We first heard about Minutes last year whilst we were at EGX. We stumbled upon creator Richard Ogden from Red Phantom Games showing off this rather intriguing game. I can remember sat in front of a 40 inch LCD for quite a long time while Richard gave us the low down. Us gamers in the EU have been enjoying Minutes for a while now, but we figured now our American brothers and sisters are getting to grips with it we thought we’d ask its creator a few questions:
For folks that don’t know about Minutes, can you tell us what they can expect?
– Minutes is a pure, sticks-and-buttons arcade game. Expect your core videogaming skills to be tested! I like to call it a twisted version of a bullet-hell game – and you don’t get to shoot back. The visuals are clean and abstract, the music is great. If you’re looking for something a bit different from the usual triple-A offerings or a title that’s captures some the fundamentals of gaming then check it out. I guess that doesn’t really explain the game. All should become clearer if you watch the trailer.
You have over 17 years experience of working in the games industry; can you tell us some of the highlights and whom you have worked for?
– I started in the industry back in the days of PlayStation 1 with Codemasters. There I worked on the first Colin McRae Rally and TOCA Touring Car games. A few years later I was a co-founder of Bigbig Studios. Of note, we created the two Pursuit Force games which was great fun, but my highlight as a project and a game was MotorStorm: Arctic Edge where we took the PS3 title, put our own spin on it and squeezed it into the PSP. I played it recently and thought, “Yeah. We did a really good job there!”
Looking at PSN Profiles, no one is yet to get the 100% completion trophy wise. Do you have any advice to gamers wanting to get 100%?
– Minutes is a difficult game and I designed it to be that way. I find that many modern titles are just too easy and some are more experiential than challenging. Still, having listened to feedback from players and in reviews, I’ve reduced the difficulty a bit. This is for the U.S. version and the E.U. patch which releases on the same day (10th February). The top end of the game is still hard but I’ve reduced the frustration factor and made it easier to progress and unlock the tools you need to attempt 100% completion.
What has the latest update brought to Minutes?
– Basically the difficulty change that I mentioned. The level unlocking is more flexible in that you can skip a level and come back to it (to an extent). I also fixed a crash bug which affected the friends view of the leaderboards if you have lots of PSN friends.
Being a one man company, how long has it taken from the first idea of making the game to then seeing it on the PlayStation Store?
– Around 18 months. The initial idea came to me very quickly but it’s a long process to go through design, building the engine and gameplay, developing the visuals and audio, getting all the assets into the game,
Can you tell us about the in-game music?
– The music was created by Black Bag Music. I simply gave them a brief of what I was looking for and they delivered a top notch result that was bang-on spec. Originally I only planned 3 themes (plus the menu music) but was so happy with the result that I went back to them for another 3. The music is split into chunks that are mixed up in different ways across the levels. Have a listen and you will hear the variations – there are actually 73 different tracks in the game!
Are you considering another release or bringing Minutes to Xbox/WiiU etc?
– All platforms are a possibility. PC is a definite. I’d like to get a PS3 version out there. Others are to be decided. At some point I’ll want to move onto the next game. I don’t think I’ll be bringing Minutes to phones though – at least not in its current form. That would require a redesign away from the core design ethos of the game.
What are your favourite types of video games and why?
– I’ve played games for over 30 years and had many favourites over that time. I guess any types of adventures and shoot ‘em ups are a preference. Ones that stand the test of time for me: Uridium, Paradroid, Staff of Karnath, Super Metroid, Xevious, Resident Evil (the first few) – I also remember Dino Crisis fondly – Doom, Half Life 2. Not many surprises I guess. Recently I’ve finished Velocity 2X and sinking some hours into Luftrausers.
Big thanks to Richard for taking the time out to speak to us. For more P&L interviews and gaming, chat head here.