Posted 18 May
Superbrothers + Jim Guthrie X Sound Shapes
A message from a representative at Superbrothers, written in the midst of a spring thunderstorm in the hill country at the Quebec/Vermont border.
It is with immense pleasure that we are announcing our involvement with a videogame project known as Sound Shapes. We are extra excited to be contributing alongside sworcery maestro Jim Guthrie. This represents the latest in a series of Superbrothers X Jim Guthrie a/v collaborations dating back to 2005’s musical film Children of the Clone and 2008’s Dot Matrix Revolution, but this will be our first a/v collaboration since 2011’s cult classic videogame Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.
Much like Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Sound Shapes is a made-in-Toronto DIY videogame, it’s unusually collaborative and it has a heavy emphasis on synesthetic audiovisual style. What’s more, the people making Sound Shapes are all basically our very best pals – they’re the folks with whom we play board games, drink the beers, go skating and play hockey. On every level it’s an honor and a thrill to be involved.
The Superbrothers + Jim Guthrie collaboration will take the form of a Sound Shapes ‘album’ – a series of thematically connected & musically-linked levels known as CORPOREAL.
Sound Shapes is coming to PS Vita, and it’ll be available before too long. Get psyched!!!
The Collaborative Process
After some initial discussion with Queasy Games we chose to explore some of the concepts in prior Superbrothers films including Children of the Clone and Dot Matrix Revolution, so Torontronic is populated by computers, mainframes, office workers and water coolers. My mom was one of the first female computer programmers in Canada and my father worked as a mainframe computer salesman for decades, so it was nice to set aside the skeletons and space babies for once. Meanwhile, the videogame design takes the friendly platforming mechanics of Sound Shapes and stretches them in the direction of Impossible Mission-style puzzling.
The last time Superbrothers and Jim Guthrie collaborated on a videogame with sworcery, the staff at Superbrothers was responsible for the core concepts, sound design concepts, game design, as well as all of the art, animation and writing. Superbrothers brought Jim Guthrie into the project, figuring out the musical tone of the project and building on a years-long creative relationship. Capy, the independent videogame studio in Toronto, enabled and co-created the project every step of the way, getting it to the finish line in style.
With this new collaboration the configuration is quite different. In Torontronica – the game design, level design and sound integration are being handled by the Sound Shapes experts at Queasy. The order of operations was a little different this time around too. On S:S&S EP, many of the songs predated the project and I was able to create the world and concepts by listening to specific songs, many of them pre-existing compositions from Jim. In this case, the art assets were created without a specific soundtrack, and then it was up to Jim to craft his sounds to fit the look and concept.
Of course, the real work took place at Queasy & Capy, where a wide-ranging assortment of designers & creators – the Sound Shapes experts – put all the pieces together. Thanks so much for all your hard work folks, it has been a pleasure contributing to your efforts!