Interview: Cody Romphf, OddBird Studio (Arrow Heads)
At EGLX in Toronto, I got the chance to chat with Cody Romphf from OddBird Studio to discuss the history of the team, win at the Level Up showcase, and all about their game Arrow Heads. Take a look.
I know that your studio just recently formed. What’s the history behind your team and your game Arrow Heads?
CR: We were actually second-year game design students at Sheridan [College], and we made this game for a Level Up showcase, which is a student showcase in Toronto. After the success we had there – we won best overall game at the show – we decided to turn into a studio to see what was possible, and what we really could do with Arrow Heads.
So I assume between then and now, you’ve tampered with the game a bit. What changes have been made so far?
CR: From Level Up to today has been a month, but it’s been a lot of the business side of things. We haven’t had a chance to update too much of the game, but one of the biggest things we are working on this summer is bringing in online multiplayer. Something we feel is important with a four player game is to have to have that extra ability for people to play with their friends even if you can’t get them all in the same space.
In 2016, online multiplayer is almost a necessity. But I feel there is still an emphasis on local play with Arrow Heads.
CR: Well, a lot of games we love to play are local multiplayer – something you can really get on a couch with and enjoy with a bunch of friends around a TV. We’ve found that there aren’t a lot of those experiences out there, and that’s something we’re really passionate about. So it was really important to us to have that local multiplayer aspect, but also realize that it doesn’t always work for people to get together.
One game I can relate Arrow Heads to – in the most positive way – is Towerfall. Your game has an isometric view, but definitely has the same cool multiplayer vibe.
CR: Towerfall is an inspiration for the game – there is no way to not say that.
But the art style is totally different. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
CR: Our artist Shae is very inspired by cartoons and stylized characters like Gravity Falls, and various different shows that capture that very stylized art. It’s something that’s really important to the game. A lot of these indie titles that come out either focus on 8-bit or Voxle art with cubie feels, and we wanted to stray away from that.
Thank you! The retro look is pretty tired! So moving a little more back to your studio, your team is obviously from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and part of the growing indie community in the big city. Would you say most local studios are supportive of each other?
CR: Yeah, I would definitely say they’re supportive because at this point, it’s an up-and-coming scene, but definitely a smaller scene right now. You pretty much have to support each other because there’s not investors or people that are used to games out of Toronto. So it’s tough to find investors and publishers here, so you have to rely on other studios around to help learn from each other.
Looking forward, what’s next for Arrow Heads? Can we expect the game to make its way onto consoles?
CR: Yeah, we’re really trying to hit the console market for sure. We’re definitely not ignoring Steam, but because it’s crafted for that control experience, we’re hoping to target the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live. We’re pretty much open to either-or, it’s just at the moment PlayStation Network has a slightly larger install base, so from a business standpoint, we’re interested in it because of the size of the community.