Tearaway Unfolded

Nov 15


Contrast Out Today on PS4, Free for PlayStation Plus

Derek Elliott's Avatar Posted by Derek Elliott on Nov 15, 2013 // Producer, Compulsion Games

Contrast, our PS4 launch title, is out today. If you were born in the ’70s (as I was), or have watched “Arrested Development,” you’ll know the song “The Final Countdown.” It is cornily (Is that a word?) appropriate when your game is close to launch status. It can pump you up and can also bring you back to all the good and bad that was the ’80s. Much simpler times when two programmers would make all of the design, art, animation, sound, and code for a game. And back then, game design counted for something. Be damned you kids these days and your fancy save games and discs you don’t have to blow on to play.

Games like Paperboy, Dig Dug, and — one of my personal favorites — Racing Destruction Set were profoundly fun because they were simple. But simple didn’t mean easy. These games somehow got made because of a genuine fire to develop something new and have fun in a brand new industry. These early Godfathers of video games were passionate because they accomplished something special, were published, and people responded to their creations.

Contrast, 03

Just as I suspect these early developers found, we learned really quickly that it was difficult to create puzzles with a new mechanic — in our case, being able to shift in and out of your shadow, swapping from 3D to 2D and back again. This was not only because the designers had to retrain themselves in a different way of thinking, but had to also better understand how the player will interpret and use the new mechanics. Some puzzles became too hard, some were just completely insane, and some even we couldn’t understand what to do with them.

There were some tough days and weeks as we worked and iterated through the myriad of new ideas and concepts, trying to get them all to work nicely together. With each step along the way we were able to confidently move forward, mainly thanks to the positive support we received and knowing (hoping) we were going in the right direction. We demoed to friends and family, invited play testers to give it go, and got in front of the big-wigs who told us “this is the best thing we’ve seen at GDC.” This feedback was crucial to us in fuelling our inner creative fire, that positive reinforcement that gets burned deep down to keep us going through the tougher times as we hit points in the development where we realized “well that is clearly never going to work.”

Contrast, 01

The team uses that fuel as their inner strength that keeps growing with each positive Tweet, Facebook message, and simply seeing the response after putting a controller into the hands of a brand new player. We funnel it like Imhotep (well maybe not quite like that…) and maybe our hearts would grow two sizes that day. Either way, it’s what’s kept us going.

Contrast, 02

A pivotal moment for us where I knew we had made it was when we had our first cosplayer.

Four years into a two year project, Contrast — along with Dawn & Didi — will finally get the performances they’ve been waiting behind the curtain to deliver. The fire has been burning for quite some time, and it took a lot of fuel to keep it going. It’s time to replenish that fuel.

As Producer, I’m generally the one to hang back and make sure things got done while the other team members got to travel to faraway and exotic places like Boston and Seattle. Living the high life, mixing it up with the gaming public at large, making some new friends, and generally basking in the positive feedback of what we had done thus far, is something I missed out on.

I didn’t get to either PAX East or Prime this year, nor did I get to Gamescom or Tokyo Game Show — or Bay to Breakers for that matter!

But our project is finally done, and I get the honor of taking part in the PS4 launch extravaganza this week in NYC. It’s an epic event, and getting to show off Contrast to journalists and select consumers for the last time before we go live on November 15th will go down as one of the best payoffs of this project.

At this point it really is a game that we are very proud of. There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s the best game that we could have put out there. Now I’m looking forward with a sense of accomplishment and a big-ass smile, standing proud that our small, rag-tag group of seven devs could pull off such a showing at the launch of PS4! We’re grateful to PlayStation for supporting us. And while we may have fooled some people along the way, there will be no fooling the public when they get their hands on it. And that’s what will once again fuel my fire.

//Add Your Own

57 Comments   12 Replies

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+ Kevvik on November 15th, 2013 at 7:36 pm said:

WOW! Is that really the lineup for EU PS+ for December? I think that is the least impressive month that I’ve seen for them in a while. NA might have a chance for a better month than EU for a change, though I have been quite happy that NA has been mixing up the genres and letting us have some RPGs for a change. Hopefully, the variety of games continues (no return to the endless VITA/PSP fighting games) and the quality stays high with good sales as the past couple of months have been.

Back to Puppeteer and Dragons Dogma!


+ MrBanballow on November 15th, 2013 at 7:47 pm said:

I feel bad… I have Plus, so I got the game for free. Would have gladly payed full price for it, which I feel would have been more beneficial to you guys.

    Derek Elliott's Avatar


    + Derek Elliott on November 16th, 2013 at 7:55 am said:

    Hello MrBanballow

    Thanks, that means a lot to us. Best thing is to tell all of your friends about it. Being small indie devs the word of mouth approach is strongest for us.



+ Derspy700 on November 15th, 2013 at 8:25 pm said:

Waiting for it to finish downloading! :)


+ ASC2175 on November 16th, 2013 at 12:15 am said:

Now my question is…is it gonna be on PS+ on PS3 as well?

    Derek Elliott's Avatar


    + Derek Elliott on November 16th, 2013 at 7:56 am said:

    Hello ASC2175, no this ps+ deal is only for the PS4 version. Sorry



+ truthontv on November 16th, 2013 at 12:24 am said:

Hey guys, checkout our latest show #whatweretheythinking we went to Best Buy and Gamestop to get people’s reactions of the new PS4



+ BEES_IN_FL on November 16th, 2013 at 3:00 am said:

ugh, does PS3 Plus convert to PS4 Plus or do I have to buy a new subscription????

I have a PS4, signed into PSN, and it’s showing me as not having Plus. not cool.

    Derek Elliott's Avatar


    + Derek Elliott on November 16th, 2013 at 7:58 am said:

    Yee absolutely it transitions over. Just refresh the store by jumping back out to the XMB and back again or add Contrast to your cart and remove it. Repeat until your ps+ comes up. It will eventually.



+ ep_1973 on November 16th, 2013 at 4:52 am said:

Hey I am excited to say that I got my PS4 at launch …woohoo. I was one of the people who pre-ordered early. And I am glad that Sony is including a hand-full of games with PSN plus membership at launch. That definitely ups the value of membership as well as gives us more to do on the PS4 at go.

IF I COULD please share one request… Could you talk to the system builders and get us a Blu Ray 3D movie playback patch asap for the console?

The forums are filling up quickly on multiple threads with people shocked that Sony didn’t surprise us with a day-one patch for 3D movies. I think everyone is aware that Sony has made it known that Blu Ray 3D movie playback was going to be a patch at best, but I think now that everyone has their PS4 the reality that Microsoft COULD get gamers the XBOX ONE with Blu Ray 3D movie playback support at launch or soon after is blowing PS gamer minds!

Seems to me that social features are cool, but you need to beat the XBOX to this feature!

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