TowerFall Ascension Creator Discusses Design Decisions

By Ryan Winslett 2014-03-14 11:45:02 discussion comments
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TowerFall: Ascension launched this week on the PlayStation 4, giving gamers a chance to experience the thrills and chills of arrow-based arena combat lovingly wrapped in a retro-themed package that rewards skill, and a bit of luck, with some fantastic couch-focused gameplay. And now that gamers have had the opportunity to turn their friends into pin cushions, creator Matt Thorson has decided to do a little Q&A with the PlayStation Blog.

After only a couple of days with TowerFall: Ascension on the PlayStaiton 4, I can attest to the fact that it lives up to the hype, 100 percent. I had heard quite a bit about the formerly Ouya exclusive in 2013, but was never quite convinced to drop $100 on the micro-console just to get a single game. That’s just crazy talk.

Thankfully, it was announced late last year that TowerFall would be getting an updated launch on a console I already owned, the PlayStation 4, for which there was much rejoicing. Along with the standard versus mode, which pits 2-4 players against one another in arena style shootouts featuring arrows, power-ups and stage-altering orbs, TowerFall: Ascension also adds in some nice single player and cooperative content to pour loads of hours into, including a quest mode and a mode that basically works like a 2D version of an FPS horde mode.

My special lady friend and I have spent a nice chunk of time in the competitive mode, enjoying countless “did you see that!” moments, yells of triumph and groans of defeat. I didn’t want to spend $100 on an Ouya just to play TowerFall last year, but I’m seriously considering picking up two additional PS4 controllers just to get the most out of TowerFall: Ascension. It’s just that much fun.

Over on the PS Blog, creator Matt Thorson shared a bit of insight into the creation of TowerFall, including his love of 8-bit graphics and the game’s most obvious inspiration, Smash Bros. Melee. Thorson also said that he tried to create a single player experience in TowerFall at first, but that the multiplayer gameplay quickly became the clear focus.

“I realized, once I started designing the versus gameplay, that I had been thinking about local multiplayer for years,” he added. “I was happy to finally have an outlet for those ideas.”

While some, including myself, are a bit disappointed that TowerFall: Ascension doesn’t include an online multiplayer option, Thorson stresses that its exclusion was by design.

“Local multiplayer is just a great way to bring people together,” he said. “These games can allow players to express themselves socially through play, and get to know each other by interacting in the game. And those interactions can bleed into the real world. It’s really simple, but so powerful.”

For more insight into the PS4’s killer multiplayer offering, be sure to check out the PS Blog interview. And for an interesting (and convincing) take on the game’s lack of online multiplayer, check out Bennett Foddy’s recent opinion piece from Polygon.
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