Interviews Xbox

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood Q&A – The Magic Marker Meets The Xbox One

Today marks the official release date of Press Play’s 2.5D side-scrolling platformer Max: The Curse of Brotherhood on the Xbox One. The Curse of Brotherhood is best described as a cinematic adventure filled with action-packed puzzles and problems to solve. The game is also being referred to as a spiritual successor to the studio’s 2010 release Max and The Magic Marker.

Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to exchange emails with Lead Environment Artist Robert Friis and asked him a few hard-hitting questions about the game. Feel free to check out the launch trailer above and the in-depth details below to see firsthand why Max: The Curse of Brotherhood may be worth your time and your money.

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What other games did you take inspiration and ideas from when making Max: The Curse of Brotherhood?
Robert Friis: Back when we were hammering out the initial idea for the game, good ol’ Heart of Darkness came up a lot as an inspiration. While we haven’t tried to emulate their gameplay, we’ve always loved that special kind of oppressive atmosphere that game had. Another World and more modern puzzle platformers like Braid and Trine of course also played a role.
Do you have other stories and ideas in the pipeline beyond The Curse of Brotherhood that you would like to tell? If so, how far do you see this franchise extending?
Robert Friis: While nothing is official or even planned, I very much doubt we’ve seen the last of Max and his Magic Marker. It’s a setup that allows us a lot of freedom and the franchise could really spin off in most any direction if needed. Since we’re not bound by having to be realistic or to use any specific setting, we’re pretty much free to do whatever we feel like.
What challenges did you face if any when developing Max: The Curse of Brotherhood for the Xbox One?
Robert Friis: Plenty of challenges for sure. Chief among them would probably be the fact that when we set out to make Max:TCoB, we were all still relatively inexperienced – this is by far our most ambitious project to date. That meant we had to figure out a lot of stuff while in production. Proper pipelines, development of tools, all kinds of thing had to pretty much be made from scratch. And we find ourselves in a completely different place now that the game is finally done. The whole team is glowing with an altogether greater degree of confidence in their skill now.
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What central themes are explored within The Curse of Brotherhood and how do you intend to make them appeal to both kids and adults?
Robert Friis: We set out to make Max:TCoB with the express purpose of making you care, so to speak. Through a rash mistake of his own, Max manages to get his kid brother Felix kidnapped by the evil Mustacho, and we really wanted the player to feel Max’s regret and anger as you play. Despite how annoying Felix can feel to Max at home, they still love each other as brothers do. And on a sidenote to all this, I think we’ve managed to make a really good villain out of Mustacho. I’m quite proud of him, and really hope we get to make something more with him in it.
Do you have any plans to ever release this game on other platforms or will it strictly be only an Xbox one and Xbox 360 title?
Robert Friis: Never say never, but at least for the present Max:TCoB is an Xbox and Xbox One exclusive.
What advice would you give to aspiring game developers and designers who may want to get into the game industry?
Robert Friis: You need to be dedicated and passionate first and foremost – being a game developer is not among the best-paid jobs in the world, and it is not for the lazy. You need to be scalpel-sharp and train daily, since competition is rough and there are a LOT of people competing for the job you want. And once you do manage to get your foot in, your hours are going to be long, hard and exhausting. That said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. The atmosphere in a game development studio is unlike anything else I’ve ever tried and they’ll have to drag me out kicking and screaming.
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Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is available now on the Xbox One for $14.99. The Xbox 360 version of the game is scheduled to hit Xbox Live Arcade sometime in 2014. If you would love to learn more about the game, then I would encourage you to check out Press Play’s Official Website. If you want to hear my in-depth thoughts on the game, please feel free to come back here next week for my comprehensive review.