Godheads and Other Stories
Spanish indie studio Titutitech with help from the Square Enix Collective have turned it into a local multiplayer game that has more in common with Towerfall than an FPS, or the stately turn-based game I played against the AI when I was young.
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Sometimes the godheads turn on you as you race back to your base Zeus blasts lightning, Bastet reverses your controls. Your opponents, which may include a skeleton and a fancy penguin in a top hat, can collect weapons like exploding pies or a foot that summons a giant leg from the sky to stomp everyone. The levels are temples in exotic locations that look like places Indiana Jones is about to swing through. Oh My Godheads is very over-the-top and while I didn't have as much fun playing it solo I did with that DOS shareware game, as soon as I convinced someone else to join me it turned into the kind of messy brawl that, like Gang Beasts or BattleBlock Theater, has you shouting at the screen.
I talked to developer Federico Sauret about the origins of Oh My Godheads, and why it has giant feet as well as heads. We were carrying trophies here and there and when our artist started to sketch ideas, I don't know why, he decided to put eyes on the trophy. Then we thought, "Hey, how about the trophy plays against you and is evil and after a while carrying the trophy it will eat you?
We decided because it was working, it was fun, we decided to have different ones. The gods having different effects is interesting. Bastet is the one I hate—I hate having my controls reversed. Now most of them are against you, but originally we wanted to have half of the gods evil, half of them good, so you will sometimes gain an advantage when you carry the god. We realized through playtests and especially going to game shows that people loved when they were getting screwed. The harder it was, the more they laughed.
Even the people carrying them. We always start teaching the game with Bastet. Talk to me about the power-ups. They have a lot of personality too, the foot especially. Everything we did, including the heads, we say is "play-centric design. If it's not, remove it, then keep going. We had hundreds of ideas for gods and for items, and kept trying, kept trying, always trying to do something funny.
At some point we were really ambitious, probably over-ambitious, and we wanted the game to have big gods over there doing things and all that. We designed the leg to be there as, I don't know, the leg of Zeus? It's especially funny when people don't know that it's there and then all of a sudden a giant leg will appear. What makes it especially funny to me is it reminds me of the Monty Python foot. You mentioned taking the game to shows—it does seem like the kind of game that would go down well at a convention. What's the reaction been? Reaction is really good.
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Actually for us it's been the key element for this game to be able to go to shows—thanks to Square Enix we could go to many, also we went to others on our own—and see people playing. We could develop a lot of the game based on their reaction to things. See where they were having problems, what type of heads were fun or not and so on. It was also really good for us in terms of raising our energy, because we are only four people on the team working on this game.
We are putting in a lot of hours, always focused on the thing. Being able to go out and see people playing and reacting to the game—usually people laughing and shouting, sometimes insulting each other. We are still learning new ways of playing. What surprised us a little is that even parents will enjoy with their kids. In shows especially you get a lot of teenagers that go together or kids can go with their parents. Often it was like one parent and one kid, the kid wanted to play, the father or the mother didn't want to play.
We convinced them to play, tell them it's easy and you're gonna get it. They do and they have fun, and they end laughing and with a smile. It's really, I don't know how to say the English, but it's really making us happy to see that. We actually came up with this idea because we were already playing a lot of local multiplayer games, even sometimes gathering with other friends and playing super old games, like Nintendo 64 multiplayer games.
When Towerfall or Nidhogg came out we saw it was possible to do a multiplayer game nowadays and to make it your project as an indie. That gave us the courage to say, "OK. Let's do it. This anthology contains six short stories about weirdness and horror, and how life changes when weird things become normal in your eyes. He's too tired to question it, and too worried that his girlfriend might dump him at the end of this trip - but when it keeps happening, what's he going to do about it?
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What's a man supposed to do when his day starts like that? But when a creature exists only in your memories, how are you supposed to fight it - and how can you trust what you learn about it? The results were Is there time to make it to the Rapture and still get to the RSL in time for the bingo specials? But Diane's too angry to have fun tonight - and convinced that something strange and dangerous threatens not just her relationship but reality itself.
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