Graham Smith from DrinkBox Studios on Guacamelee

Studio: DrinkBox Studios DrinkBox was one of our first stops at PAX East, and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t seduced to the table by the presence […]

Studio: DrinkBox Studios

DrinkBox was one of our first stops at PAX East, and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t seduced to the table by the presence of a good ol’ NES. When I got there, I found two top notch games. One was called Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack. It plays like Gish if it was less an awesome concept game and more a full fledged game based on an awesome concept. (Subtle difference, I know.) I sat down and played the game and, not to toot my own horn but…


The other game, and the one we’re looking at today, is Guacamelee. Read on, won’t you?

Task: Inverted NES Challenge

Technically the challenge was to beat 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. with the controller upside down, which I was willing to try, but due to the idiosyncrasies of the NES, it instead became the “Severely Glitched NES Challenge”. Still counts.

Dev: Graham Smith

BrainLazy: What title would you like to discuss?

Graham Smith: Our new game, Guacamelee! which we currently announced for PS3 and PSVita.

Lava as a landscaping element. It is a lost art, I say.

BL: What was the inspiration for this title? How did you conceive of the idea?

GS: The title was pitched to us by our Animator who is originally from Mexico. He came up with the idea during a period of nostalgia after being away from his homeland for a few years.

BL: Does the game differ greatly from the original concept? What inspired the change and how did it evolve? Why did you choose your current direction?

GS: The game changed a lot from it’s initial pitch to it’s current form. Over time, we decided to make the game a Metroidvania style brawler, with a unique dimension switching mechanic.

BL: Regarding being an indie developer. Are there any prototype games that never came to fruition?

GS: Most definitely. The first demo we showed to people had very different combat mechanics than the current game does. It was a much slower moving game, and we made drastic changes to the way things worked since that prototype.

I can't put my finger on it, but I've seen that symbol before...

BL: What attracted you to indie development?

GS: The idea of working on a small team making unique games with a short development cycle was really appealing to me.

BL: Would you ever work for one of the big developers/publishers? If you already have, would you ever go back to it?

GS: I have worked for a couple of larger companies (50 – 100 employees). The experiences at these have varied. I don’t have any intention of leaving indie development right now, but I would not be opposed to going back to it if I thought the position at the company would be challenging and interesting for me.

BL: Before we wrap up, would you like to tell us a bit about your studio?

GS: Drinkbox was formed in Toronto shortly after Pseudo Interactive closed down in April 2008. The initial team was made up entirely of ex-Pseudo employees.

We began by taking on contract work to build up some cash, then used that money to apply for government grants and loans to produce our first project Tales from Space: About a Blob, which was released in February 2011. Around that time Sony approached us about the possibility of doing a title for the (then unannounced) PlayStation Vita. We jumped at the opportunity, and released Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack in Feb 2012, for the North American Vita launch.

This would be the "metroid" part of "metroidvania"

Now we are working hard on our third game, Guacamelee! a metroidvania style brawler set in Mexico (you play as a luchador). The game is scheduled to come out early 2013.

That’s it for this week’s group of indies. We’ll be back on Monday with another installment of the Megabooth look back. If DrinkBox and Guacamelee sound interesting to you, head on over to to find out more.


About Oriech

The brains behind the code that makes BrainLazy tick, Sean Cherchio is a founding member of the Brain Trust and co-owner of BrainLazy. After playing “Drowning Man #5″ in the hit film “Titanic,” Sean went on to a successful career in poultry farming. Rumor has it he has inhabited the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey since the early 1800′s. He has cloven hooves, bat-like wings, and is immune to cannon fire.