Flipping Death Interview

The Nindies Showcase proved the Nintendo Switch is far more than just a first party games machine – Nintendo is seriously supporting indie games too. It can only be a good thing that many different games will be released and the support is there.

 By far one of the most interesting games on the showcase was Flipping Death, a very quirky looking game starring Penny, who accidentally ends up with the grim reapers job while he takes a vacation!

Penny gets the power to possess and control the people still alive in Flatwood Peaks, a nifty trick that turns out to be quite handy “Flipping” between the “Otherside” and our world. From the creators of Stick it to the man and Fe, Flipping Death has me flipping excited!

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I caught up with the awesome Mikael Forslind, PR & Marketing Manager for Zoink Games who gave a better overview of Flipping Death.

 The game was by far the stand out shown at the Nindies showcase can you tell us how it came about?

Back in 2013 we made a game called Stick It to The Man which shares the same art style as Flipping Death, which is hand-drawn art on cardboard material. During development of Stick it to The Man we thought about that it would be really cool to hide something on the other side of the cardboard like a secret and allowing the player to take a peek behind. We ended up not using this in Stick it but an idea for a game was born. So right after we finished Stick It we started with a prototype for Flipping Death, but for different reasons we put that on the shelf for some time and about a year ago we picked it up and decided to finish it and release it.

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The visual style for Flipping Death is so different and looks oddly beautiful – where does the inspiration come from? Are there any other games’ style is drawn from?

At Zoink we try to make creative and almost a bit crazy games. If you ever played Stick it to The Man you know how weird it can get. For Flipping Death we draw inspiration from many things, even our own games. Most of how Flipping Death looks comes from our creative director Klaus Lyngeled and I know he’s really inspired by Tim Burton, the way he creates a whole world filled with so many interesting and unique characters. Especially movies like Corpse Bride and Coraline.

Penny can possess and control the living, does she have any other powers we can look forward to using?

Since the story of the game is that Penny takes a temp job for Death, she’s given his scythe. With this she can move around very quickly on the other side, which we call the dead side of the world. She can throw the scythe and teleport to it, if you’re skilled you can do these really sweet and long teleport jumps that both feel and looks really good.

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The “Flipping” ability is obviously a huge part of the game, how will it work in terms of puzzles?

You need to use both sides to solve the different puzzles. In one of the earlier puzzles (I’m spoiling it here) you need to help this ghost that was murdered by his wife to finally move on from limbo to wherever he’s going next. The reason he can’t move on is because he didn’t get a chance to finish painting his boat. So on the living side you find a paint barrel but when you flip to the dead side it’s a big scary monster! You need to use your scythe to knock down bait so the monster moves closer to the boat. Flip back and voilà, the paint is near the boat! There’s more to this puzzle but it gives you an idea. Flipping between the different sides and moving characters and using their abilities is the key to progression.

What different game modes can we look forward to playing? Will there be multiplayer?

Our previous game Zombie Vikings was a 4-player online game so we got kind of fed up doing these massive games. We decided to instead focus on doing what we do best, so Flipping Death is a story-driven single-player game.

Will Flipping Death be available as a physical game, or will it be as a download only?

We are looking into doing a physical release of Flipping Death but nothing is confirmed yet. We’d love to though! We’ve done physical releases in the past and they’ve done surprisingly well.

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There has been a lot of divided opinion of the Nintendo Switch – what are your thoughts on the console? Have you encountered any problems developing a game for it?

Working with the Nintendo Switch has been a smooth process since day one. We haven’t encountered any problems yet and getting the game to run was easy for us and only took a short time. I’ve been hearing this from other developers as well. Only thing compared to other consoles is the fact that you have to consider the different modes. For example in handheld mode we do small changes to the UI (making it clearer to see) but that’s not needed in TV mode but since the player should be able to switch between them it takes a little work getting everything to work smoothly.

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 As Sweden is known for being more open minded, what are your thoughts with regards to gay characters in games? Why do you think there isn’t there as many as straight characters?

That’s a really interesting question and something well worth exploring. I don’t know if I’m smart enough to articulate this well enough but I think historically video games have been developed by the same kind of people which I would assume are predominantly heterosexual males, and I think when you develop games you create from your own perspective or an enhanced version of who you want to be. I think that’s why we have so many games with muscular men and women with little or no clothing.

I think your question is good because it raises questions for us as developers to consider as well, just the other week we had a discussion whether or not the people in Flipping are “white”. It was just something we hadn’t thought about.

I do encourage games that addresses this subject though and from my perspective I think they’re popping up more and more. Dragon Age, Gone Home and Life is Strange are all games that have gay characters and I think that’s great. Let’s hope this happens more and it helps gamers everywhere be more open towards other sexual orientations and it moves toward a more understanding society.

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Finally, are there any more games planned for the Switch from Zoink?

We are actually looking into getting our other games out on Switch, such as Stick It to The Man and Fe but once again, I can’t confirm anything.

I am so excited for Flipping Death it’s just the type of game Nintendo needs to highlight their console that it can provide an interesting and different experience that isn’t from a first party game. Will it be flipping brilliant or just flipping the bird in your face? Check back here soon in my review soon!

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