Interview: Bedtime Digital Games Talks Figment

Posted on by Ryan

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When we first saw Figment’s reveal trailer, we instantly knew the game was special. Maybe it was the art style, the flying apple, or the lullaby music. Everything about Figment can be described in just one word: Special. So when we got the chance to sit down with Emilee Maval of Bedtime Digital Games, we just had to dive deeper into the magical world of Figment.

 

Gaming Conviction:What are some of the inspirations for Figment?
Emilee Marvel: We need to go a few years back to answer this question, when the team was working on Back to Bed. One feedback came back a lot: players really enjoyed the surreal mix of dream and reality from the game, but they wanted to explore that kind of setting even more, instead of just going through a series of fixed level. Figment is thus an evolution of our previous game, and has the same roots in surreal/dream-like artists and work (like Dali, Magritte or Bosch). Gameplay wise, we wanted an adventure that mixed action, exploration and puzzle: some of our inspiration came from Bastion from Supergiant Games or The Legend of Zelda for example.

GC:What inspired the art style?
EM:As mentioned above, we have been inspired by surrealist artists like Dali or Bosch and tried to implement those (sometimes grimy) inspirations into a comedic, dream-like setting.

GC:How has your past experiences developing Chronology and Back To Bed affected the development process of Figment?
EM:The key lesson we learned is that a game is more than the sum of its parts. You have to look at game, visual and audio design as elements that work together and strengthen each other. Sometimes one it a bit more important in certain games or levels, but you must never forget one of them. Letting them inspire each other often creates a better game. We also now have a broader understanding of how players consume games. Getting all the feedback from our previous games have provided us a lot of knowledge about how people look at games, what can attract them and what surprises them. It important to not only make games for yourself, but instead making them for the players. We also, of course, have  a much better appreciation of planning ahead and making solid pre-productions  You learn of lot of small tricks here and there and constantly become better. Figment’s production also taught us a lot of new things that will help us in the future.

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GC: Since Figment is in development for major consoles as well as Steam, will we see it on Xbox One and will it utilize the 4K capabilities of Xbox One X?
EM: We do plan on releasing Figment on Xbox One in the future, but are currently very focused on the PC version. We’ll need to have another interview later this year to talk about the console versions in more details!

GC: Who are Dusty and Piper?
EM: Dusty and Piper are the main characters of the game. As you may know, Figment is set inside the mind of someone, and all the game’s characters are inhabitants of this mind.

Dusty is the former voice of courage. Why former? As the game is set inside an adult’s mind, courage isn’t needed as much (if not at all) in the day to day life of said adult – Dusty was thus forced to retire and became a bitter and grumpy character.

On the other hand, Piper is the mind’s optimism – she has a positive view on life and try to makes the best out of every situation. She’s the one that asks Dusty, in the beginning of the game, to help fight the Nightmares roaming around the mind.

They will both work hand in hand (or, well, wing in hand) to free the mind from the Nightmares poisoning the mind.

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GC: Who is the Plague Man?
EM: The Plague is one of the numerous Nightmares that invaded the mind. He represents the fear of sickness and germs, and settled in Freedom Isles, the creative part of the mind, that he now pollutes with gas clouds.

GC:Is Plague Man’s design inspired by Spy vs Spy?
EM: Not at all! As the Plague represents fear of sickness, his design was inspired mainly by the Plague Doctors from the 17th and 18th centuries (and their depictions in fantastic/horror stories). We took those inspirations and reworked them in a more comedic way.

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GC: What are some of the worlds we will explore?
EM: Figment will allow the player to explore various areas of the mind: some close to the conscious mind, some pretty far from it, some abstract, some closer to reality… You can read more about this on our devblog: https://www.bedtime.io/single-post/2016/10/28/Figment-Dev-Blog5—How-to-Design-a-Mind

GC:Who came up with the idea to have teeth fall from the sky?
EM: The scene you’re talking of is in one of the first area you explore in the game, Freedom Isles. As it is invaded by the Plague, which embodies the fear of sickness, we had a lot of talk around fears related to health. Being afraid of the dentist is pretty common, so the idea to play around this fear (and teeth) came naturally to the team and stayed.

GC: How much a role does music play throughout the game?
EM: The games we worked previously on gave us a better sense of the value in good audio and music – especially in the sense that it can be used to tell stories, set moods and give depth to the game’s setting. Music is thus everywhere in Figment. The environment literally plays music, the boss battles are musicals, there are puzzles based on music to solve… It is part of Figment’s core, and we can’t imagine the game without it.

GC: Where can our readers keep up with Figment?
EM: You can find us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/figmentthegame/) and twitter (https://twitter.com/BedtimeDG)! We also have a newsletter you can subscribe to on Figment’s official website: https://www.figmentgame.com/