Some of the best ideas are born of strange, stressful circumstances. Case in point: Twisted Pixel's inspired and highly enjoyable new Kinect game The Gunstringer. To hear Twisted Pixel CEO Mike Wilford and chief creative officer Josh Bear tell it, the two of them came up with the idea for the game… during their pitch meeting with Microsoft.
In a terrific write-up at Joystiq, the two men describe showing up to Microsoft to pitch a new game idea for the just-announced Xbox Kinect (still called "Project Natal" at the time). It was a big opportunity for their studio, but after seeing Kinect in action, they immediately realized that their idea wouldn't be possible using Kinect's tech.
And so, right there in a Washington Tex-Mex restaurant, the two came up with a new pitch... while in their pitch meeting.
"Mike's kind of chatting with other Microsoft people, and I'm like, frantically looking around the restaurant just trying to think of ideas," Bear said. "To my left, there was this painting of a skeleton cowboy and I looked at it and just — literally — I was like 'OK: Skeleton cowboy that needs to get revenge on posse ... marionette. Fuck it.'"
We've all been in situations like this before—maybe we didn't do the reading for class and we have to think on our feet to save face. But I can't imagine going into a meeting with one of the largest video game publishers in the world, thinking you were ready to do your thing, and then suddenly having to wing it. Let alone having your new pitch get accepted!
It's nice to see that even in the carefully controlled, focus-tested realm of AAA game development, it's still possible to fake it 'till you make it. All it takes is a lot of creativity and a little luck.