending series of rooftops, tapping the screen to jump. Team Meat as expressed disappointment with digital control pads in the past, saying that the mobile Meat Boy won't be "a shitty port of an existing game with non tactile buttons spread all over the screen blocking the players view and making for frustrating controls." Based on that, it seems likely that they'll be sticking with some variation on Canabalt's one-button control scheme.
McMillen also discussed the art style, saying that the lack of an App Store rating system will allow them to not be reigned in.
"I'm happy about the art style," he said. "The more gentle and nice we make it look, the more vicious the story can be. Wouldn't it be so awesome to bait kids in with this happy little Meat Boy thing and then, the ending of the first chapter, instead of the squirrel getting his head knocked off, Meat Boy gets his face sawed in half? Like a skinned looking face looking at the screen?"
And how will he know if he really nailed it? Simple. "My goal is to scare the shit out of my three-year-old nephew," he said with a chuckle.