Gish – Designing An Indie Game Cult Classic

Gish – Designing An Indie Game Cult Classic

February 8, 2020 0 By Sebastian Fry


[TYPING SOUNDS] [MUSIC PLAYING] ALEX AUSTIN: I’d kind of had
this idea for a long time about a bridge building
game. So I made this game in about a month
and called it Bridge Builder. Originally my idea was a
very dot com idea of just putting the game
on a website and then getting advertising money.
But yeah, the game you know, wasn’t making
any money, and I was basically broke. Started
looking for a job, and a friend of mine
was working at this company
in Scotts Valley. And while I was working
there, Bridge Builder got pretty popular.
A friend of mine and I decided to make
a sequel to that, and later in 2001 we
released Pontifex. Then in 2002, we released
another game, which was kind of a simple
physics-based tetris game. But that didn’t do,
didn’t do that well. So then later in that year,
we released Pontifex 2 in 2002, and that did
pretty well. So we had enough money to go
on for awhile. And I think that’s around–
I guess probably in 2003 when Edmund contacted us, and yeah,
sent an email like, hey, I’m in Santa Cruz also,
and working on games. And yeah, his art was–
[LAUGHS] It was interesting and
very Edmund style, you know. I think it was
like dead baby stuff. Like it was–
I mean it was kind of cartoony, but– DANNY: Do you get any of that
from somebody who draws cartoons of dead babies,
if you’re going to make a game? – Yeah, it’s like, oh,
what kind of person is this going to be?
But then we met him, and yeah, he’s a
relatively normal guy. Um. – Sure, let me put
him, shit. DANNY: Hiya. – Danielle, are you
over there? [DANNY LAUGHING] Previously I had given
up on art because I couldn’t get
my games published. I couldn’t make a living
off of my work. All the websites and
stuff that I did in the very, very
early 2000s initially were successful
back when there was revenue coming off
of ads, but then that market died, like bam,
it was gone. And there was no paychecks
coming in at all. I gave up. I was like,
I need a real job. Like had moved to Sacramento,
in with Danielle’s mom. Shit happened with them,
and we were forced to move back to Santa Cruz, so I
needed to get a real job. And there just happened to be
an ad for animal control officers. They were looking for
animal control officers. And I like animals,
and I thought, OK, I’ll do that. And I ended
up getting the job. Then I worked there for a year.
It’s like I was the deads guy. I’d have to go scrape dead
animals off the road. If something was rotted for days,
I’m the one that’d have to take it.
You have to scan it, because if it’s a cat or a dog,
it might have a chip. So you’d have to take it out,
and I got to do all the, whatever, it kind of
goes with the territory. It works with my aesthetic.
I thought, well, I probably should
at least try to do art for a living again,
and I had no portfolio, unless you count a bunch of
dick jokes, and dead babies, and whatever else.
Like, I had nothing. Like, I could draw. I’m–
I was a pretty good illustrator and I wanted to be able to
do that for a living. So I just started emailing everybody
in Santa Cruz. I’ll do logos for free.
I’ll do mascots for free. Any illustrations, anything.
And then I heard of this placed called Chronic Logic,
which I thought was like weed place, and
everybody else did too. And they were looking
for an artist, and I think I might have
volunteered some time there. I think I volunteered a little
bit of time doing work. And they liked what I was doing,
and then they offered me, I think, 400 bucks a
month to come in and do whatever, and it was
enough to get by. Because me and Danielle
were just living in a room, and she was
working as well. Right before I worked on
Gish, I was actually working with Tom Fulp on a
game called Cereus Peashy. DANNY: Yeah, right. – And he couldn’t continue
to work on it because he’s like, I got this console
deal for this game called Alien Hominid, which was
very popular at the time. – Me, Edmund, and a friend
of mine from Willits named Josiah Pisciotta, we
had been working on– We had done Pontifex 2
before that, so yeah, it was the three
of us. EDMUND: Then I started doing
box art for them, and 3D models, and some
other basic stuff for stuff that Alex was working on.
And then a game called Triptych, I drew a bunch of
faces for the blocks, because the blocks had no
character at all to them. There were just blocks,
you know, Tetris blocks. So I drew some faces
on blocks. ALEX: While he was working on that,
he kind of had this idea for taking those block
physics and making a game out of it.
And so that was the original idea for Gish
was he was going to be this ball of tar that could
like reach out with an arm, and grab these
blocks, and like, throw ’em around. EDMUND: I was like, OK, well, I’m
working with a video game company. Like, maybe I can come
up with something that would be mildly
interesting for them. And I just went to town
on this design document. And I didn’t know what I
was doing. I was just like, making pages and pages
of in-depth, like, oh, this is how
it’s going to work. I knew that I could do stuff
with character, and I knew that I could make cool
characters. So I wanted to make a bunch of cool
characters, and I knew that Alex does
really amazing physics. So I was like, how can I
marry a cool character and physics. I was like, well,
what about just a blob? Like, he could do a blob. So he pitched it to us,
and I didn’t want to do all those animations. It’s like,
doing an animation system is, like,
I hadn’t done one. So like, for me it was
just a bunch of busywork, so I was like,
I’m going to try and make this physics-based instead of,
like, animating this main character where I
have to do hundreds of frames. And so that’s when I
did the first basic Gish ball, which, you know,
just like a simple 16 particles connected with
what I call bonds, which are just things that keep them
at the right distance. Once we had that, we
were like, yeah. I mean it’s pretty obvious
that was the way to go. Like it was pretty fun
even early on. [MUSIC PLAYING] EDMUND: I tend to make
characters based on myself. So Gish in some weird way
resembles me if you look close enough.
Big blob. [DANNY LAUGHING] Big black blob.
[LAUGHING] But yeah, and then
his love interest Brea was based
on my wife. And I just wanted
to do a cliche take on the damsel
in distress situation, where it was like, what’s
the quickest way to get this thing moving along?
Well, she’s gone! She’s gone, and you
got to go get her. Enemy-wise and stuff,
it was kind of– A lot of the stuff was based on
animal control stuff that I was sketching at
the time, which was like dead animals, and
maggots, and rotting things, which would
continue throughout my career. And for
whatever fuckin’ reason, Alex was like, sure.
And then the next– Within a day, he
had a physical little mesh ball of goo.
It was just all wire frames
jumping around. [MUSIC PLAYING] [SPLASH] [DING] [SPLASH] – There wasn’t anybody making
and platformers back then, like– DANNY: Right. – That was one of the challenges
with Gish, was like marketing a 2D game,
when everything’s like– Everything has to be 3D.
But yeah, there wasn’t a whole lot of physics.
Like Bridge Builder, I think, was kind of one of the first
physics-based games that I would say, like,
actually involves the physics in the gameplay.
And then Gish was you know, the physics
are a big part of the gameplay, which I would
argue is still kind of rare. Like there’s plenty of
games using physics for like, hey,
look at this thing blow up, or look at these ragdolls.
But they’re kind of just decorations. Making gameplay
out of physics is really, really hard,
because I’ve heard people say, like, oh,
I’ll just add physics and that’ll add
emerging gameplay. The problem is, most of the
stuff that emerges sucks and is not fun to do,
so it’s a matter of like weeding out and
figuring out how to control that physics
and make it playable for, you know,
the average person. – And I instantly
saw the potential from there, and it’s like,
what else can we do? Then he’s like, well, I can
make an editor for this and, you know, we can
make levels for it, and I basically had this, like,
a bunch of questions, like can we do ropes? Can we
do, like balls that roll down? And like, can we make
him get slick, or– Originally he had a goo whip.
That was his original thing. He would shoot out a goo
whip and swing, like– That actually felt a little
funky and kind of tacked on, so we just
stuck it to just the basics of like, his
basic properties. He would expand, and that
would also make him jump. So it was like, oh,
that’s two birds with one stone. Like you could throw
stuff off of you. You could if you’re on top of somebody’s
head you could bash it down. You can also
just jump with it. And then you could go slick to
slide around through things. And then he’d become heavy
to drop down faster. And that was basically it,
like we just threw it together within a few weeks,
and we had a prototype that was fun.
You know, platformers are fun, and a physics-based platformer
is instantly fun. Because you’re jumping around,
and hanging off walls, and sticking to things, and
whatever else. And that was the basics of
how it kind of started. Alex really, you could see
that he was fueled by something, you know,
some sort of loved that interaction,
and he was like, yeah, we’re going to do it.
This is going to be a really big deal. And it
was just mostly me me and Alex working,
working for-fucking-ever. He let me do whatever I
wanted when it came to the story, the characters,
the graphics, and the majority of the level design. He
ended up designing a final chapter of the game.
He wanted to do some of his own physics-y stuff.
But I had, I had this really cool way I did things,
which I ended up always using this formula
when it came to platformers, especially with Super Meat Boy.
But I would go through, and I’d write down–
I’d draw a bunch of squares on a piece of paper,
which were like level chunks, And I would come up
with one interesting physics-based puzzle.
Didn’t need to be a puzzle, but it was some sort of
interaction with physics. If it was a button
that you needed to put a rock on,
or a faulty wall, you know, a breakable
wall that you needed to throw a rock through,
or you need to pull something down in order to–
You know, little things like that. I’d just come up with a bunch
of rapid-fire ideas, and I would go through. And every
level had to have three. And then I would string them
together, which is weird ’cause that’s kind of how I do
the D&D stuff now. I starting DMing recently, and
I do it exactly the same way. Just you come
up with these cool interesting things, and then you string
’em together thematically. And they feel like this
organic, cohesive pull, for the most part.
I was learning as I was going. I had no fucking clue what I
was doing. I was going with what I knew from when I
was young playing video games. This was the first time
I ever made levels, and it was super fun.
I did what made the most sense to me, and
was the most fun. – It was kind of that, you know,
like we’d come up with an idea, and I would
work on getting that actually working and
see if it’s feasible. And then once we had
it working, then we had like, a really kind of
hard to use editor. But it, you know, would
place these different types of blocks and stuff. EDMUND: Alex really likes
making a world where all of physics lies,
and he doesn’t– He calls it cheating, faking it.
He doesn’t fake it, like everything has to abide
by the rules of the physics engine that he
puts in place, and that’s that. If Gish expands, he jumps.
If he expands when he’s grabbing something, it shoots
it that way. If he expands when he’s grabbing
on somebody’s head, it breaks their neck.
Like, it’s this– It makes perfect sense
to me. Like, and that’s what I was designing around
as much as I possibly could what it came to the
character’s design. Like the physics. ALEX: The one thing that
people always struggle with, and still probably struggle with,
is the jump, because you kind of have to
bounce up and down you know, to get enough
to jump over a, you know, like a three block ledge.
But it works out really well, because if you’re
sticking to the side of a platform, you can jump
sideways, you know. Whereas if it was
kind of a fake jump, it wouldn’t really
work out that way. EDMUND: Alex goes with
alternative control schemes because he feels like
this is more correct. Like we made a game
where he wanted to make it so when you hold
down jump, your guy primes, and then when you
release jump, he jumps. That makes sense. That
actually makes a hell of a lot more sense
than the majority of games that are out there.
But it doesn’t work in this environment, because
everybody’s gotten used to pressing a button
and instantly jumping. So with Gish,
there was that, where it’s like,
[COUGHS] I’m tapping jump. Why am
I not jumping? I’m just flopping on
the ground. It’s like you saw a lot of that when
people were playing, and you had to
explain like, no he expands. He doesn’t
jump. And there was a logic break there. But
once the learning curve, once they pass that,
it feels really fun, and intuitive, and easy.
That’s a challenging aspect of Alex’s design
that I appreciate. Like because that’s one of
the things that made Gish unique. Because
if we just– If it’s just press A to jump,
like it would just be LocoRoco or whatever
else ripped us off later on in life. [DANNY LAUGHING] You know what I mean? – Both Edmund and I
would say, like, that our main attribute
as designers is that we just play our
games a lot, you know? Nobody is like born
a game designer, just like has these
great ideas that totally work exactly
as you think in your head.
You know, it’s– You have to be experimenting,
and so, yeah. I mean, I remember one control
thing that we had, and Edmund and I actually
argued about this. And he ended up being
right, which is I originally had it where
if you pressed right, you would spin clockwise.
And if you pressed left, you’d spin
counterclockwise. But where you’re
sticking to a roof, that’s really confusing, ’cause you
press right and you go left. So he wanted to do more
absolute controls, you know, where it’s
you press left and you’ll spin in the right direction.
And I think probably part of it for me was I
didn’t want to program that in, because you have
to figure out, like, what is the surface
normal that you’re sticking to. And then,
you know, if it’s a diagonal, what if
you press up? Should you go up,
or, yeah. But it wasn’t too hard to do,
and in the end that was definitely the way
to go. And we could also give you a little bit
of in-air control too, which you wouldn’t
have had with the other method.
I think probably the heavy one was probably
the last one, but the slick one, you know, like
just to fit through a one block gap, you kind
of had to, you know, the friction was too much.
You’d just sit there. And then the jumping,
you know, the expanding, we had that pretty early on,
and sticking also. Yeah, I think we
had those in pretty early, so like,
the gameplay was kind of there. Although
yeah, I mean, that– That’s just kind of
a side-effect of the programming of it,
you know, like I just made it so if you’re
pressing this button, you stick to stuff. But
then if you’re slick, you can’t stick
to anything. And then, yeah the
heavy is just adding mass to the
particles and then increasing the gravity.
So yeah, it was just kind of a byproduct,
but it worked out really well, especially for the versus
mode of being able to switch between those,
and yeah. DANNY: Do you remember
much of the thought process in the different biomes
as it were? The sewer and the– – Yeah, the ones that
I’d reuse forever in all my other games? [DANNY LAUGHING] With Gish it was
he was progressing into the earth, so it
was like, of course the top layer is the sewer
and then you go deeper into like a cave environment.
And then you go to hell, and then it’s Egypt.
[LAUGHING] And then you come out
into the cathedral on the other side.
I had drawings. I had drawings of
like, this descent downward, so like you know
how it would kind of make sense somehow.
But I don’t know. It was a combination
of logic and what would be cool. DANNY: Right. – You gotta go to hell.
Like, you can’t not go to hell if you’re digging
down deep, right? – Like the third world
where you go to hell, like that’s by far
the hardest one out of them all, and it’s
the third out of five. [DANNY LAUGHING] Like they actually get
kind of easier after you get past
that. But that was, again, a case of
like, we’re just making these levels and,
you know, happen to make the hell one had the
hardest stuff. But those had to be
the middle ones, ’cause the whole thing is
you’re going through the center of the earth.
And so we couldn’t really swap it around. DANNY: Right. ALEX: We probably made
all of the levels, all the finished levels,
in the last month or two. ‘Cause I remember
we demoed it at– We got it into IGF
that year before, but like, it was basically
just a demo. I think we had maybe
four or five levels that were just
kind of like, hey, look at this physics stuff. EDMUND: Initially all we
had was this, like, weird Pac Man-ish
type game. There wasn’t any point
to it. We came up with like, with a–
‘Cause we wanted to enter a game in the IGF,
which I had no idea what it was. He’s
like, yeah, we got– We won an award
there last year, and, you know,
it’s super cool. And everybody’s super nice.
It’s like, OK, let’s shoot for it. So we wanted to throw something
together with this prototype. And Alex might remember
better, but I feel like we had only been in development
for a few months. There were just
rooms, box rooms, with a bunch of
amber everywhere, you know, like coins.
And you just had to get the coins within a
certain amount of time. Super, like, basic and
not really that fun. DANNY: But the physics
were all there? – Physics were all there,
but the thing that was was actually really fun
was we had a multiplayer mode
which was called Sumo. And that was one of
the things that he had right in the beginning of
the game, where we had two blobs that were
jockeying for control over a big pillar
that was kind of going back and forth
based on physics. And it was super simple,
and we also made football. It was, it
worked really well. And we entered that
in the IGF. We made it in the IGF,
which was super exciting. And then we got to
demo it, and that was the most surreal experience,
and I think the most pivotal experience of my
career when it came to showing. Showing my game off
to people and seeing them happy,
like seeing joy on their faces and seeing
a crowd of people coming around and
watching people, cheering, and stuff like that
was beyond surreal. It was like, oh my god.
I remember being, feeling like I was on
such a high there and feeling like
this is my career. This is what I’m doing.
There was like 20 active indie developers that were
in this thing, you know what I mean? It felt
so small, so it felt so effortless. Like I
didn’t feel like– Like I felt like I could
stand out really well. There wasn’t much competition.
I felt like what I had to offer was very
different from what other people were having
to offer. My perspective in general was different.
It felt like a really untapped art form. DANNY: Right. EDMUND: Which was super
inspiring, and it’s like oh my god, where could
this go? And it just filled me full, and
I was like, ah! And that’s when I, you know,
started doing more Gish stuff and also started
doing more flash stuff. DANNY: But the next year,
I guess that would’ve been 2004 then,
was it? – 2005 is when we won. DANNY: Yes. – Yeah. DANNY: You got the
Seamus McNally, right? – Yup, in 2005 we entered again.
Guess who we were going up against. Tom Fulp
and Alien Hominid. DANNY: You’re kidding. – No, yeah, that was–
It was fucking bizarre. I was like, um.
It was such a bizarre year, like, so there were two–
They split ’em into two. There was the big and the
little categories, I think. And we were in the big one
for whatever reason. I don’t know if it was
budget related or not. I can’t remember.
But yeah, we entered it. We entered the final finished
game in the next year. And we ended up winning for
design as well as the grand prize. DANNY: Right. – Yeah, and that was nuts. [MUSIC PLAYING] It was the greatest
achievement, winning winning the IGF with Gish,
and winning those awards and feeling such gratification
and such claim, you know, in this
small little pocket. And then nothing higher,
because you could not get published, you could never
go on the consoles. That wasn’t gonna happen.
There were simply no options in the
future at all. And I remember thinking,
well, this is as good as it gets.
Now I gotta go get another job somewhere. What
am I gonna fuckin’ do? But yeah, after the
money due write up I was like, oosh.
It was a low point for me for sure.
But eventually I just started saying, oh, fuck it.
I’m gonna make games. I’m gonna just make a
shitload of flash games. ALEX: 2004, I don’t know,
we might’ve sold I don’t know, 2000 or 3000
copies? Like it’s really, these days it’s, you
know, kind of amazing how few copies we sold.
It was just at the time, indie games
weren’t a thing, right? Like you could buy it
through our website, but you know, getting people
to go to a website, take out their credit card
for some random site that, you know,
[LAUGHS] doesn’t look super
professional is pretty hard. So yeah,
it was just kind of word of mouth, and then
I think in 2007 we put it on Steam, and that
did pretty well. We, I think we got more
sales on Steam than we had previous couple years.
And then the Humble Bundle, we were in
the first Humble Bundle, which was kind of a
funny thing because we had met Wolfire,
you know, like David, and Jeff, and John.
They’d come down to Santa Cruz. They contacted
us, they were like, hey, we’re doing this
bundle thing. You know, do you
want to join in? And we were like, uh,
yeah, sure, like kind of just doing a favor
to them as like– But then it came out and
I think did over $1 million, I mean, total. So that was
pretty good, you know. We were set for a
little bit after that. – I was borrowing
money from them at that point. So they
were paying me initially, but then once I
started working on my own project with them, I
was borrowing money off the top,
and like, we were hoping to just make
enough money back. And it did get to a certain
point where it’s like, we gotta wrap this up
and release it because, you know, we’ve given you a
lot of money, and we need to make money back.
So we just kind of wrapped it up and
put it out. And it was done. [MUSIC PLAYING] We did work on a sequel
for a little bit. but, you know, with anything,
I think Alex had hit a low pocket. And it could
have been from the Gish stuff. It could have been
from the company split. It have have been from
a bunch of different things. But I think he was
getting burnt out. Maybe even burnt out working
with me. I don’t know. But I was still super
motivated. I wanted to keep moving forward, moving
forward. And it was around the time where,
like I mentioned, like all my friends were
becoming millionaires. Like all these games were
getting deals on Xbox Live and Playstation. And they
were literally making millions of dollars,
and I felt like there was no reason we couldn’t
be right the with them, you know, because Alex
had been making games for-fucking-ever. – You might have seen
that video of like this ball of particles, which
was pretty cool. But it wasn’t very
playable, like it was a lot harder
to figure out how to make that move around.
So I think at some point we decided, well,
let’s just make it kind of more like the
physics of Gish himself the same
as the original. But it was another
thing where, you know, it was just kind of
too ambitious, and– And we didn’t really
make it too far. At that point, Edmund had
started working with Tommy on Super Meat
Boy, and Tommy was actually living in our
office in Santa Cruz. And yeah, so it was
just one of those things where, yeah, Edmund
was working on that most of the time, and I
had some other games that I was working on.
So we just kind of, kind of drifted apart.
You know, we just had different projects.
It’s too bad that we didn’t finish that game,
’cause that was a pretty fun one. But it’s
pretty hard when you both have other projects
going on, too– Finishing a game is just
ridiculously hard. – There was a time, there
was a good two years, I think, when we were
working as Cryptic Sea at the office,
where I would come in and work for
at least seven hours. And then I would go home,
and I would eat dinner. And then I would do
contract work in order to pay the bills, ’cause I
just wasn’t making any money, and I was still having to
pay for half of the office rent. And then after I
did my contract work, I would work on
my own games, Because I was starting
to get sponsorships then, and I needed to do it.
And I think by 2007 I had compiled
a lot of flash games. A lot of flash games had been
released, and I decided I was going to put all
of my work on a disk and sell it as like
a compilation. And that was going to
be me just trying to put myself out and be like,
no, I made all these. I know you don’t know
all these games are connected, but I did all these games.
These are all my games. I really pushed it.
I pushed it like crazy, and it got in a bunch of
magazines. And I got a bunch of press,
and it was basically like, people were starting to look
at independent games again. And I started to get
noticed again, and I got contacted by
Cliffy B and, I forget his name, somebody who
worked on Bioshock. They both had bought
the disk, and they just wanted to say hey,
And I was like, this is an opportunity here.
Do you have a contact? Do you have a con–
I want to do a console game, like,
let me do a console game. And both of them hooked
me up with Kevin Hathaway from Xbox Live.
Eventually I got in touch with Dan Edelman from
Nintendo as well. They were both interested
in Gish stuff, and I wasn’t sure what
was going on with that. And Alex was
having a difficult time overall, and I think he
kind of hit a wall. And I decided, well, just
instead of doing a sequel, we’ll just remake Gish
for console. But it still wasn’t really
going anywhere, and he said he really could use
another programmer to help. So I was in touch with this
guy named Tommy Refenes. He came out to
help us, but it’s– After like a month there,
just we knew it wasn’t happening, and we
finally were like, I don’t– I don’t think this is
going to work, like– And I can’t risk
losing these deals. Like I need to do something
with this, because if I let go of this, then
it would all fall. And it’s very clear that
the Gish stuff isn’t going to happen, and we
kind of parted ways from that point,
and I ended up spinning the, and
saying, hey, well, there’s this game, a flash
game I made called Meat Boy. It’s been
pretty successful. How’ bout that? And they
were like, yeah, we just wanted to work with you.
It doesn’t matter what you’re working on.
Fuckin’ do whatever. I’m like, alright. That’s how that
whole transition happened. It was kind of a–
It was weird. It was a difficult thing for
all of us, I’m sure, but– DANNY: The rest is history. – Yeah. That’s how
it happened. DANNY: Why revisit
it now to make a new version of it, or to
put it out there physical? EDMUND: Well, it’s been,
I mean, it’s been 15 years. This year was the
anniversary, and not many people know
about it. Like people, when I say, hey, have you
played Gish, they think oh yeah, Gish from Binding
of Isaac, the boss. So yeah it’s pretty unknown
for the most part. Nobody, not many of
my fans, at least, have really played it,
so I want to– It would be really cool to
be able to be like, it’s still legit. It’s still–
You play it now, and it still looks pretty
good, sounds great, is very unique, and no
other game is really like it. Like I was pretty surprised
that people moved away from physics games
completely and stopped doing that, for the
most part And it’s kind of like,
well, I mean, I feel like it could still
stand on its own and kind of fixing it up
a little bit, and pushing it back out to
an audience that I think would be willing to play it,
especially on discount. [LAUGHING] I think it would be really
neat, and I have a lot of really fond memories of
just me working over here and Alex
working over there, listening to great music.
And every once in awhile, Alex will get up, and
we’ll just start shooting the shit, and playing
random games. Playing Street Fighter with him.
We’d play Street Fighter a lot. It just didn’t feel like–
It never felt like a job. It felt like just a
pocket of time, like it just removed me from
the world, and I was just stuck in this office
with this other guy, and we were working
on this thing. And it’s not about
anything other than that. There’s nothing getting in the
way, for the most part. It was just, we’re gonna
make this game, and we’re gonna release it.
Well, for the most part. And I am trying my
best to get back there. Like that’s all I want.
Like all I want is to get back to that place
where I don’t care anymore. Because I feel like that’s,
that’s the only way to make something like you don’t
just press A to jump. You know what I mean?
I think all the good artists out there, and I include
Alex in this– He is an artist, and his
personality is put into his work, and you can
see the things that he really admires and
the aesthetics that he likes, and I just,
I mean, I see his work and I can tell that it’s his,
you know what I mean? And I think that’s what
really being an independent developer is
always all about. It’s like putting yourself out there
and putting yourself into your work and then
showing people who you are in some way.
And that’s one– That’s one thing that’s–
That’s what Alex is all about. He’s just, he’s really
into making games. And he’s really into having fun,
even if it’s by himself playing his own game
forever. [LAUGHING] You know what I mean?
But he stays true to what he wants, and what
really makes him happy is definitely making games
and playing them. [MUSIC PLAYING] DANNY: Do you remember whose
decision it was to make the, uh, the ending?
[LAUGHS] Uh, the two endings
there were? – I think that was a
marriage of both. I think initially, it was like
you know, Brea would be hanging above lava,
and you could catch her. And I think it might have
been Alex’s idea well, why don’t we make
it so you drop her and there’s another ending?
So I wrote an ending where she burns to death in lava
and an ending where she’s safe. And those were all done
like in a day. Like it was like literally, we got
to finish this game. How does it end? There was no
planning of that at all prior to that. It was
like, let’s just do what’s funny. And we
were staying up for 24 hours. So this
stuff was really, really funny to us then. – I like the idea that
in the, like– I don’t know if I’d still
think it’s a good idea, ’cause I’ve had
some people like, the ending for that
is terrible, and it’s like, well, yeah maybe. You didn’t
grab your girlfriend. But yeah, that’s one of those
things that I guess I thought was funny
at the time. And, well, we all thought.
But Edmund did all the, all the artwork and stuff, and
I think he wrote the, I forget exactly what
it is. Something about lava awareness or
something if you fail. But yeah, that was just
one of those kind of I guess kind of a
inside joke that we probably should have
left inside. [DANNY LAUGHING] [MUSIC PLAYING] EDMUND: When I’m creating
a game, even when I’m sitting around and just
sketching something on paper that never
sees the light of day, I feel like a person,
and I feel happy. And I feel relevant
and useful. I feel like that’s what I,
in some way, was made to do, and I
serve a purpose in some way. So it
gives me a purpose. It makes me feel like
I’m doing something and lets me leave this
legacy behind. Being creative and making
games really makes me feel relevant and makes
me feel happy. And I’m not, it’s not
easy to make me happy. So I do what I can to
make sure I focus on things that make me happy
so I stay happy. And that’s why I’m
continuing to do it. [LAUGHING] [MUSIC PLAYING] DANNY: What do you think it’ll
be like for somebody playing Gish for the
first time? – I don’t know. I think it’ll
be interesting, like I think a lot of it
holds up pretty well. ‘Cause I don’t feel like
there’s anything– There’s been some games
that are kind of similar, but I still think it’s
pretty unique. DANNY: You going to keep
the ending the same? [LAUGHING] – Yeah, probably.