Interview: ibb & obb

PlayStation Network exclusive ibb & obb is a two player cooperative game set in a puzzle filled world where gravity goes both up and down. The downloadable title, which is set to launch in Q4 2011, is the result of two Rotterdam-based game development studios – Sparpweed and Codeglue (Rocket Riot).

Wriggy spoke to Richard Boeser, co-owner of Sparpweed, and Peter de Jong, co-owner of Codeglue, about ibb & obb.

The concept of ibb & obb is quite simple, as Richard Boeser explains: “The basic controls are like most platformers, ibb and obb can run and jump. The catch is that their world is split in two. In the bottom half gravity is reversed. Through warps the players can move from one half to the other.”

He continued: “The shape of the world causes all kinds of challenges and puzzles. There are enemies making your life more difficult. Enemies can be destroyed by touching their soul counterparts. The gameplay is really focused on working together. Players will have to jump from each other and take out enemies together.”

The idea for ibb & obb came while looking for an interesting core mechanic that was accessible yet, at the same time, could lead to a complex gameplay. Boeser said: “This is when the idea of double gravity came up. This was developed into a prototype and, from there, we followed a very iterative process of experimenting, building and playing.”

ibb and obb contains a unique visual style, which Boeser describes as “somewhere between abstract and recognisable”. He continued: “Shapes seem plant-like but are never realistic. With the colours, we try to achieve something fresh, a bit weird, yet pleasing to the eyes – we want the players to feel like they’re in a world unknown to them.”

Peter de Jong, who previously worked on Rocket Riot, noticed that there was a big difference in the technology used to create games on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. He explained: “For Rocket Riot we used Microsoft’s XNA technology which makes the life of a game developer a lot easier.

“For ibb & obb, we are using Sony’s Phyre engine, which is much more of a hardcore game engine, which makes it a bit tougher. Other than that both platforms are pretty much the same in terms of requirements, submission process, etc.”

As for the possibility of downloadable content for ibb & obb, Boeser explained that it depends on the reaction from gamers: “If people like it a lot and we have nice ideas on new features, we’ll do it. However, it is not part of an underlying strategy of some sort.”

ibb & obb is expected to launch on the PlayStation 3 in Q4 2011.