Posts Tagged Grubby Hands
In January 2011, British games developer Bizarre Creations was closed by Activision. Looking through the games that Bizarre were responsible for, it’s no surprise that many fans were hugely disappointed to see its closure. Racing titles such as the Project Gotham Racing series were seen by many as the pinnacle of racing games, with similar successes coming from the retro shooter Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved and the cartoony Fur Fighters. Unfortunately, despite the release of arcade racer Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone in 2010, it wasn’t enough and Bizarre Creations was dissolved.
What happened next, though? And why am I talking about console games on 148Apps? Because a number of new gaming studios rose from Bizarre’s flames, many of them iOS focused. Recently, I got the chance to see how things are progressing for a few of them.
One of the first to reach the iOS market was Grubby Hands, a one-man studio founded by company director Dr Danny Pearce, the firm released their first title, David Haye’s Knockout in June 2011, immediately topping the charts. A new release emerged in December 2011 with Boy Loves Girl, which garnered similar success. How has Danny found going it alone, however, and why did he consider setting up his own firm?
“At the time that Grubby Hands was founded in 2011, the AAA console market was a volatile place…After Bizarre Creations closed, I was cautious about joining somewhere that may suffer the same unfortunate fate,” Danny explained to us. Much of the temptation also came from the “exciting new market” of the App Store. “Apple had created a suite of cool gadgets over the past few years, and I was itching to start making games for them. Now seemed the perfect time to launch a studio with a new mobile focus.”
Going it alone proved quite beneficial for Danny. He could finally “get [his] hands dirty with design, art, code, sound and music” rather than be forced to specialize. A “fast development cycle” also appealed, although “strict budget” constraints proved tough.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’ve been focusing on the romantic aspects of the App store. Alongside reviewing Boy Loves Girl, the tale of a boy keen to woo the lady in his life, we had the opportunity to interview Dr Danny Pearce, Company Director for the game’s British developer, Grubby Hands.
One particular question that’s bound to be on everyone’s mind was just why the name Grubby Hands?!
“Grubby Hands is a name that came from some subconscious activity when thinking about gaming. I think it’s connected to the NES and SNES days when pad swapping was commonplace, like Mario or Street Fighter with friends,” said Pearce. “I always had a problem with getting a sweaty pad handed to me from a friend with ‘grubby hands’. I had a ritual that involved a five second wipe with my t-shirt before every round. I guess that image stuck and resurfaced 20 years later.” An experience that I’m sure all gamers can empathise with.
Moving onto just what a change of pace Boy Loves Girl is compared to David Haye’s Knockout, Pearce explained just what hook Boy Loves Girl offers: “Boy Loves Girl follows a young boy’s journey as he tries to impress a girl. I really wanted to make a game that was sweet and captures something truthful. Then the idea of a boy going to the end of the world for a girl and giving her the moon on a piece of string stuck and the game grew from there.”
As Pearce explains, “It starts off as a pleasant experience. Everything is calm and relaxing, while the player gets used to the game and the controls. It then gets progressively more challenging as the girl gets more demanding, to the point that it really requires a lot of skill, mental attention and physical accuracy to complete,” but fortunately that’s not all we should expect from Boy Loves Girl, with Pearce promising Game Center to be integrated ‘really soon.’
So, what’s next for Grubby Hands? Dr Pearce was understandably guarded as to exact details but there are discussions in terms of “either a sequel or a huge update to a ‘previous game’ in the near future.” Pearce also informed us that Grubby Hands is currently “prototyping something original and probably [our] most ambitious game yet.” Don’t get too excited yet, though, as he also went onto explain that it’s “easily the biggest game we’ve attempted to make, so will probably take until the end of the year to complete.”
On a final note, we thought it was only friendly to see just how the Grubby Hands guys are planning on spending Valentine’s Day. “We’ll start the day under a mild spring sun, listening to a calm stream, break the still to eat strawberries and cream and then proceed to whack the keyboard trying to finish off the next ‘Boy Loves Girl’ update!”
Given the cold and rainy spell that much of Britain is suffering from at the moment, here’s hoping that the 14th brings with it plenty of sun for Grubby Hands!
Many thanks to Dr. Danny Pearce for taking the time to answer our questions.
WBA Champion David Haye is a bit of a hero in my fair isles of Britain thanks to his ability to defeat pretty much any other boxer in his path. So it’s quite exciting to see a game focused around David Haye.
David Haye’s Knockout is a new game to rise from the ashes of the sad closure of Bizarre Creations (famous for The Club, Blur and James Bond 007: Blood Stone on an array of different consoles). It’s a boxing title but not one solely focused on brute strength as some careful manoevres and strategies are needed to truly succeed.
Developers, Grubby Hands, promise that David Haye’s Knockout will be easy to learn but tough to master, offering just as much emphasis on evading and defending as on defeating the opponent. The graphical style also looks appealing, offering some great arty graphics rather than a more typical, photorealistic appearance, and the game even offers its own ‘Matrix Mode’ whereby players can perform moves in slow motion, thus feeling more in control.
Plus, dirtier players can feel smug as they taunt and trash-talk their opponent by shaking their phone. Ideal stress relief!
It’s out now, priced at $2.99.