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March 23, 2013

PAX East 2013: Tiny developer delivers big co-op fun with Tiny Brains

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Written by: Sam Dixon
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HiRez_TinyBrains

Multiplayer has always been important to games, and with the increase in online access, gamers have been more connected than ever before. However, these social interactions are often over the internet with each individual alone in their own home. Spearhead Games, a new developer from Montreal, is looking to change that and put personal interaction back into social interactions. 

“Our main inspiration was us and a couple of friends wanting to do something in an evening and  there were very few games that filled our need to play co-op together on a couch,” said Simon Darveau, co-founder and producer at Spearhead Games. “That experience of playing together with friends and collaborating together, having actual teamwork and talking together is very unique and very strong.”

Spearhead’s inspiration has created Tiny Brains, a 4-player co-op action-puzzler about the experiments of a scientist on four different lab animals. Together players must solve puzzles using the animals’ different physics based abilities. Players will take control of a hamster with the ability to create movable blocks, a mouse with the ability to teleport/switch positions with objects, a rabbit who’s capable of pulling objects towards him and a bat-rat who is able to push objects away. Players must learn how to use these powers together in order to be able to progress through the game.

TinyBrains_CharacterArt 

Online will be available for the game, but it’s the face to face communication that Spearhead is hoping players will use to solve these puzzles. During Tiny Brains’ PAX East demo, players would often start off quiet, not really willing to communicate to one another. But after the first puzzle, players needed to know what every character’s ability was to start solving the problem. This forced open communication between players, breaking the silence and almost always getting players out of their shell, joking and communicating in a friendly team oriented way.

Players will be able to play through the game alone, using a unique character that will be able to wield all of the other animals powers. The game can also be played with less than 4 people, allowing players to switch between the different characters to use the abilities required for each puzzle.

Development for the game started in September and is currently planned to be released sometime this summer. A game developed this quickly might make some weary, but it shouldn’t. Every member of the team left their jobs at big name developers like Ubisoft and EA to form Spearhead Games and to develop in the way they saw best.

Screenshot_TinyBrains_02 

“We work very organically,” said Darveau. “We don’t use design documents or anything like that. They add a lot of rigidness when developing because once something is written you have to stick to it.”

Spearhead Games is currently courting publishers for Tiny Brains and plans to release the game this summer for PC and hopefully home consoles.



About the Author

Sam Dixon
Sam Dixon is a Contributing Editor at SideQuesting. He's a king of Indies, and also a very snappy dresser.




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