Twisted Pixel's Josh Bear on giving Ms. Splosion Man more than just a bow

Fresh out of containment and ready to butcher countless more scientists, Ms. Splosion Man was revealed this evening by Twisted Pixel. Alongside the first teaser and news of next fall's splosive sequel, Twisted Pixel CCO Josh Bear spoke with us about all things MSM. We got to the important stuff upfront, pinning Bear to the wall about the real difference between Mr. and Ms. Splosion Man. "Splosion Man has a penis, Ms. Splosion Man has a vagina," he confessed. Solved.

Oh, right, there was also talk of the reasoning behind a full-on sequel in terms of gameplay. Bear explained: "I think with Splosion Man a follow up was something we really wanted to do, and that is why you never saw DLC for that game. We could have churned out new levels, but we wouldn't have had the time to add in new gameplay puzzles or cool new character stuff. But we didn't just want to do Splosion Man 2, it had to be something a ittle more interesting. That is why we decided to do MSM."

And that's not all! Apparently Twisted Pixel is already hard at work on another game -- an entirely new IP, in fact -- with ex-Harmonix designer Dan Teasdale. Head past the break for more.


Joystiq: This is the first "sequel" that Twisted Pixel is working on – after a string of original games, why make a sequel? Do you reject the "common wisdom" that sequels are creatively bankrupt? Will TP continue making new characters? Chances for other TP intellectual properties to become franchises?

Josh Bear, CCO of Twisted Pixel: We have never wanted to make a sequel to one of our games unless we thought it made sense, that we could add more to it and actually make a better game. I think with Splosion Man a follow up was something we really wanted to do, and that is why you never saw DLC for that game. We could have churned out new levels, but we wouldn't have had the time to add in new gameplay puzzles or cool new character stuff. But we didn't just want to do Splosion Man 2, it had to be something a little more interesting. That is why we decided to do Ms. Splosion Man. As for us continuing to create new characters, absolutely. Ms. Splosion Man is a new character herself, she just happens to continue on from where we left off with Splosion Man. We are also working on another game right now that is brand new IP.

Given that Comic Jumper packed in free DLC for Splosion Man, any chance Ms. Splosion Man will pack in free DLC for Comic Jumper?

We love giving away free stuff in our games, but it is unlikely there will be Comic Jumper DLC in Ms. Splosion Man. As awesome as that would be, Comic Jumper levels are extremely involved and would take a large amount of time and money to create. At some point though we would love to do more with Comic Jumper, especially if we can add more sexist and racist things to it, because according to some people on the internet, that is what we love here at Twisted Pixel! **** women! **** other cultures! Yayyyyyyy!!!

Will we see you folks at PAX East this year?

AWWW YEAH! Are we gonna make out behind the booth like we did last year?

What is the difference between Splosion Man and Ms. Splosion Man ... really?

Splosion Man has a penis, Ms. Splosion Man has a vagina.

We have to ask: Was Ms. Pac-Man an influence in creating Ms. Splosion Man? If so, how?

Ms. Splosion Man is an homage to Ms. Pac-man, where there were similarities in gameplay and look, but everything was just more polished and better all around. We have taken that approach with this game, to make sure it is more of what people liked about Splosion Man but also stands out on its own as a much bigger and better game overall, not to be confused as an over-priced DLC pack which I think a lot of retail "sequels" can be a lot of the time.

"We are also working on another game that is a new property that will be announced sometime soon."- Dan Bear, CCO of Twisted Pixel


Is Ms. Splosion Man running off of a different engine? If so, what improvements have been made? If not, why such a long development cycle?

Ms. Splosion Man is running off the engine we have used for all of our games, BEARD. With every new game we come out with we make improvements to the engine. You'll have to wait and see what prizes we've added to BEARD this time around.

What kind of gameplay additions will we see, especially in co-op?

There is a lot of stuff we wanted to do in the first Splosion Man but just didn't have time for. We are revisiting some of that with Ms. Splosion Man, along with a bunch of other stuff. On the co-op side, we are revamping how we design the levels so that it is easier for four people to play at once, and that the online side of things runs smoother than the first one. It is going to be a lot of fun.

What did you learn from Splosion Man that you can apply to Ms. Splosion Man?

A lot of things, everything from difficulty to length between checkpoints, etc. It is nice to revisit the franchise and be able to address things that you know people were having issues with.

How did the "Way of the Coward" mode work out in 'Splosion Man? Did players respond well?

Way of the Coward worked out well for us. I still can't believe Miyamoto copied from us for New Super Mario Bros. What a dick. We found that a lot of players appreciated that it was there, but didn't want to use it because it hurt their pride. A version of Way of the Coward will be back for Ms. Splosion Man, for people who are having a hard time and want to move forward. Originally the decision to put Way of the Coward in was because Sean Conway, our level designer, was having problems beating his own levels. We felt bad for him and put it in as a cheat just so we could finish the game, but ended up leaving it in for other players as well, just in case they sucked as bad as Conway did.

The co-op mode was especially fun if you had the people for it, but was a lot of missed content. Any plans for AI or some other way for people without the right number of friends to experience content like that?

Yeah we have a few ideas we are working on for that. I think one of those things is just to let people know that multiplayer is a different game altogether with different levels, etc. I don't think we did a good job explaining that in the first game, and a lot of people missed out on it.

Some of the billboards in Comic Jumper had hints at Twisted Pixel's future games. Was Ms. Splosion Man in there, or is there another title Twisted Pixel is still working on separately?

Ms. Splosion Man was not one of the billboards in Comic Jumper. But there is a "Coming Soon" billboard in there that does have a hint of something we may or may not be working on. That is all I can say, or the sniper outside my window will shoot me in the face.

Is this also an XBLA exclusive?

We haven't announced that yet, but we are always open to working on all platforms (apologies to Mr. Gates -- if you guys had a version of "The Tester" on Xbox we would totally only go with you all the time).

Will Dan Teasdale be working on this? If so, what's he doing?

Dan Teasdale is currently our janitor here at the company. He sings "Hungry Like the Wolf" when he mops the floor, and he loves to pound on the trash can lids as he takes out the garbage. He is an amazing janitor! Sometimes he has game ideas, but we just laugh at him and tell him to keep shining our shoes.

You've turned out three new IPs, and have become a studio known for original characters. Is this a sequel in addition to or instead of a new property?

We are making Ms. Splosion Man because it is awesome. We are also working on another game that is a new property that will be announced sometime soon. If Dan can hurry up and clean out the fridge, he might get a chance to work on that game.

Is Ms. Splosion Man more complex, or does it maintain the simplicity of the first game?

Ms. Splosion Man carries on what we did with 'Splosion Man and adds more awesomeness. Even at this stage it is a lot of fun, and we are all looking forward to sharing it with everyone who enjoyed Splosion Man. And I think people that found the first game too hard or too frustrating will be happy with the balance we have found in Ms. Splosion Man.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.