PAX East 11: Behemoth Interview, BattleBlock Theater Preview
Hey. Hey, you. Do you like the internet? Of course you do! That means chances are you’ve stumbled upon Newgrounds. Whether you’ve just discovered it now in its more respectable, artisticly driven form or remember the good old days of killing flash-based celebrities and working WAY too hard for a poorly drawn picture of a naked anime girl, you’ve watched something on Newgrounds and enjoyed it. I’ve been a fan of the site for years so it was a pleasure to sit down with its creator Tom Fulp to talk about the new Behemoth game, BattleBlock Theater. Check out the interview and my impressions after the jump.
So I was pretty excited to meet Tom Fulp, but you know what else was awesome? As you can see in the video, the BattleBlock Theater kiosks were giant two-player arcade cabinets like the 4-player Castle Crashers cab they’ve been lugging around to cons for the last couple years. Of course, I needed someone else to play with if I were to get an accurate preview of the game so who should join me? Why it was Behemoth co-creator (along with Fulp) and artist for Alien Hominid, Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theater, Dan Paladin! Paladin has also been an inspiration to me artistically and in terms of believing a small company with good ideas can play with the big boys.
If you’re familiar with the minigame included with the retail copy of 2004’s Alien Hominid, PDA Games (you aren’t), then BattleBlock Theater will seem very familiar. Building on PDA Games’ heavily co-op based gameplay, BBT is a 1-4 player platformer based around getting from point A to point B, all the while avoiding pitfalls, spikes, enemies and dangerous waters. The gameplay seems fairly basic on the surface, but will suck you in immediately. Much like Castle Crashers, players will use different unlockable weapons and find affectations to customize their avatar’s appearance, but the controls feel more like Alien Hominid.
Players can help or hinder their companions with different actions for specific situations. If Player 1 is standing on a ledge, he can reach down to help up Player 2, who can then toss Player 1 to an even higher ledge. This works both ways as players can screw each other over by attacking them or throwing them into dangerous situations. Sadly PDA Games‘ customizable levels didn’t make it to this title, but there are plenty of other references to past Behemoth titles to keep fans happy. I saw an enemy wearing the same sunglasses and earpiece as the villains of Alien Hominid, and Mr. Fulp assured me there were plenty of other little hints and in-jokes.
I’ve been a fan of The Behemoth since Alien Hominid was just a flash game on the aforementioned Newgrounds and can’t wait for this title.