Hey, it's finally been announced, so I can finally tell y'all what Torpex Games has been doing for the past year and a half.
Bejeweled Blitz LIVE!
What is it? It's Bewejeled Blitz both in a classic mode that's like the Facebook one and in a Twist mode like Bejeweled Twist, the Bejeweled where you rotate gems instead of swapping them. We worked very closely with PopCap on this - and we were thrilled they let us take care of their baby, that shows a lot of trust - and a couple things we brought to the table included a "king of the skies" mechanic for the 16-player party mode and the ability to twist the gems in both directions in Twist - something that didn't make sense for the more puzzle-y PC version of Twist, but works great for the frantic Blitz Twist. We also gave it a slick high-tech-looking UI.
One place where I've really got to give extra props to PopCap - iterating on the controls. It's damn hard to make a gamepad feel as good as a mouse, and long after I was ready to throw up my hands and say, "I think this is as good as we can make it," they kept on, wanting to try new experiments, mechanics, and tuning. And they were right. We ended up with something that feels really great.
It's no secret that I'm a big fan (addict?) of Bejeweled Blitz. Basically, this is Bejeweled Blitz for the hardcore. Particularly with the network play I can now prove that yes, the reason I beat you at Blitz on Facebook isn't because I simply play a lot more than you, or because I got lucky, it's because I'm just plain better. Or maybe it's your opportunity to prove that you're better than me. (I'm talking to my brother here, who does tend to wipe the floor with me on Facebook.) Bring it.
I'm also excited that now there'll be a game I can quickly get in a session or two of while we're watching a DVD or Netflix and my wife goes to get a snack...
It has been selected to be part of Microsoft's "House Party" spring block promotion in February. And people are already sounding excited about it.
Aaaaand now we need another gig. We've been pitching something, a game Richard Garfield designed, and the people in the pitch meetings all sound really excited, but then - people in pitch meetings usually do. Fingers crossed.