Hello! Please tell us who you are and tell us about your role in the Marvin’s Mittens project?
Hi! We’re Jason, Mike, and Jan from Breakfall. For roles, we handled mainly programming, audio, and level design respectively, but our team is small enough that no one can just do just one thing. We’re a group of people who love to learn by doing, and have all grown since the start of the project! In fact, when the project was first started, only Mike had professional experience in the games industry. Everyone else came in with whatever skills they had to offer, and learned about game development along the way.
Developing Marvin’s Mittens took a huge amount of collaboration across all sides of development. So even though we each had a main role, it wasn’t uncommon to have a programmer make suggestions about levels, or for an artist to have an idea about music, or even for a level designer to jump into the code from time to time. Everyone on the team became fast friends, so working together came naturally.
We know you got your inspiration for Marvin’s Mittens from childhood memories of snowy slopes. Were there any other inspiration sources? Was it always your plan to make this a 2D platformer with hand drawn art?
We drew from a lot of different sources of inspiration. For instance, to come up with the look of the game, we discussed everything from classic Disney backdrops to classic fine art paintings. On concept, we were certainly directly inspired by the work of Nifflas (Nicklas Nygren) on his relaxing title Knytt. Finally, we really owe a lot of our gusto to heroes of our childhood like Calvin & Hobbes, who reminded us to never take things too seriously and to find the adventure in every day.
As for the game being 2D, it was initially because we thought it would be easier and faster to develop the game. This was decided long before we knew that we would be getting ourselves into several years worth of work! (laughs) We do have members on the team who can work in 3D, but we’re actually very glad to have realized Marvin the way we did. Even though most games these days are done in 3D graphics, we feel there’s a certain charm and warmth to the painted look we chose that really sets the atmosphere we were going for.
How often did you go sledding during the 5 years developing Marvin’s Mittens for uhm… ‘research’?
Sledding and skating are serious Canadian pastime, as any Canadian will tell you. We won’t confirm or deny any reports of our “research”, but we can tell you that we take these studies very seriously. (laughs) Really though, we did give every single element in Marvin’s Mittens serious consideration, especially where these important “staples” of the great white north were concerned.
What made you decide not to include any harmful things into the game? Marvin is exploring woods and caves, which could be dangerous places.
We wanted the whole game to take place within a particular range of feelings, and also be something people would relate to personally. Just like everybody else, we enjoy variety. When we sit down to come up with an idea, we sometimes try to identify certain themes or ideas that have not been fully explored yet by the medium. Themes that speak to or are delivered through violent means have been explored so thoroughly that we felt there were important emotions to convey on the other side of the spectrum as well.
While caves and such could be dangerous places, we instead looked at it as potential for more positive, wondrous things to happen. Like perhaps you stumble upon a hidden artifact without any idea of where it came from or what it might mean.
If you watch how people react when playing a game without any major barriers or ways to “lose” you can see it in their face and eyes that they are experiencing something wholly different than, say, a twitchy action game. It’s not even to say better or worse, just different. Feeling something different and good is where that “magic” feeling we all love about games comes from!
What magic lies behind little Marvin’s amazing draftsmanship?
If you speak of Marvin the “animal whisperer”, we can’t tell you how he does it! Animals trust him to get close enough to sketch properly. He has a mysterious ability to befriend these animals that we can’t give details on!
Marvin’s Mittens will be released on Desura and you’re hoping to make it onto Steam through Greenlight. Did you consider Kickstarter to fund your game?
We considered a kickstarter to market the game, but in the end felt we should focus on finishing the game while pinning our hopes on Desura and Greenlight.
We never thought of funding Marvin development this way because we started the project long before crowd sourcing was a mainstream trend. And, in fact, things are changing so rapidly in this space that we’re not even sure if this will be the place to be in the coming months and years. Games are evolving faster than any other medium on earth right now so it’s hard to know where to place your chips.
That being said, we hope people love Marvin’s Mittens and maybe even support us in our next title through something like this!
Anything else you’d like to tell us that you haven’t already above? Go wild, this is your chance you tell everyone why they should buy Marvin’s Mittens when it’s released
Sure! Well, we’d like to bring attention to the incredible soundtrack in the game. You already see the screenshots and description for the game, but what you can’t see is the score that Mike Keogh, the audio mastermind, has crafted over all these years. We’re obviously super biased in the group, but we feel people are going to absolutely love the music, sound effects, and even Marvin’s voice.
Finally, if we had to leave you with one thing about our little adventurer, we hope you can experience a whimsical escape through the adventure of Marvin’s childhood. There’s a bit of Marvin in all of us!
Thank you for the interview!
Thanks so much for taking an interest in our game and the team behind it!
Pre-order the game on Desura