Sat, Jul 16, 2011 | 14:22 BST
Lost at Sea: Playdead’s Patti on porting Limbo
As Playdead prepares to bring Limbo to PS3 and PC, studio CEO Dino Patti talks to Johnny Cullen about the conversions, as well as the success of the 360 version.
Playdead was co-founded by Dino Patti and ex-IO Interactive developer Arnt Jensen in 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Debut title Limbo launched last summer for Xbox Live Arcade to incredible critical success, including award wins at the VGAs, GDCA and AIAS.
A PSN launch next week ends Limbo’s year-long 360 exclusivity. It also hits Steam on August 2.
Playdead has a new IP in development, with work beginning after the release of Limbo 360.
Its been nearly a year since Limbo first arrived on the scene. Originally an Xbox 360 exclusive, the title was one of several games that formed last year’s Summer of Arcade line-up, going onto critical success with a 90 percent on MetaCritic. Needless to say, Playdead CEO Dino Patti is pleased with how its release turned out.
“Yes, we are pretty happy about it,” he told VG247. “It’s a nice feeling that we’ve reached so many people and been so well received.”
Scores aren’t everything, but awards certainly seem to track success. Limbo won several major awards, including Best Indie Game at the Spike VGAs and Adventure Game of the Year at the AIAS awards at DICE, as well as being nominated for seven awards at the Game Developer Choice Awards during GDC and even for four BAFTAs, including Best Game. The latter nods suggest Bafta is becoming more accepting of indie games than in the past. So was the success expected?
“It’s hard to say, we really didn’t expect anything I think,” says Patti. “During production we were just super focused on doing the game.
“It is the type of game we love ourselves, and before it was out, we really didn’t know the scale of people who would feel the same way. You obviously get a bit surprised when you get mentioned and nominated in so many places.”
As is the case, like Yin and Yang, you’ll have your fans, but you’ll also have your haters. It’s the inevitable way of life. There were some people that thought the game was pretentious for eschewing the balls-out action of blockbusters. And while the question wasn’t just asked specifically for Limbo, Patti explains Playdead wasn’t going to avoid taking risks.
“It’s a deep question, but I believe that we humans too quickly get too acquainted with the past and things that have already been created – so much so that we sometimes lose the ability to think in new ways.
“I don’t believe any eschewing took place.”
“I believe that many mainstream games are created by people where this phenomenon is more severe. You take what you know and change a few parameters and then measure it towards statistics when there are things that needs to be decided.
“Especially in bigger companies where de-risking is a big part of the individual’s agenda, it’s all about not going too far from the ‘safe zones.’ Arnt Jensen, my working partner and game director of Limbo, just had a vision for the game, and went with his feelings, until Limbo was born.
“But to get back to the point, I don’t believe any eschewing took place,” he adds, putting us in our place.
Nevertheless, Patti insists striking out for something unique can push past quality caps of budget and time.
“I don’t believe in caps, and also, quality is obviously not a proportional function of the budget size,” he said. “I think doing things differently can have tremendous value if done properly.”
Now, over a year after it first launched on Xbox Live, the title will finally arrive on the PlayStation Network and PC via Steam – despite a Joystiq interview from last year, in which Patti claimed that the game would be exclusive “for life.” Needless to say, a release of the game elsewhere wasn’t planned back as far as last year.
“I don’t recall stating ‘for life,’ but I remember saying that it wasn’t coming to other platforms,” said Patti. “This at the time was true, as we had an exclusivity deal with Microsoft. The fact was that at that point, we were not ready to promise anything at all.”
For the PC massive who want to get the game elsewhere other than just Steam, don’t worry: Patti said that Playdead had “no intention of keeping the game restricted.”
And just to tease the PS3 and PC versions of the game further, Patti wouldn’t exactly say yes or no on the subject of if there would be additional content.
“This is something which you will find out next week. I can’t comment on this right now.”
After the release of the 360 version of Limbo last year, the studio is now currently working on a new IP, which Patti tells us is unlikely to be shown this year at least.
But if Limbo is an indication, great and bright things are still to come from this small Danish indie studio. We can’t wait.