Tarifying - A Gish Q&A



Games involving tar balls have gained an immense popularity in the recent past and meanwhile no publisher could afford not having at least one such a title in their portfolio. The latest developer to jump on this bandwagon happens to be Chronic Logic, the crew behind the acclaimed Bridge Builder/Pontifex series. Gish, like most of the games by the company, has their physics engine running beneath it, upgraded with a 'blobular' component this time. We've had the chance to chat with Chronic Logic's Josiah Pisciotta and Edmund McMillen, creative force behind Gish. Read on if you want to know more about the lovely blob of tar, the side-scroller/puzzle mix itself and their future projects!

Q: First of all, it's been roughly 8 months since we chatted
last time. How have things been for Chronic Logic so far? Has the
partnership with Garage Games helped reach a wider audience?

Josiah: Chronic Logic has been very busy. We started the 2nd
half of last year by working on 3 games. We have since narrowed them
down to two projects, Gish and a golf game that we have been working on
with a company called Detective Brand. Gish will be released next week
and the Detective Brand Golf will be finished in a few months, like I
said we have been busy.

Working with Garage Games has been a very positive experience. They are a great group to work with. We have gained a good deal of exposure having Bridge Construction Set selling with Garage Games, and we look forward doing future games with them.

Q: In the previous interview you already hinted at Gish, which
is now set for a release later this week. How long has the game been in
the making altogether? And how many people were working on it?

Josiah: Gish has now been in development around 6 months. The first few months of work were part time as we were also working on other games, but since then we have had 2 people working on Gish pretty much full time.

Q: Gish seems to be a side-scroller with puzzle elements. How would you describe it and what will it specifically offer in terms of gameplay?

Josiah: Gish is like an old school side scroller with modern physics and lighting. The game play is based the interactions between Gish and his
environment which are all based on a dynamic physics engine. There is
no limit to the number of things Gish and try to do. Using his abilities he physically interacts with the world around him, bouncing, sticking to walks and ceilings. Tossing objects and creatures using his body. Squishing through small spaces, or crushing enemies with is body. Its really nothing like anything you have played, you have to try it to fully understand. The free demo will be release shortly after the game, so that everyone can give Gish a try.

Q: Which was first: the idea to make a side-scroller/jump'n run or the idea to make a game involving a 'blob'?

Edmund: I guess the side scroll aspect came into play first,
I'd been playing a lot of "old school" Nintendo games at the time and really wanted to make a 2d game, but I wanted to make something
different, that hadn't been done in 2d before, the main character being
a blob came minutes later.


Gish Gish

Q: The characters certainly have an interesting look. Who's responsible for the design? Was there any specific inspiration?

Edmund: I designed all the characters in Gish around a warped little world I'd been working on for a few years now, based around unique creatures that were both disturbing and cute at the same time. Most of my inspiration for the creatures came from a mixture of Ren and Stimpy and Pokemon.

Q: In what way can Gish interact with his environment and his enemies respectively?

Josiah: Being a ball of tar has several advantages. Gish can make his body sticky or slippery. This is great for climbing up walls or enemies, and sliding threw small spaces. Gish can expand his body rapidly, propelling himself away from whatever surface he is up against, this can be used to "bounce" or jump. Gish can also increase his body mass, allowing him to fall rapidly and smash things that get in his way.

Using combinations of these abilities Gish can interact in an almost endless number of ways with his environment and the enemies he encounters. Using his sticky ability Gish can "pick up" enemies or parts of his environment and toss them great distances by expanding his body. Gish can smash his enemies using his "heavy" ability and can even break parts of the world. These are just some of the many possibilities players will discover playing Gish.

Q: It's pretty clear where the physics come into play. Is the lighting important gameplay-wise as well?

Josiah: The lighting will also play a part in the game play. It will reveal secrets and put emphases on parts of the levels. It will also effect some of the creatures in the game. We have plans for many more lighting type puzzles and interactions, but they probably won't be in the first version.

Q: When you see Gish and look back at the 'brainstorming'-stage, is this the game you had in mind from the very first moment on or did you prototype and toyed around with the 'blob' and then added concepts that seemed to be fun and worked?

Edmund: When I originally came to Alex with the idea of this
"blob" game he didn't think it was a good idea. But once he threw his own style into the mix, things really started to pick up, in the end
the basic idea of how I wanted Gish to look was still there, just 1000
times better in every way.

Q: How exactly will the VS-Mode play like?

Josiah: The vs. modes are designed to be played by 2 people at the same computer, much like a console game. Each vs. mode has a different goal, but in each you are competing against the other player. Is Sumo vs. mode you are trying anything to get the other Gish off of a rotating platform. You can push, pull, bounce, smash or try just about anything to get the other Gish to fall. The first person in the water at the bottom loses. In Gish football you are trying to grab the foot ball and take it across the other players goal
line for a touchdown toss it through the uprights for a field goal.
These are just a couple of the vs. modes that will be included in the
full version.


Gish Gish

Q: As for the single player component, Gish offers a story and a collection mode. About how many levels is the player going to face?

Edmund: In story mode you are looking at a good 25+ levels spanning over 5 chapters in varying modes of difficulty. We are also hoping to pack the single player mode with 15+ collection levels and maybe some more hidden here and there for skilled players to unlock.

Q: Is it possible to create levels/puzzles or are there plans for an

Josiah: Currently the Editor is not really functional for public
usage, but it may be fixed up and release later in a patch or expansion

Q: Chronic Logic is currently working on Insurgency 2048, which,
I guess, is the shooter you've mentioned in the last Q&A. How far
is it in the development and when can we expect some more information
on the game? Same for Detective Brand.

Josiah: We worked on Insurgency 2048 for a good part of last year, but have currently put it on hold to concentrate on Gish and Detective Brand Golf. Detective Brand Golf is very far along and will be finished in a few months, and you can expect more information then. After both Gish and Golf are finished we will be going another update Bridge Construction Set, which will include a Mac OSX version. Then we will be evaluating what to do next.

Q: It isn't too farfetched to assume that Gish won't be the last game starring, well, Gish?

Edmund: We seriously have even scratched the surface of
what the Gish engine can do...

Gotcha. Thanks a lot for answering our questions!

Gish is available from today on. Look out for a demo of the game within the next days! More information on the game itself and order options can be found here. Don't forget to grab the Gish trailer there. The official Gish homepage, which is unfortunately a bit slow due to being Flash-driven, can be visited here. If you'd like to know more about Chronic Logic and the Bridge Builder series, check out that one interview with Josiah GWJ featured a while ago.

- Spunior


Once again, thanks for a marvelous interview.

* edit - it's too early to be typing

Great interview Spunior! Sounds like a very cool game. It's ironic that a smaller developer has far more interesting ideas than studios ten times its size.

(Edited for grammar)

Oh I thought you meant games involviong tarballs (as in *.tar).

So is there a demo? This sounds really interesting.

The gameplay video I saw looked really neat, even Karla was impressed! The way the blob thingy clings to stuff and does a bunch of wacky physics tricks is pretty intriguing.

I like the character design alot for this game!

yeah kinda Anima/teentitan-ish looking. Cute.