An Interview With the Developers of Super Meat Boy Forever
Fans of the challenging platformer Super Meat Boy were thrilled to see the announcement of a new game in the series, Super Meat Boy Forever for the Nintendo Switch.
We got in touch with the developers to learn more about Super Meat Boy Forever and what fans can expect from the new style of gameplay.
The original Super Meat Boy was announced for the Switch not that long before the announcement of Super Meat Boy Forever. Did you already have plans then to bring the new game to the Switch?
What would you say are the biggest differences between Super Meat Boy and Super Meat Boy Forever?
The biggest and most noticeable change is the controls. For the sequel we wanted to see if we could simplify the controls down to two buttons and still feel and play like Super Meat Boy. It’s was a tough job, but we succeeded. The overwhelming majority of people who have played the game have said something along the lines of “It’s different, but it feels just as good.”
The runner-style gameplay has caused concern for some fans. How will that element change the core gameplay, and what thoughts do you have for fans unsure about the new gameplay?
I understand the skepticism. When you hear that a game you love that is known for it’s controls has a totally different control system I think it’s natural to go “What the f**k?” I would like to point out that the same guy (me) that designed the controls for the first game designed the controls for the sequel! We set out to make a Super Meat Boy game that feels like Super Meat Boy but with two buttons. It was not an easy task… it was actually pretty tough… but after several public showings and the reaction from press and fans I feel confident that we’ve succeeded.
The overwhelming majority of people who have played the game have said something along the lines of “It’s different, but it feels like Meat Boy.” I knew before showing the game publicly if people would react in that way that we had a winner.
Did anything in particular draw you to the Switch as a platform for Super Meat Boy forever? Will it make use of any of the Switch’s special features, such as HD Rumble?
Honestly what drew me to the platform was how much I enjoyed playing games on the Switch. I don’t know what special features the Switch version will have… we’ll put in whatever enhances the game.
The idea of levels that become harder every time you beat them is an interesting one. What inspired you for that feature? Will there be any way for players to go back and replay levels in their easier forms?
I wanted a challenge when creating the sequel to Super Meat Boy and I wanted to do something different. The easiest thing to do for a Super Meat Boy sequel would have been to create new updated graphics and create 600 levels and new bosses. While that would have been a great game… it would have been boring for me to make and I really like pushing the limits when it comes to what I work on. I wanted to see if I could make a randomly generated Meat Boy game.
Super Meat Boy Forever levels are generated from a pool of 40-60 mini-levels or chunks. That’s 40-60 levels the size of the smallest levels in Super Meat Boy PER LEVEL. So like 1-1 has 40, 1-2 has 50, etc. There’s a lot of content there. Each mini-level is designed with a difficulty in mind and is generated into the level.
Originally, levels regenerated each time you died. This was fine but it was way more of a challenge to the player than I wanted to present. Super Meat Boy gave you a feeling of accomplishment as you progressed through levels and you felt good when you would beat a level… initially Forever didn’t give you that, you would basically just play through until you got lucky enough to get to the end. That didn’t feel right, but I still wanted to do something randomly generated.
At one point, we changed how difficulty was presented in the game to something we had more control over. Instead of levels being completely randomly placed chunks, they were now randomly selected based on their difficulty which was presented in a certain cadence and they didn’t regenerate once you died. The cadence was implemented to ramp up the difficulty in a way you would if you were designing the level the old fashion way. For example, if you had a long level you’d want to start the player out slow, ramp them up a bit, bring them back down, and then finish with a bang. The cadence of the level would be define which difficulty chunks we would want at certain parts during the level making the level seem like a designed level, not a randomly generated nightmare.
Once that was in, we made it so each level had the ability to rank up it’s difficulty to once again provide another difficulty ramp for the player so they could improve their skills and feel accomplished once they fully “S Ranked” a level. Since the levels are generated the Par Time system we used in the first Super Meat Boy wouldn’t really work… so ranking a level up is the new Par Time… once you’ve S Ranked a level, you’ve truly mastered it.
Also it’s just cool, play a level, rank it up, play it again it’s different and harder… it’s like Meat Boy experience points. If you ever S Rank a level and then go back to a lower difficulty level, you feel like a god… like running through the first areas of a Final Fantasy game after your 80 hours in.
And yes, people will be able to go back and play different ranks of the level.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers about Super Meat Boy Forever?
The game has 6 chapters with light and dark worlds, bosses, secrets, and TONS of well designed levels with tight controls. This sequel bigger than Super Meat Boy…. it’s different because it controls different, but the game feels the same. Also, if you ever have the opportunity to play it at a PAX or whatever, do… I think you’ll dig it.
We’re happy we had this chance to learn more about Super Meat Boy Forever. What do you think? Share your thoughts on Super Meat Boy Forever in the comments below.