John Baez doesn't want Asteroid Base's money. It's as if the three men who make up the studio are old friends of Baez's, and on this day they just happen to be patrons of his business. Their money is no good here.
They are not old friends, though. Baez, president and co-founder of indie game studio The Behemoth, only first met the members of Asteroid Base during PAX Prime of 2013. He noticed their still-in-production game Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime had picked up a few awards and had a certain individuality to it. Lovers has a way of causing onlookers to gravitate towards it that's not entirely unlike the way the game's pink Death Star has a penchant for attracting the attention of enemy spaceships.
In the game, a pair of benevolent astronauts pilot a neon spacecraft around the universe, wishing only to survive. But then something catches their eyes, something they can't ignore. A group of evil robots known as "The Haters" have ensnared innocent bunnies and locked them away in jail. The astronauts refuse to stand idly by while innocent creatures suffer, so they show some initiative, scrambling around the bowels of their craft and tinkering away at control stations that unleash firepower of a magnitude that they can only hope The Haters are unable to repel. Despite the protagonists' violent response, Asteroid Base sees the titular lovers as good Samaritans. The pair have somehow survived this long on their own out in the frightening yet awe-inspiring uncertainty that is space, even managing to thrive in it without any support from large, external entities. Now they want to help other space-faring beings like them do the same.
The Behemoth knows the feeling. Founded in 2003, the San Diego studio responsible for such hits as Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers chose to go it alone in another dangerous environment. The developer released its games sans publisher in the competitive console gaming space. The Behemoth found success, but it wasn't easy doing it through self-funding — Baez mortgaged his house, and co-founder Tom Fulp kicked in some of his personal savings to help finance development in the early days. But they did it, and they were successful enough that they're now in a position of strength.
A few years ago, Baez and Company used that strength to quietly start something called The Gold Egg Project. Gold Egg is a funding initiative meant to help other indies bring their games to market, but unlike a traditional publisher, The Behemoth doesn't take any of its beneficiaries' profits — it only wants to help them. Now The Behemoth is helping Asteroid Base, and Baez hopes the studio will one day pass it on.
For almost as long as there has been game design there have been independent game designers. The term "indie," while well-established today, is newer. It means something; it's just that no one seems to be able to agree upon exactly what that something is. So it was for The Behemoth back in 2005 when the tenderfoot studio's Alien Hominid was winning Independent Game Festival Awards for Innovation in Art, Technical Excellence and Audience Choice.
Baez recalls of that time that "there was a lot of controversy [as to] whether we were indie or not, solely because we were on a console. Other developers said, ‘You can’t be indie because you’re on a console.’ And it’s like, ‘Well, we’re indie because we funded it.’ Now that’s our definition of indie."
The Behemoth has revealed the first trailer for their fourth game, temporarily titled Game 4. The studio's previous works inclue Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theater. You can see the trailer for Game 4 embedded below.
The Behemoth's announcing blog post reads: "Shortly before the release of BattleBlock Theater we started working on something new. We schemed up a bunch of concepts and picked our strongest one. From there we fleshed out the lone survivor prototype!!! As it grew stronger and stronger, we polished it, furnished it with delights, and added (gluten free?) sprinkles. Yes, as the chicken dictates, this game is of a genre we haven’t covered before and seek to breathe a new flavor into. Maybe you can find a hint in the video below about which genre it is??"
The Behemoth will be unveiling a life-sized goodie from Game 4 at the Rooster Teeth Expo this year, seen above. The treat looks quite fantastic especially for a life-sized cupcake and …
Happy Wars developer Toylogic Inc. has announced that a Castle Crashers event is happening from now until April 23rd. Simply by playing the Bounty Hunters mode, you'll be able …
The independent developer who brought XBLA gamers BattleBlock Theater, Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers has announced that, in addition to game development, it has two other ways it hopes will result in the best indie games possible making it "from conception to physical reality in the industry." The Behemoth is now providing quality assurance and usability testing and what it describes as "no strings attached" funding for external indie developers.
Its testing lab, which the Sand Diego developer previously talked to XBLA Fans about at PAX East 2013, has been dubbed The Research Centaur and is said to staff testers with an average of six and a half years worth of experience in game testing. When he spoke of the testing center last year, The Behemoth President John Baez told us that it started as a purely internal department. Things went so swimmingly when testing BattleBlock Theater, though, that the developer decided to begin offering its testing services to external indie studios.
"I mean, one of the things we’ve done to kind of contribute to that [indie developer survivability] is we built a usability lab for Battleblock Theater, which has gone really, really well," Baez said last year at PAX East. "It’s about a year old, and it’s only internal, and now we’ve opened it up. Well, there’s that and a QA department — very small, four people — but they’re very, very good at what they do. And now we’re beginning to open that up to other developers. So Bastion for all of iOS, we tested [it] and certified [it] to make sure that [Supergiant's] game was good.
"So we’re opening that up to independent developers as a resource so they don’t have to go — I mean it’s not any cheaper than going to a big, gigantic test firm — but you’ll get the absolute attention to detail."
Microsoft has announced that over 200 developers are working on titles for the Xbox One via its ID@Xbox initiative and has released the names of 65 of these developers that are joining the 32 developers they already announced back in December.
Some of the highlights in the list include The Behemoth, developers of the extremely popular Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theater; Playdead, the developers of eerie XBLA title LIMBO; Ska Studios, the team behind the beautifully violent games Charlie Murder and The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile; Warhorse Studios, the developers behind the highly successful Kickstarter Kingdom Come: Deliverance; and Zoë Mode, the developers of Powerstar Golf.