Jeriaska is enamored by the style, setting, and audio of PixelJunk Eden. I’m mesmerized by its uncommon features. PixelJunk Eden is the second title with YouTube recording and the second game with trophies. I spoke to Matt Morton, Associate Producer at Sony Studios Santa Monica about how these features were implemented into PixelJunk Eden and what Baiyon, a visual artist from Japan, contributed to the project.
I remember there was a visual artist involved with PixelJunk Eden…
Matt Morton, Associate Producer at Sony Studios Santa Monica: Baiyon did both the visual and audio aspects of this game. He’s created nearly 100 minutes of really, really great soundtrack for this game.
Do you plan on releasing the soundtrack online similar to PixelJunk Monsters?
We’re discussing that option right now. I think it’s most desirable on all fronts. We just want to make sure all of the territories are interested and willing.
Unlike the other PixelJunk titles, PixelJunk Eden is coming out worldwide right?
We’re very happy on that. We worked really, really hard to do a simultaneous release in Japan, North America, and Europe. That’s always been our goal. Sometimes there are hiccups for different release times. Europe is a much more vast market. There are so many different localization versions you have to go through and things like that. They have considerably more testing. So, sometimes Europe can be behind in our PSN releases, but only by a little bit. They were, I believe, only a week or two behind on [PixelJunk] Monsters and the expansion.
The interesting thing about the PixelJunk series is each game is completely different from the previous. How would you describe PixelJunk Eden to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
It’s basically a two dimensional, organic platformer set in a beautiful vibrant world of visuals and audio environments. Honestly, that was the biggest thing going into E3. We were sitting around conference rooms going, “how do we describe this in ten words or less?” You really can’t. Unfortunately and fortunately the best way to get this game is to get your hands on it. The nice thing is the standalone demo is online and the full game is releasing on July 31. So everybody will be able to play the demo, get their hands on it, and understand it.
It’s a vibrant visual world, an amazing audio world. There is so much going on the technology side. I wish everyone listening to this could see the different polygons floating down. They each have geometry to it. There are so many different, dynamic layers of moving in the background there is a lot going on here. And also we got neat things like trophy support and direct upload to YouTube. You can record up to ten minutes of gameplay on this and send it to your YouTube account.
Yeah, I remember that. I was reading about it from one of the Singaporean press releases. The YouTube feature is really unique. The only other game that supports it is Mainichi Issho. How hard was it to implement the YouTube feature into PixelJunk Eden?
Not hard at all. Dylan (the President of Q-Games) saw the press release and shot us an e-mail going, “this looks cool, I’m going to check it out”. In the next build we had it in. The great thing is a lot of other developers have seen just how quickly and easily it goes into it. Google and YouTube have been absolutely fantastic in their help and enthusiasm on it as well. You’re going to see a lot of other titles supporting this feature.
A lot of other titles in general or a lot of other from Q-Games?
A lot of other titles in general. The whole PSN area especially has looked at this and said wow, this looks really cool.
PixelJunk Eden has trophies too. Can you give me some tips so I can get my first gold trophy?
Well, we got bronze and silver. We don’t have gold. We have 315 points possible in PixelJunk Eden. This is a list of them right here. Collecting the seeds, opening garden 1, garden 2. Doing a ten time combo, stuff like that. You’re going to have to get in there and explore on your own once you get it.
You just said 315 points, I didn’t think trophies had a numeric value.
They do. I believe bronze is 15, silver is 30, and gold is 90.
So far I’ve just seen the card which lists how many trophies you have.
On the breakdowns you see on the player cards you just see numbers of trophies, but each title has a specific set value of trophies.
I never knew that. What does the value do?
Well, there is a different value for Blu-ray titles. They have 1,000 plus or minus 5% and they can also have a platinum [trophy]. So, if you get all of the trophies you get a platinum. Super Stardust HD had a patch that added trophies, which did 300 points plus or minus 5%, and then expansions can, I believe, do an additional 200. So, I think Super Stardust HD has around 500 since they added trophies not just for the original game, but the expansions as well.
Are there plans to do more backwards trophy patching for PSN games?
A lot of the developers now are pretty aware of that. I think Burnout Paradise did it best because what they did was they coded the save game specifically to the PlayStation ID. That helped that case do that. Unfortunately, if the developer did not have that particular set up in place I think it’s much, much more difficult to do the retro patching. But everyone is aware of that issue and definitely wants to make sure when they patch previously released games with trophy support, even if it’s an inkling of possibility, you bet they are going to award trophies.
You mentioned an expansion and we know PixelJunk Monsters had an expansion. Are there any plans for expansions of PixelJunk Eden?
It all depends on sales. If the response is good then you bet. We’ll definitely be aware of what’s going on in the marketplace. If it sells well and there is demand for it, you bet.
What can you tell us about the next PixelJunk title?
Dylan himself hasn’t completely decided which one it’s going to be yet. He’s mentioned a few different ones. I believe he mentioned Dungeons as well, but I personally think the development time on that will probably be longer than the previous PixelJunk titles that have been out there because there is going to be a lot of content in there.
It’s so mysterious we don’t really know anything about it.
[Laughs] Neither do we! Honestly, we haven’t even seen a build of the next one yet.
Images courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment.