OMG Nintendo Interview - 12 May 2009

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Alicia Ashby of OMG Nintendo interviewed The Brothers Chaps for an article titled One year of WiiWare: Matt and Mike Chapman on Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People, as a part of the site's series commemorating the one-year anniversary of WiiWare.

Later in 2009, as the BlogFaction network was shut down, OMG Nintendo ceased publishing new articles; this interview remained online until OMGN was taken down in its entirety in 2011.


[edit] Transcript

Matt and Mike Chapman, a.k.a. the Brothers Chaps, are the creators of the Homestar Runner series. They were also essentially co-creators of the great WiiWare adventure game series based on their cartoons, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, developed by TellTale Games. As part of OMG Nintendo's celebration of WiiWare's one year anniversary, the Chaps sat down to talk with us about the making of the game, its effect on the Homestar Runner universe, and why the ESRB won't let you decapitate people outside of M-rated games.

In general the Chaps are definitely big fans of Nintendo and WiiWare. During the course of the conversation Mike mentioned World of Goo as a personal favorite while Matt also mentioned really liking Megaman 9 and wanting a sequel to LostWinds. Of course, both brothers own a Wii and also play adventure games avidly on the PC. In fact, Matt says he was playing through the first Sam & Max series when he received the initial email from TellTale Games talking about the possibility of working on a game togther.

The interview starts below the jump. Sadly I had to omit some really amusing but not-quite-relevant tangents about how game journalists like to lie to each other, how I ended up playing the games completely out of order, and exactly how much space all the Strong Bad chapters would take up if you downloaded them to a single Wii. Don't worry, I left all the best stuff in.

OMGN: So how exactly did the Strong Bad project get started with Telltale?

MATT CHAPMAN: We just got an e-mail about two summers ago from a marketing guy at Telltale saying "Hey, you guys have fans here, we want to talk about doing a project with you, oh and we make Sam & Max." And I was already subscribed to that and it was all old LucasArts guys and it was cool. WiiWare was announced not long ago and that seemed a perfect fit.

OMGN: So at what point did the project definitely move to WiiWare instead of just PC?

MIKE CHAPMAN: They wanted it on WiiWare from the get go. They already knew about WiiWare and stuff.

MATT CHAPMAN: I don't know if they knew when they first talked about it or not.

MIKE CHAPMAN: They thought that given WiiWare's small footprint [file size], our style lent itself to WiiWare better.

MATT CHAPMAN: Yeah, most of our characters don't have arms.

OMGN: Did you ever have space issues when it came to voice acting? Because it's just amazing how much voice data is in the game.

MIKE CHAPMAN: Whatever compression they used for Wii was amazing. They could always fit in more dialogue but sometimes not, like, a cereal box we wanted in the background. So we could fit in cool music and you can play it a ton and not hear every line we recorded.

OMGN: Are graphics restrictions why we hear Limozeen in Baddest of the Bands instead of seeing them in awesome terrible low-res live-action footage?

MIKE CHAPMAN: Yeah, we wanted them to be present throughout the game and not just one appearance that was crappy video. So we could have them talk a lot, but they'd have to be animated cardboard cutouts.

OMGN: So how were sales coming in?

MIKE CHAPMAN: Well, the first one was number 1 for the first 3 or 4 weeks. I think that was before Megaman and World of Goo, so maybe it was a thing where there was no competition yet.

MATT CHAPMAN: For our point it was like, whatever, it's more like making our cartoon. As long as the final product is good and nobody collectively hates it, we think it was fun and a fun thing.

OMGN: So how did you feel when when sales doubled after firmware 4.0?

MATT CHAPMAN: Well, that's great, it's cool that sales have gone up. It's kind of unfortunate that when the hype machine was going there weren't people getting it because they thought they didn't have space.

MIKE CHAPMAN: I'm glad Nintendo finally figured something out for that.

OMGN: So are we going to see any more Strong Bad games?

MATT CHAPMAN: It was a huge time sink for us and we weren't able to update the site as much. It's also sort of a thing where Telltale has their own production slate, so right now there's nothing really, but we love working with those guys.

MIKE CHAPMAN: We're taking a breather right now.

OMGN: So you wouldn't consider going to another publisher or another genre with the characters?

MATT CHAPMAN: I don't think we're legally allowed to now! [laughs] Nah, but Telltale listened so well to everything we said and did most of it. So, I don't know, maybe that was the problem with sales early on?

OMGN: So did you guys ever deal with Nintendo when making the game?

MATT CHAPMAN: I did an interview with somebody from Nintendo and somebody from IGN, and I was being Strong Bad on the phone with somebody from Nintendo and IGN. But that was really just the marketing there.

MIKE CHAPMAN: Through Telltale we heard certain things where, like, if you show a decapitation of any kind, no matter how cartoony or goofy that constitutes a M for Mature rating. So we had some badly drawn decaptitations in some of the Teen Girl Squad games that we had to turn into something else. So I think she got crushed into a basketball instead.

OMGN: ... but that's okay because it's less violent?

MIKE CHAPMAN: Yeah, we had a girl burned alive and her legs chopped off and that was okay, but decapitation was specific to the ESRB. [laughs] Anyway, it's cool that there were a couple of mentions of the game in Nintendo Power. If you'd told us that when we were 8 and 11 years old we would have gone crazy.

OMGN: So I noticed it was during the production of the game that the "last" Strong Bad email hit. Did the game have anything to do with that?

MATT CHAPMAN: Nah, 200 was just a nice round number to take a break from it and do other stuff on the website. Not that it starts to get old, but if we never did another one I'd be okay with it. I mean, we did 200. It's like push-ups. If I do that at once, I'm cool if I never do another one.

MIKE CHAPMAN: Actually I think the last e-mail was only after the first or second chapter.

OMGN: So let's say it's a few years down the road and you're doing another Strong Bad game with Telltale. What's the idea?

MATT CHAPMAN: I think it would be cool to do a Homestar and Strong Bad game where you switch back-and-forth between the two of them to use different abilities. Sort of a hybrid of the point n' click style. Like, I liked how they got the mini-games in but have that be part of the game instead of just a console you go play. I really like how we did the game so we could get all of our ideas out with just a minor throughline. But if we were going to do another episodic thing, it would maybe be with a bigger story.

[edit] Fun Facts

[edit] Trivia

  • It is explained why Limozeen appeared as a cardboard cutout in Baddest of the Bands rather than their usual portrayal of live-action footage.

[edit] Fast Forward

[edit] External Links

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