Q&A

Brian Gib­son Lead de­signer

EDGE - - THE MAKING OF... -

How would you de­scribe the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing Thumper?

A lot of peo­ple have ex­pec­ta­tions for rhythm games, that they’ll get you into a groove and have this synaes­thetic ex­pe­ri­ence. I didn’t want this game to be typ­i­cal. I wanted it to have an el­e­ment of re­ac­tion time and un­pre­dictabil­ity. I’ve seen feed­back where peo­ple have said, ‘This isn’t mu­sic,’ or, ‘This isn’t a rhythm,’ and I don’t care. I want it to be a sin­gu­lar ex­pe­ri­ence, not what peo­ple ex­pected.

How is Thumper in­formed by your time play­ing mu­sic with Light­ning Bolt?

It‘s a com­men­tary on the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing a mu­si­cian. And it’s a re­ac­tion to the Gui­tar Hero, Rock Band stuff. I think those are ex­am­ples of an un­savoury way our so­ci­ety thinks about mu­sic and be­ing a rock star, like it’s a path to grat­i­fy­ing your ego. Mu­sic should be some­thing you use to lose your ego, to have an ex­pe­ri­ence out­side your­self. This idea of rock stars be­ing on stage and the most im­por­tant peo­ple in the world, it’s not what mu­si­cians were orig­i­nally. It’s a weird per­ver­sion born out of cap­i­tal­ism. I feel like this game was against the way mu­sic has come to be thought of.

How is writ­ing mu­sic for a game dif­fer­ent from writ­ing mu­sic for a live au­di­ence?

It’s fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent. It’s like the dif­fer­ence be­tween speak­ing to some­one in per­son and writ­ing them an email. In live mu­sic, you’re com­mu­ni­cat­ing with an au­di­ence in real time. When you’re do­ing mu­sic on a com­puter, you can al­most be dis­hon­est about your in­ten­tions. You can craft it. You can say some­thing that you might never have said in per­son. It’s much more dan­ger­ous than play­ing live.

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