Soda Drinker Pro Is Coming to Xbox One
The developer behind the game said there are some big surprises in store.
Around five years ago, Cambridge resident (he lived in Somerville at the time) Will Brierly woke up in the middle of the night, thirsty for a soda. It was then that it dawned on the software developer that he needed to create a first-person video game where the entire premise would center on drinking soda, and collecting “bonus soda” points.
âIt just came to me,â said Brierly, fresh from a trip to PAX East, where a following of fans of his video game Soda Drinker ProÂ flocked in full costume to meet the man behind the interactive soda-guzzling game.
Soda Drinker Pro is billed by Brierly as an âFSP,â or âFirst Person Sodaâ game that gives the vantage point of typical First Person Shooters like Call of Duty. But instead of guns, users are armed with a fizzy soft drink as they navigate hundreds of levels and collect points.
As if having a fan following wasnât exciting enough, Brierly is now celebrating news that his unique game will be available to play on Xbox One in September, complete with real-time simulation using Xboxâs Kinect feature. BeingÂ Kinect-enabled, players will be able to lift a can of soda to their face in real life, and the actions will be mimicked on the screen in the game. The game is being madeÂ available through ID@Xbox, a self-publishing program for independent developers.
Fascinated by the fact that a simple creation likeÂ Soda Drinker Pro went from a computer game developed in Brierly’s spare time, to a full-on cult-classicÂ with international interest, we decided we needed to find out what other new features are underneath the cap for the upcoming Xbox release.
Whatâs going to be different now that it’s going to be on Xbox?
Itâs definitely going to be adding a lot of content, and to the Kinect port. We are still integrating that, and adding in a bunch of new levels and all of that. The actual core gameplay isnât going to change as much as far as the fluid dynamics and simulation aspects to it. Just trying to stay realistic on the simulation side. But there’s something a lot of people donât know about the game.
In the second level of it, if you stand next to a rock for like a minute, it actually unlocks an entire full game thatâs like 10 times bigger than Soda Drinker itself.
Is it still the Soda Drinker game?
Itâs something completely different. Itâs all really pretty, hand-drawn artwork. Itâs a beautiful game in itself. A lot of people call it a mini-game, but it’s actually way bigger than the game itself. Itâs like a secret game.
What do you do in that game that you donât do in Soda Drinker?
In that game (called Vivian Clark), you start out as a raindrop, and you fall from the sky, and whatever you land on you become. So if you land on a bird, you become that bird, or if you land on a plane, you become that plane. Then youâre flying around, and then depending on what you do when youâre the planeâsay youÂ crash into the groundâthatâs going to hit a building, set it on fire, and blow it up or whatever, and thatâs going to change all these other aspects in the world. So depending on what you do in these different places, itâs like a million different worlds all connected to each other, and they all interact with each other in different ways. Itâs a completely different aesthetic to the game and itâs way bigger than Soda Drinker itself. Thatâs where a huge amount of the work is going, itâs making it soâwe want to make it so itâs just like nothing anyone has seen before.
When playing Soda Drinker, you can grab a can of soda and it will mimic the actions on the Xbox, right?
You have a funny name for this type-of-style game.
Yeah, usually a First Person Shooter is called an FPS. But this you can walk around and drink a soda, so First Person SodaâFPS.
This gameâs been out for a long time, but the buzz has continued to grow.
Yeah, so it was made a bunch of years ago, and it was just five levels. I was seriously thirsty one day and I thought it would be neat to make. I didnât really show anyone or do anything with it at first, and then it ended up that a guy was putting on a festival in Providence, and he had heard about the game and asked me to give a talk about it there. From there things just started getting crazy, and people started playing it. It went from five levels, to 20 levels, to over 100âand then Oculus Rift support.
Wait, whatâs that?
It has Oculus Rift support. It works with virtual reality now. All of this crazy stuff has happened. I would have never, ever expected it. Somewhere in the middle there we started building Vivian Clark into it, because it was a game I had been working on for awhile, and decided we needed to just slip it in to make it a game inside of a gameâlike a secret passage.
After all this time, did you ever expect it would become an Xbox game?
I didnât expect itâIâm psyched thatâs happeningâbut the way it started was I was talking to someone and I was joking around about how cool it would be to see it on a console, because itâs neat how far itâs gone so far. My friend said, âlet me introduce you to someone at Xbox,â and from there, he had already heard of the game before, so it was just nice. Iâm excited. Itâs really an honor to be part of this.
When does the game actually come out?
Itâs looking like September, but we have a lot of work to do. Right now, thereâs a lot in this Vivian Clark world, thereâs so much stuff there. Itâs a lot of work.
How many people are working with you?
Itâs mostly my brother and I. Thereâs also a couple of artistsâMatt Mozzone and Nicole Duennebierâwho have chipped in a lot of work with me too. Nicole, she has got a bunch of stuff in galleries, and she did the album cover for one of Amanda Palmerâs albums. She really is just up there. Same with Matt. He has done a bunch of gallery stuff and a bunch of movies, stuff like that. Heâs really good, and theyâre both good friends. I love their work.
So itâs just the four of you working on this and getting it ready for the Xbox release?
Yeah, but the other thing is we are bringing in a lot of guest developers and artists for Vivian Clark. The way the game is built, is itâs, like, hundreds of different interconnected roads, and game fields, so we have other studios that are really good that are making worlds for it.
When Xbox picks up a game like this do they fund it so you can work on it full time?
Not yet. With that stuff, as far as whatâs happening, we are funding it at the moment. Right now, we are all working our own regular jobs and doing this at the same time, which is what makes us super busy. But at the same time we will hopefully have some sort of deal set in stone very soon. Because the way this works, we have to work on these games 24-hours a day.
That much work?
I mean, hopefully itâs not 24. Maybe 23. Itâs one of those things, I feel like thereâs suchâyou can do something really neat here, and I want to make it something that people will really love. Whatever opportunity that presents itself so I can make this [happen], thatâs the key. These things donât happen all the time.
Going back to the game, are you going to retain the aesthetic thatâs going on right now? It has that retro type of feel.
With Soda Drinker, itâs going to be the exact same aesthetic as before. Thereâs a very specific style I used to make those levels. Iâm left-handed, but I do all of the artwork with my right hand using the mouse, so it comes out all funny looking.
Is that your trick?
That, and there are a bunch of others things you have to do to keep it consistent. You have to do it so you get a free, but weird-looking spirit in this. Youâre not thinking too much about it. You crank it out, and donât think about it and just do it. And in the end itâs just, ‘do I think itâs fun or funny?’
It sounds like you have had a lot of fun with it.
Thatâs the key. Itâs a game thatâs not, you know, itâs not like you are trying to get the highest score. Itâs like, the idea is just about having fun, and bringing whatever you want to the table with it. Thatâs the key, having fun with it. Simple, and nice, and itâs cool.
Cool enough to build a fan base at PAX East, too.
Oh yeah we had a booth at PAX, it was amazing!Â We had one last year and at that time people were still learning about [the game], while this year lots of people already knew about it and were coming to see it so it was extra fun!Â People brought us giant replica Bonus Sodas, I saw about 4 people dressed up as Bonus Sodas, it was nuts!Â And still lots of new people learned about the game this year too. It was definitely an incredible experience.
Even though you have fans, do you ever worry that someone is going to yell at you for promoting soda drinking?
[Laughs] You know, you can drink Seltzer water too. It might happen. I got a couple of angry letters once from someone who was really mad that this game was out there, and itâll happen, but I think, you know, donât drink too much soda. Regular water is good. Drink soda in moderation.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/blog/2014/04/16/soda-drinker-pro-coming-xbox-one/