Development on Owlboy started in 2007, when Simon S. Andersen started out with one goal in mind - how can we make pixel art relevant again. Little did Simon know that the project would be delayed for years and years, and an entire wave of indie pixel-art games would enter the scene before Owlboy was released. Despite being a tiny team with a severe lack of a budget, years of delay, and an ongoing struggle to keep the game relevant through almost a decade of development - the game is finally out!

It recently featured as one of TIME Magazine's Games Of The Year, and has become one of the top critically acclaimed game releases of 2016.

To celebrate, Owlboy will today 20% off on Steam from today:

Ask us anything!

Art Director: Simon S. Andersen (snakeman) Business and programming: Jo-Remi Madsen (Jo-remi) Programming and support: Henrik S. Andersen (henriksand) Level Design: Adrian Bauer (Adriangb) Composer: Jonathan Geer (jonnygeer)


Comments: 921 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

CrystalVivian816 karma

How do you guys feel about speedrunners and dataminers completely destroying the game? We've found multiple oob tricks and we are able to skip almost half the game with them. Also for dataminers (like myself), how do you feel about us decompiling and reading through the code. Personally, I'm still working on re-enabling the molstrom fight that you guys buried, but we would probably need to access the .xnb files first, and I haven't figured that one out yet.

-CVivian (Hi Adrian!)

EDIT: Best devs ever.

Jo-remi721 karma

You dug out the hidden Molstrom fight? @o@ With an ability like that, you should start digging for gold, THAT's where the real $$$ is.

Jo-remi550 karma

(On a side-note, I love that you are able find these things, wow.) @_@

Ajmende2402 karma

Oh wow! I remember hearing about you guys a long while back from Dunky the youtuber. What was the most rewarding experience for you guys throughout earlier and mid development? Thanks in advance and can't wait to get it!

Jo-remi411 karma

I met with Simon while he worked on Owlboy. I was on my way to a big AAA company to work, but right before I was off, Simon showed me Owlboy. I dropped my bags, and started working on it there and then. It changed my life meeting the guy, and that's the biggest reward I've got out of all of this. Mid-development I found that all the support we were getting was very rewarding. When I first started working in games, I had this voice in my head telling me: "You're working on games huh? What a loser." The support from my family and friends silenced that voice for good. It was only my own voice, all along.

odd_singularity205 karma

How were you guys able to keep yourselves up financially while developing the game?

(I loved every second of it by the way one of the indie games that didn't disappoint and motivated me personally as an artist there's just SO many beautiful places in the game)

Jo-remi389 karma

My parent's support has been a huuuuge factor. Half of D-Pad stayed at my parents house for more than half of the development, rent-free. It helped us focus on the game, and not on our economic situation, which also helped a lot in creating the kind of quality of game that we were striving for. I'm still sitting in my parents house, right in the living room, with my dad blasting xmas music on all speakers. Pic proof:

Jo-remi147 karma

Also joining, is D-Pad's Julianne Royce (juletones, Simon's wife and our Manger of Management (M.O.M), aka promo girl), and Martin Kvale (Noctilucentclouds, Additional sound designer on Owlboy, also working on most of Norways game projects! Ask them ANYTHING!

ribcabin22 karma

I think you mentioned there would be a surprise for those of us who completed the harder cannon minigame. any extra hints or insight as to what that might be? I'm looking for an excuse to do another re-play

also do you have any insight on future projects? DLC/addons for Owlboy, continuing the Owlboy franchise, or doing something entirely different?

Jo-remi25 karma

Hi Ribcabin! Aye, I've been working on something extra for those who have become proficient at the cannon before the nerf-update! We've added leaderboards to the cannon area, and I hope to host Cannon Competitions soon :-D We've got tons of future projects, I think the one that people want us to work on first, is the party game, Vikings On Trampolines. We've brought it with us for LOTS of conventions, but have yet to release it.

We've even got more obscure fan-projects we've been working on, like this Megaman Fan Trailer (my god, has it really been 6 years):

AlphaWhelp20 karma

Can you tell us anything about how the GOG version is performing versus the Steam version and if you think having a GOG version is impacting the rate of piracy of your game?

Jo-remi89 karma

Steam trumps anything these days in ways of numbers. But I really love GOG for all their work in bringing old PC games (including my fave, Albion) back to today's gamers. Piracy isn't something I'm concerned with as we're small time indies who don't need to make all that much to continue our work. GOG helps us spread the game to people who don't like Steam, and that alone makes the platform worth pursuing. They also do more focused marketing than Steam. Steam is mostly automatic, which brings only the best-sellers to the front page, while GOG can really help in the promotional department if you just work closely with them. I don't have any numbers when it comes to piracy, but I do know that some people who did pirate it, went on to become die-hard fans, spreading the word on the game, which leads to more sales. I've never pirated myself, but situations sure can vary from country to country during hard economic times. My only wish is for people to continue playing and enjoying the game, through whatever means necessary.

ThisIsNotKimJongUn12 karma

What tools did you use to create and animate the assets in Owlboy? The game is beautiful btw.

Jo-remi26 karma

We actually used a mixture. Simon can elaborate on his tools, tho I actually used GameMaker to create spritesheets out of Simon's animated gifs. GameMaker is actually a BRILLIANT sprite editor, and I used it everyday to fit Simon's sprites into Visual Studio. Halfway into development, Henrik (techy genious as he is) created a lightweight vsprite editor, which let us set up sprite-sheets in the blink of an eye from Simon's gifs. That upped productivity something fierce. We've had tons of lil innovations like this during development, most of the tools we ended up using we created the last years of development.

Tinimations12 karma

Bought a yacht yet Jo?

Jo-remi14 karma

No, but I've finally discovered the finer world of beer. Join me in the splendor!

Josie3million6 karma

Considering that you guys had been developing Owlboy for a while, did you ever feel a lack of motivation to continue it? If so, what kept you going?

Jo-remi14 karma

I never did. It's always been very important for me to prove a point - that we're able to do this on our own. We've neglected a lot of publishers and offers of help to prove just this. Any time anyone promised to help 'MAKE US BIG', it's only worked to motivate me that much more towards doing all the hard work ourselves. It's always been a very important point of mine to finish the game, so we can get crackin on our future ideas and projects. No sleep till death.

Keybladek5 karma

Is the dev team sticking together? Or are you done? The game is breathtaking! So glad I was able to test ^

Jo-remi16 karma

The team changed my life. Back when I started, I wanted to work in big AAA studios, the bigger the better, cuz I wanted to make a change. I had a dream about going to SEGA to improve on the Sonic Franchise (imagine the cleanup needed). Now, none of that matters to me at all. Now I want to create whatever games the team can come up with. (There are some crazy ones incoming, prepare thineself!)

Jourdy2884 karma

Howdy, I work as a game journo and I'm planning on picking up Owlboy, it looks really cool! I'd like to ask, did your long development cycle make marketing for Owlboy harder? The reason I ask is because I remember hearing about Owlboy back when I was perusing the Open Pandora forums several years ago- also, I recently released a guide for indie devs looking to reach game journos, and I'm curious as to what sort of techniques you employ when development goes on for an incredibly long time. Did the long dev cycle help build excitement or make your game harder to market?

Congratulations on finally releasing Owlboy :)

Jo-remi5 karma

Actually, it was the exact opposite. A lot our journalists wrote about Owlboy because of it's long development time. Whenever I contacted them, I also made sure to tell them :P Half of what makes the game's story, is the development behind it. Nothing in Owlboy would have been what it is today hadn't it been because of everything that has happened to us this last decade. I think people were more shocked than anything to see that Owlboy was finally releasing, prompting a massive amount of fans to talk about it. We've also made sure to travel anywhere we could to talk and meet our fans.

undersquirl1 karma

Working in the gaming industry for a big company really makes me appreciate what you guys do. And being an "adult" i really don't have time for serious gaming anymore, so, again, you guys are awesome and i really enjoy these kind of games!

Living in Eastern Europe where money is tight, and the torrenting regulations are loose, what's your opinion on piracy in the current gaming market? I'm pretty sure i could find your game right now on some torrent and play it. Do you think piracy is a real problem anymore or are you guys just happy people are going to play your game?

Even with the current 20% off, i still can't afford your game. I kinda have to save 2 or 3 months in order to buy a game and still pay my rent and whatever. Anyway, congratulations! I have a few friends that are trying to get a game out there and it's really REALLY hard work.

Those were actually a couple of questions.

Jo-remi2 karma

When it comes to piracy, we're certainly not cracking down on anything, we're very happy people get the chance to play the game. Through torrent, the game has a chance to become available to people who, say, live in countries where it isn't easy to even buy games (maybe Steam doesn't support their currency, or they just don't carry creditcards). I'd still wish for those to be able to experience Owlboy. Right now, pirating the game is the best alternative they have, as it's totally open to anyone with a sturdy internet connection. Since we're not a big company, it doesn't impact us in the way it would AAA.

whatiwishicouldsay-3 karma

I bought this game, I don't know why. Why did I buy this game? I haven't played past the first 5 minutes yet.

Jo-remi2 karma

You bought it because of it's looks didn't you! #soShallow