We Like Hard Games, So We Made a Hard Game (Thorn v1.0.2 is out!)

on 09/04/2011 by christopher No Comments
When I was growing up, if you claimed that you beat a video game, it meant that you were really REALLY good at it. I’m mostly talking about NES games, which required a ridiculous amount of skill to beat. It still sticks with me that I could never beat Ninja Gaiden. The story was really cool, and I wanted to see what happened. Two decades later, I watched the ending on YouTube.

Over time, quicksave and quickload almost single-handedly changed this. The way games like Call of Duty tend to be played, you can simply run into a volley of gunfire and die, reappearing moments before the events happened.

If a game costs 60 million dollars to make, you don’t want 99% of people missing out on millions of dollars of content because they aren’t good enough to get there.  I think it’s a shift in gaming culture that is worth our attention.

One of our first ideas for Thorn was that it should be prohibitively difficult. Matt had this idea during one of our very first brainstorming sessions years ago to make a cruel game. I think what he was picturing was a game where the traps in the dungeon are actually traps. They are concealed and they can cause permadeath. You were foiled by a trap, you are dead.

I don’t think Escape Mode, in the new version of Thorn that we just released is cruel, but I do think it’s pretty hard. It will take most people a long time to get good enough to see the ending screen.  My endless playtesting over the course of Thorn’s development has made me really good at the game and it’s even hard for me to beat. It takes about a half hour, a good amount of luck, and a tremendous amount of patience and skill. But that’s where we wanted the bar. If it’s hard for us, it’s going to be hard for new players. Those few who get very good at the game will eventually beat it. And you’ll see them on the leaderboards. Next to us.

Escape Mode is a .99c In-App Purchase. The original Survival Mode is now totally free.

Leave a Reply

Good Controller is a small independent video game developer based in San Francisco. We are currently working on Thorn, our first project for the iPhone.