Q&A with Brainseed Factory, the studio behind Typoman.
Hi, my name is Bilal Chbib, founder of Brainseed Factory, a small indie studio in Germany. Typoman is a two dimensional puzzle-platformer distinguished by a very unique game world. As the name suggests it is conceptually rooted in typography. Letters in Typoman are simultaneously graphical flourishes, living characters, visual tools, storytelling devices and gameplay elements.
Unity: The Concept of Typoman sounds cool. What are some of the aspects of the game that you feel stand out from others in the puzzle-platforming genre?
BC: We believe that Typoman is a very rare fusion of aesthetics and gameplay. You play a small, fragile character (which is made of the letters H-E-R-O) who is trapped in a hostile world full of traps and monsters. But despite your small stature you have a powerful ability: You can alter your environment by creating, changing or destroying words. You can create the word DOWN to lower a gate that is blocking your way, overcome a deadly TRAP by adding the letter S to it - which will actually STRAP it. The word HATE will turn into a monster that wants to rip your head off... the word GAS will suffocate you - unless you find a way to change its lethal meaning - and so on - lots of things to discover!
Unity: Why did you choose words as the basis of your game and how did you know you wanted to make a game out of it?
BC: Most people don’t realize the unlimited potency words have. They can be powerful or sharp as a sword. They can make us feel weak or strong. They can bring out the best in us - or the worst. Wrong and evil words can lead to tyranny and create monsters. To defy these monsters you need words of goodness and virtue.
Typoman is about this everlasting conflict between good and evil, Typoman is about the power of words.
Typoman is a homage to the "HERO with a pen”, to writers who devoted their writing abilities to truth and freedom in times of oppression and tyranny.
Unity: Did the concept for Typoman stay consistant to the end or did you start with something that transformed into something entirely different?
BC: The initial idea was to combine typography & language with gameplay in an arcadish game, to have enemies and objects be shaped solely out of letters. But after experimenting with concept arts, character design and gameplay mechanics we quickly saw that we really had something at hand that was truly unique. Having the main character standing next to letters that are scattered around in the game world which can be interacted with by pulling, pushing and throwing them evoked so much curiosity. We all had a feeling that this can really become a fun game. So the initial idea evolved into various ideas for word puzzles and an underlying story. But I knew that to elaborate on the concept and to create a full fledged game design document we needed more time - and money. So I successfully applied for a governmental funded, interest-free loan and the way was paved for the making of Typoman.
Unity: What personal experience or experiences helped shape the idea for Typoman?
BC: Typoman is a team achievement. It was very important for me that everyone in our team brings in his own perspective and passion to the game. The inspiration came from different sources. Some of them knowingly, others subconsciously. There are of course those indie games we all know and love like LIMBO, Braid or Scribblenauts which were undoubtedly a source of inspiration. I am sure that my own roots must have also had an influence in adhering to the concept and the premise of the game ...and keeping the project alive despite various setbacks! My father is a Syrian journalist and a writer who devoted his writing abilities for decades now to fight against an oppressive regime. He was forced to stay away from his home country, his family and his friends just because a ruthless tyrant was after him... because of the fear they have towards those who know how to use the power of words!
Typoman released today and is available on WiiU eShop. Click below to read more about the game and developer!