Nominee | Excellence in Design

Created by Michael Brough.

Each year at GDC, MFA students from the NYU Game Center interview the Independent Games Festival nominees, asking them three questions about their development process. In addition to this interview, you can read all the insightful interviews from 2017 here. These conversations, and much more, will happen when the Game Center returns to GDC in 2018. Learn more about the Game Center at GDC 2017.

Burgess Voshell: What was the main concept, image, or question that began this project for you?

Michael Brough: I mean, I’ve written a blog about this already.

Burgess Voshell: Yeah, I’ve read some of that! So in the interview I’ll just say ‘Refer to blog.’

Michael Brough: I was going for like an inventory management, like trying to make inventory management interesting. So I wanted a small grid that you fit objects in and it’s like a tight system. You know, I’ve played RPGs where you can be carrying like ten suits of platemail and I wanted to have a really constrained space where you’re trying to fit stuff in.

Burgess Voshell: Can you describe a specific experience with another game or media that influenced you as you were working on Imbroglio?

Michael Brough: Yeah, I was reading Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories and he had this black sword that sucks the souls of enemies, but also betrays its owner and turns around and buries itself in the heart of his best friend and it’s awful.

Burgess Voshell: Sounds great!

Michael Brough: Yeah, I though this theme of having something powerful, but evil works well for video games. You’re killing all these monsters and it’s great and that’s a wonderful thing to be doing, but is it?! Do we want to be killing all this stuff, maybe the power that we kill all the stuff with is going to betray you. I didn’t get as much of that theme into the game as I wanted, but I was thinking about it.

Burgess Voshell: Is there a specific tool or methodology that you feel was important in shaping a unique aspect of your game?

Michael Brough: Tool or methodology…yeah, something that has come up in a few of my games, the idea of taking two spaces that are conceptually distinct and making them overlaid on each other so it’s like really always in this case you’ve got the inventory and you’ve got the grid that you’re moving around on and those are the same space. If you have two things that are kind of a similar shape, but they’re doing different things, what if they’re the same thing? That’s the question to ask yourself. Here’s one answer.

Burgess Voshell is an artist, designer, and MFA student at the NYU Game Center.