PlaySide North Launches Defend The Bits TD
Australian Publisher PlaySide Studios‘ new Gold Coast location PlaySide North is launching its debut title, Defend The Bits TD. Based in Helensvale, PlaySide North allows the studio to take advantage of assistance from Screen Queensland to subsidise production and develop local talent just a short drive from one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations – The Logan Hyperdome.
Available right now in Early Access form, Defend The Bits TD is a tower defence style game that “tasks the player to become a BIT hero, as they strive to overcome the horde of invading blocks relentlessly invading their lands.” Players can choose from over 20 characters armed with an array of weaponry to complete over 100 quests in biomes ranging from lush grasslands to eerie caves and bubbling volcanoes. Featuring a vibrant art style and frenetic gameplay, Defend The Bits TD is set to receive ongoing support and should keep tower defence fans happy for many hours. Player2 was given the chance to correspond with Steven Yeakley of PlaySide North to discuss Defend The Bits and the process of launching a new studio.
Player 2: What was the genesis of Defend The Bits? In the past I’ve heard of studios running ‘internal jams’ to find new ideas, was there a similar process?
Steven Yeakley: Defend The Bits was a project that was made with a lot of love for mobile and was one of the many games that inspired us to venture further into the strategy space with Age of Darkness: Final Stand.
It’s a fun game and even internally we’re very excited about it being on PC finally. It actually came about as team members were playing the game for fun. Given the expertise in strategy games that we’ve built since its original creation, it seemed like a very natural fit for us to dip our toes into the tower defence space on PC.
A core part of our development process as a studio is ensuring that we’re as close to our players as possible to ensure we can get feedback, understand the needs of players and to work with them to make the best game possible. We’re only just getting started!
P2: Are there long-term support plans in place for Defend The Bits, or are PlaySide North already underway on another new title?
SY: We have a team actively working on Defend The Bits and are committed to supporting the game alongside the community. We look forward to working with them and taking on their feedback now and into the future.
We have ambitious plans for Defend The Bits and we’re excited to get new features and content into players’ hands throughout Early Access.
P2: What challenges have you faced in launching a new studio?
SY: The challenges centered on finding an ideal location that allowed access to talent on both the Gold Coast and Brisbane which we think we have achieved by locating the studio at Helensvale. The fitout went seamlessly and now we are focussed on hiring of talent so overall there haven’t been massive challenges for us to achieve this
P2: How integral are incentives like Queensland’s PDV to ensuring Australian developers can foster new talent and compete against global competitors?
SY: The Screen Queensland PDV has definitely been a contributing factor in our decision to locate our studio on the Gold Coast. The work that IGEA have done to assist in getting this in place is also to be commended. We look forward to other states offering similar incentives schemes in the future.
P2: What makes PlaySide North unique when compared to PlaySide Studios?
SY: To be honest we have not sought to make it unique. We want our people to feel like it’s one company wherever we have our studios so consistency in how we operate is critical to that objective.
P2: PlaySide has obviously worked with some extremely well-known licensed IP’s – do you have a ‘dream IP’ you’d love to work on?
SY: There are a number of preferred IP’s that we are pursuing as part of our strategy and they can be difficult to secure. We look forward to sharing more about these in the future.
P2: How will PlaySide North factor into the development agreement with 2K Games?
SY: We are really pleased to be working with 2K games but we don’t comment publicly on the operations of this agreement.
Defend The Bits TD is available on PC via Steam Early Access right now.