Welcome to another fantastic edition of Playism’s Developer Spotlight! This month, we turn our focus to the West and to Europe to chat up Bossa Studios, the eclectic and enigmatic creators of I Am Bread (and other wonderful titles!). Please join us as we get cozy with these pastry folk and enjoy the amazingly odd photos they shared!
Hi Bossa Studios Thank you for talking with us today. To start with, could you please introduce yourself?
Hi everyone, I’m Luke Williams, Lead Designer on I am Bread at Bossa Studios.
At the moment, how many people are in your studio?
There’s about 35+people at the studio at the moment. We still have some plans for I am Bread in 2016 even after releasing a number of updates in 2015 – Team Fortress 2, Starch Wars and GoatBread!
However, most of us (including myself) are working on Worlds Adrift, our upcoming exploration/crafting/survival MMO.
Could you tell us a little about how Bossa Studios was formed?
Bossa was founded in 2010 and released its first game Monstermind on Facebook to critical acclaim. It won a BAFTA in 2012!
However things really got interesting in 2013 when Bossa took part in the Global Game Jam. [Editor’s note: in his excitement, Luke forgot to say what they made: Surgeon Simulator] The prototype was developed in just 48hrs. When videos of this were shared online the response was massive and viral!
The game went on to sell 2.5 Million copies across PC / Mac, PS4, iOS and Google Play. We also released an updated version with extra content – an Alien Autopsy and a Team Fortress 2 surgery as we’re huge fans of that game!
That success and our studio philosophy of using physics in interesting is what lead on to I am Bread.
What lead you on the path to making indie games?
I studied Computer Games Design at University at a time where there were barely any courses on it, so I picked the nearest one to me. That’s where I met Mike Bithell (Thomas Was Alone, Volume) who eventually joined a new start-up in 2010 called Bossa Studios in London. I simply asked if they needed QA testers since I’d be working at Sega in that role and got the job! After a year I was promoted to designer and Surgeon Simulator happened a few months later!
You have worked on “Surgeon Simulator” and “I am Bread”, which are very unique. Is there any specific concepts for your game design?
The premise has to have a nice clear goal like with Surgeon Simulator in which you’d have to complete a heart transplant. There is an inherent understanding there so we don’t have to tell the player the instructions because it’s a heart transplant. You remove the heart and put a new one in and in the same way we say “become toast”. Everyone knows to move the bread to somewhere hot. That was a nice jumping point for me as, in a game sense, we could put the bread anywhere and you’ve got a level.
The other side of that was if I was controlling a slice of bread how would it move, how is it going to move around? That was an interesting challenge. In the same way with Surgeon’s “how would I control a hand and an arm?” It was the same approach here. How would I control it? How would I control bread if it had to move? We went with controlling the corners.
What was the idea that lead you to create I am Bread?
I don’t have an answer yet, but… [laughs]…essentially I wanted to approach something that’s an interesting challenge to control, because I always think of something I’d want to be… and then try and think of the controls from there. Rather than, ‘Oh, we’ll start with a control stick and a jump button’. So I found the idea of a being a slice a bread who wanted to become toast quite easy for the player to kind of [laughs] get their heads around. It’s an easy to establish goal in every environment. You just want to become toast. So it’s really simple for the player to understand.
Do you have a Japanese Indie Game that you love?
Half Minute Hero! The whole idea of speed running through the classic RPG tropes in 30 seconds is fantastic. The tone of the game is hilarious too, and humour is something we at Bossa appreciate!
I think people have been really waiting for a Japanese version of I am Bread. What lead you to decided to release I am Bread in Japanese?
It’s really down to the fans in Japan. When we released Bread the response was incredible. It got great coverage in press, NicoNico, and fans loved the surreal premise of the game. This really made us pay attention and so we decided to localise the game and do everything we can to support our Japanese release. We’re still learning in this regard, but it’s amazing to see people enjoy the game hundreds of miles from our small office in London. I mean we even had people stream the game for 24hrs! That’s incredible!
Do you have a message for the Japanese I am Bread fans?
Thank you all for supporting I am Bread! We are delighted that you find the idea of a living piece of bread as hilarious as we do! Now go get toasted!
A huge thanks to Luke and everyone hard at work at Bossa Studios! Be sure to check out I Am Bread here on Playism, and keep your eyes to the skies for the upcoming Worlds Adrift!