follows a young boy exploring the madcap house of his uncle, eccentric inventor Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, who goes missing soon after his nephew's arrival. As the boy, players must attempt to find their uncle with the help of the Inter-Dimensional Shift Device, which alters the physical state of any environment in five specific ways. This week, Swift and Airtight are showing off the "fluffy" dimension, which makes objects 10 times lighter, furrier, and easy to pick up, as Swift demonstrated in a demo video
released last month.
The video didn't reveal all of the fluff functions though -- Swift said the fluffy dimension also reduces fall damage, making heavy objects that may happen to careen toward your skull completely harmless.Quantum Conundrum
has five interchangeable dimensions in all: normal, fluffy, reverse-gravity, slow-mo, and one mystery dimension, which Airtight will reveal at GDC in March with a brand new playable demo.
"We're excited to be showing our new hotness," Swift said (and before all the conspiracy theorists jump on that bomb: No, "hotness" is not a clue to the fifth dimension. We checked).
While Quantum Conundrum
may mark a departure from the darker approach to storytelling Swift started in Portal
, the most important development features remains the same across all of her games, she said: gameplay.
"Gameplay has to come first," Swift said. "I want to make sure that whatever game that I work on has a really strong gameplay core that's really easy to pick up and easy to expand upon and design."
"That feeling of wanting to know what happens next. 'Do I get to find my uncle? Do I figure out what happened to him? Am I able to figure out how to get out of this place?'" - Kim Swift
If gameplay is first, a rich story comes second, Swift conceded. "I like having a narrative there; it helps to drive players through, it gives them a purpose, a reason to keep going. That feeling of wanting to know what happens next. Do I get to find my uncle? Do I figure out what happened to him? Am I able to figure out how to get out of this place? I find that giving players a story motivation helps them keep going and feel engaged."
Swift isn't the only person building Quantum Conundrum
; as creative director she leads a team of artists, programmers and developers, all of whom help construct the tone of the final, Square Enix-published game. Her entire team also has input on the creation of puzzles, Swift said – everyone from environment artists to programmers and producers pitched ideas for Quantum Conundrum
's physics puzzles, some of which were dubbed downright "devious" by the development team. Just ask producer Greg "Puzzle Master" Poulus.
"I wouldn't say it's easy to come up with puzzles, but when you have lots of people thinking in the same mindset of creating a challenge for our players, it makes it a lot less difficult than you'd think," Swift said.Quantum Conundrum
is set to launch as a downloadable title for XBLA, PSN and on Steam this year, possibly in the summer, Swift said, and she "wouldn't be surprised" if it had DLC eventually. One thing it definitely will have, however, is plenty of fluff.
"I certainly hope that people like cute, fluffy things as much as I do," Swift said. "When it comes to fluffy dimension, it's my favorite dimension. It's just so darn cute."