After hundreds of thousands in sales, glowing reviews and awards from many corners of the industry, and fantastic player reception — “Dead Cells” developer Motion Twin is releasing a free “Rise of the Titans” update to their hit game later this month. But once that content is out on the market, the French studio’s future couldn’t be brighter.
“We want to start on that next game, but our creative process at Motion Twin is always interesting because everyone has a say in what we do,” Steve Filby, who handled the marketing side of Dead Cells, tells Variety. “Usually we pair people off, artists, developers, and whatnot, and ask them to make a prototype or game design document to bring back and discuss with the rest of the group.”
“It’s quite new for us because that’s really the first time in eight years we actually need to decide on one project for the entire team,” Dead Cell game designer Sébastien Bénard added. “We mostly have one project for each member, or a few members, of our team. So it’s the first time we’ll need to decide what we do as a studio.”
Motion Twin, an anarcho-syndical workers cooperative (a serious term that Filby took from Monty Python of all things), gives everyone equal pay and say in the direction of the studio. It’s a structure that values work-life balance and healthy labor practices, although that also means their decision making process is more time consuming and thorough.
“Everyone has the same amount of decision power, we all have one vote. That goes toward any decision could including strategic ones, firing or hiring someone, or weapon balance,” Bénard said. “Anyone can take part if they want to in any discussion, but we still have someone in charge for every topic.”
The person in charge of those decisions usually relates to their area of expertise. Bénard will usually be the point person for major game design decisions while Filby will head up marketing discussions. “Anyone can add an idea, a suggestion, or even bring up an issue with something and address it with point person,” Bénard added. “That point person will be the one making the final decision though.”
This same process was used to decide to add a hefty content update to “Dead Cells” on March 28. It serves as a thank you to fans of the game for supporting their hectic development process that stretched from an early tower defense concept, through early access, and all the way to the full version that we know and love today.
“It’s really made out of tons of things that were suggested by the community and we wanted to make something for them,” Bénard said. “It’s also a way for us to add things that we weren’t able to get in by the release date.”
The DLC includes new weapons, enemies, balance updates, new areas, bosses, and a new skinning system with fifty new costumes. It also includes more tidbits that should help players piece together “Dead Cells” patchwork narrative– including a number of new cinematics. “It’s still a roguelike so it’s not about a story, but we still have a plot in this game and there were a few things that were not explained by the time we got to the release date,” Bénard said. “It was also a good opportunity for us to make the story complete.”
Once “Rise of the Titans” hits players on March 28, Filby was adamant about one thing. “Concretely, everyone is taking two weeks off,” he said. “Everyone has a right to take two weeks off. They must take two weeks off.”
Once everyone is back from a well-deserved break, Filby, Bénard, and the rest of the Motion Twin crew have the tall task of finding their next project. “We are already going through ideas that we might want to do and asking ourselves ‘can we do that?'” Bénard said. “Anything can be possible, making we’ll make the next ‘Skyrim.’ I don’t know what it’ll be.”