GDC '08: PixelJunk pollinates Eden

Q Games' Dylan Cuthbert reveals next installment in PSN downloadable series is "coming soon" and will feature unique visual style coupled with platforming gameplay.


SAN FRANCISCO--For Dylan Cuthbert, game design can easily be distilled into four precepts: simplicity, familiarity, originality, and 1080p. Such has been the case for the expatriate veteran designer's Kyoto-based Q Games, which released PixelJunk Racers as a downloadable offering on the PlayStation Network in September, with the tower-defense-style real-time strategy game PixelJunk Monsters arriving in January.

Along with giving a postmortem of the PixelJunk series on the PlayStation Network during the Independent Games Summit at the Game Developers Conference on Monday, Cuthbert gave audience members a first look at the third game to bear the unusual moniker, PixelJunk Eden. Described as a platformer not unlike Mario, Eden drops players into the role of a seed-like ball, and they must traverse levels by leaping and swinging from environments that seem to unfold as the player progresses. Along the way, players attempt to fling their seed at pollination nodes that grow the pseudo-garden.

A marked departure from the top-down RC cars of Racers and the hypercuteness of Monsters, Eden features a trendy, digital techno art style seen in several other recent PSN downloadable releases, such as flOw and Everyday Shooter. According to Cuthbert, the game's unique style was aided by Japanese modern artist Baiyon. Unique visual style or not, PixelJunk Eden will maintain Q Games' standards for the series, offering hand-drawn 2D visuals in full HD with "simple, intuitive controls."

Cuthbert, who plans for Q Games to create in all six games featuring the PixelJunk aesthetic, also mentioned the fourth installment has entered an early stage of development under the working title PixelJunk Dungeons. No other details on the game were revealed. However, during the PixelJunk postmortem, Cuthbert stated that the games are on a short development cycle of about six months each.

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