You may have heard of Treefall Studios before - the development team led by Eli Brewer released several games on Nintendo's Wii U platform, including Maze, The Perplexing Orb, and Journey of a Special Average Balloon.
More recently, Maze, The Perplexing Orb, and 3D platformer Pitterpot have made their way to PlayStation 4. Hot off of Maze releasing as their debut on Steam, we were pleased to catch up with Eli from Treefall Studios as he continues work on new releases for PlayStation 4 and PC.
641. - I guess I'll start with Maze, heading to Steam for the first time. I know since the Wii U days, you've expanded to PS4 with PitterPot and The Perplexing Orb - but this is your first Steam release! What's that experience like?
Eli - It was definitely a new experience for me. It is interesting, most game developers start off developing games for PC, and then move to console development after that. I did the opposite, I started with console development and then branched out to PC development. It was different because I am not much of a PC gamer, so there were many things that were new to me. Getting everything to work fluidly with the mouse and keyboard was a new experience for me, as I find playing games that way feels a little unnatural, I would rather use a controller. As time went on while developing this project however, I did come to find a few instances where I thought a mouse and keyboard were really useful, and I can definitely see the appeal for people. This game utilizes both mouse, and controller support.
Once I figured out how to get the controls working smoothly, learning the porting process to Steam was much like any other experience I have had on consoles. Once you figure out the way things are done, and after you get through it once or twice, it becomes a much smoother ride on future game entries to the platform.
641. - What are some things you would highlight about Maze? Both for new players, and also for returning players from the Wii U version?
Eli - Maze is one of my personal favorite games, it is simple in it's premise but it is still largely unique in how the game is actually played. It is played in first person with your character being dropped in fully 3D mazes. This version has quite a few upgrades that differ from the Wii U version. The Ps4/PC version comes with redesigned levels, all new levels, a brand new arcade stage, redone cut scenes, a new title screen, all new menus, and new features, such as the marker flag system.
On top of all that, the overall quality of the graphics have been vastly improved. As we are no longer bound to the Wii U, we have added real time reflections in certain surfaces, post processing effects, and better overall lighting and shadows. Whether you are trying out the game for the first time, or are a returning player from the Wii U days, now is a perfect time to jump into the Maze franchise from TreeFall Studios.
641. - Another franchise that is no longer tied to the Wii U is The Perplexing Orb, with its PS4 release recently and a newly announced sequel! How’s that coming and what new features should we be looking out for?
Eli - The Perplexing Orb 2 is one of my favorite projects I have ever worked on, and it is definitely our most polished release so far. It has loads of new features, mainly in the new abilities given to the character. The first ability is to shrink/grow. The entire first world is designed around this aspect, it creates many new types of puzzles that change up the game play a ton.
The second ability is the Orb's ability to cling to, and jump from magnets. Think Metroid Prime Spiderball, and that is a similar idea. World 2 is based off of this ability. You can cling to magnets, ride them as they float through the air, and jump off at the right times to land onto platforms or even more moving magnets!
It is quite a blast even on the trickier levels! The new next few worlds also contain new features, not to the character but to the stages themselves. World 3 contains new challenges with falling platforms, and World 4 contains new challenges revolving around tilting platforms. Overall the game features new abilities, new challenges, all new levels with more detailed graphics, and new game modes! It is jam packed with content for TreeFall Fans and I am super excited to share it with everyone really soon!
641. - Anything else you’d like to say to anyone new who’s interested in one of your titles?
Eli - The overall statement I would have to people interested in TreeFall titles is, I strive to make each and every title unique and better than the last. Everything is a learning experience for me and I try my best to craft experiences for people who enjoy playing games. If you try any TreeFall title I hope you enjoy it!!