We each got started in a womb, but the company got started in 2009, after "The Great Layoffs" at Microsoft. We all loved working together at Xbox, and decided to keep working together running a games consulting company.
Why did you want to make games?
One of our early projects was working on a social networking game for one of our big clients. We designed the game to drive a lot of social interaction between users. In the process, we fell in love with making games. We tend to think that all hardcore gamers secretly have at least one game they wish they could build. We ended up with the resources and the good fortune to actually do it.
Why be independent rather than try to work for someone else?
We tried to work for someone else, and it turned out to be far riskier than it looked. Most people take jobs at big companies for the security and resources they offer, but we've found the security was fleeting, and we've been able to build up a lot of resources on our own. Plus, we can do a lot more of what we want without having to get approval.
What's your game called, and what's it about?
Tweet Defense is about the political climate that led to the war of 1812. No, wait ... actually that's not this game. Tweet Defense is about an island overrun with zombies and your efforts to protect the last living inhabitant by placing defense towers across the map. It is also the first game to use Twitter as a core game mechanic. The game rewards you for what you're already doing on Twitter, by giving you stat boosts based on your number of followers, friends and tweets. The game doesn't spam out at all, it just taps into your existing behavior. It also lets you follow a featured guest booster tower, which is attached to the Twitter account of a user we want to highlight that day. Could be Felicia Day, or Carlos Ferro, or even Justin McElroy.
Do you feel like you're making the game you always wanted to play?
This is ONE of the games we've always wanted to play. We have a lot in mind. Going into every game design we ask ourselves questions, and to try to imagine the user experience. For Tweet Defense, we asked "what would it be like if you could be rewarded for being obsessed with Twitter," then we tried to build a game that used some standard mechanics, with some twists (like using both open and pathed maps.)
How long did it take you to create?
Total development time was four months from design document to launch.
"This is ONE of the games we've always wanted to play. We have a lot in mind."
You've done PR and marketing work at Microsoft for Xbox, and you've created a marketing company at Promethium, how was the PR and Marketing for Tweet Defense different?
We are still friends with the guys at Xbox, but if we went back, they'd have to double our salaries because we've learned a TON in the last year. One of the biggest things for us is that we can break any rule we want. Not supposed to talk about the sequel while you are pimping the current game? F-that, why not?
So ... do you want to do Tweet Defense 2 then?
Oh hell yes! We also want to do 10 other games! The iPhone is a canvas that anyone can use to paint an amazing masterpiece, a giant butt, or a naked woman pretending to be Thanksgiving dinner. You can then correct, tweak, and adjust your painting after it's been hanging in the museum for a month. We can't do that as easily on other platforms.
What are you proudest of about your game?
We're proud of the response so far. We've made it to the top of some best iPhone app lists, and we were one of the most talked about iPhone games at GDC. Within the game itself, we love that every user's experience is different depending on whether or not they choose to use their Twitter account.
What one thing would you tell someone to convince them to get your game?
One thing? ZombieTwitterTowerDefense.
We're not going to be done with Tweet Defense for a long time. We intend to support the game with extensive tweaking and updates. The iPhone platform allows for it, so we're going to spend a lot of time understanding player feedback and tweaking the game. We're also working on three other projects that we're really excited about, but daren't speak of just yet. That's a word by the way - daren't.
Tweet Defense is available right here. If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email justin aat joystiq dawt com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Can't get enough indie? Check out the Pitch archives.