We’ll be working on a review for GORSD, so I got in touch with James Barnard to talk a bit about the game. Come check it out!
PS4Blog: Hi James! Thank you for joining us this morning. How are things on your end?
Hi, we are good! I have been working on our next game, in between sessions of trying to beat GORSD on every platform! Usually, after shipping a game, I don’t really want to play it that much, but I have been playing this one a lot.
PS4B: You’re getting ready for the release of GORSD on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. What can you tell us about this game?
GORSD is a game of speed, tactics, and skill, it has things in common with games like Bomberman, PacMan, Qix, and Splatoon, but it’s also nothing like any of those games. The whole game has a somewhat unexpected narrative, it’s there – but you have to figure it out… if we tell the story too directly, then it would lose its mystery, so you can kind of see what’s happening in the environments and from the things the “GORSD” themselves say to you.
The GORSD are the Gods of this universe, and the reason every letter is capitalized is just another aspect of the mystery! The core mechanics of the game are actually directly inspired by an Atari 2600 game called Slot Racers – the creator of the game said he didn’t think it was very good! While we think our game is fresh and unique to play, which maybe goes to show that it’s not the idea, but the execution that can make a game fun to play.
PS4B: How long did it take to develop GORSD for its console debut? Were there any particular hurdles or challenges you had to overcome?
I started GORSD back in 2017 at the global game jam. The original version was multiplayer only, but it was a lot of fun, so we kept on working at it. Making games is not a hobby, as we need to keep five people with full-time salaries, so we don’t get the luxury of just making things we like for the sake of it. In the case of GORSD, it’s pretty tough to make a commercial argument for the game! We showed it to publishers from Devolver to Humble, and generally, people just thought it was too weird. Usually, companies need something to compare a game to so they can kind of guess how it will do financially, there really isn’t anything quite like GORSD out there, so it’s virtually impossible to get a good idea of how popular it can be.
It was always planned for the Nintendo Switch first and foremost, and we actually had it running on the console back in 2018. We hit some issues with the framerate, which were a bit painful to fix, but other than that, the development was pretty smooth. If I am honest, the constant feeling that “it’s too weird for people” both excited me and terrified me. I would often imagine that the game will only sell 50 copies, and the people just won’t get what we are trying to make! Self-doubt can really impact your ability to deliver a game, and despite us loving what we were building, and it going over really well at public game shows, it was still hard at times to prioritize getting the game finished.
When I play the game, I am proud of so many small things in it, from the super creepy looking GORSD characters (the goat with lipstick is genuinely frightening to some people!) drawn by Cindy, Yvonne, and Shuyun, to the fast, just one more go gameplay. I also think the soundtrack pulls the mood of the game into focus (it helps that I like writing unsettling music!).
PS4B: You’ve now released a nice variety of games in a wide range of genres, so I was wondering if you were perhaps considering working with a physical games publisher to get a Springloaded Collection going on Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 4.
Well – GORSD is actually getting a limited physical release in Asia on PS4 and Switch. Usually, the physical versions of digital games are just the same game stuck on a cartridge, but in the case of GORSD, we are releasing the “Dominus Edition,” which includes a whole extra pile of content, where you can explore more of the world and discover a bit more about the game’s development.
This version won’t be out until later in the year, and it will be published by the relatively new label Leoful. It’s currently looking like it will be fairly limited (3,000 on Nintendo -switch and only 1,000 PS4!), so keep an eye out if you are interested in getting hold of it.
As for the idea of a collection, it is something we have discussed, and if we do it, it will be another example of us doing something with a bunch of exclusive content only available in the physical release. I sometimes play music in a punk rock band and grew up releasing albums and collecting records. The explosion in boutique physical publishers is really exciting to me, as it makes the games feel special, in the same way that a picture disc 7″ single or special edition Gatefold LP made you feel like you have something that connects you to the music you really love.
Oh – and for GORSD’s booklet, we have something extra special planned!
PS4B: And that’s all the time we have for today. Is there something else you’d like to add before we go?
Thanks for the interview, and to anyone reading, come and join our discord, we have a pile of games in different stages of development and really love to hear what people think as we try to make the best games we possibly can. Please give GORSD a try when it comes out this week, and if you like it, play it in 4 player mode with your friends!