Recently released Super Arcade Football is a throwback to classic football games and aims to deliver on an easy to learn, fun to play experience for all players. We recently got to put some questions to studio founder Ali Motisi about why they focused on fun, accessibility, and inclusivity when creating Super Arcade Football.
Could you tell us a little bit about Out of The Bit and how you got started?
I always wanted to create my own company, ever since I started programming when I was 8. After working for different companies in London, I decided to go independent when the iPhone came out. I started OutOfTheBit to make games for the App Store launch in July 2008.
I felt that a good place to start was with classic Italian card games that were well-suited to the iPhone touch screen. Over time, we moved towards more complex games and original projects. Planet Quest, a mobile rhythm game, was featured on mobile stores and was very popular in East Asia. Super Arcade Racing, which was a top-down 2D racing game created in our own custom engine, was well received also.
Does the team have many real-life football fans? Which teams do you support? I’m a Liverpool fan myself.
A few of us love football. My wife and I are big fans of both the Italian and English national teams. Some of us are also enthusiastic about the game of football but dislike the money-motivated culture of modern professional football, which is something we explore in the story of Super Arcade Football.
Super Arcade Football is incredibly easy to pick up and play, was accessibility in terms of controls something that you were keen to bring to the game?
Yes, it was. It all started when I was at my friend’s house and we asked some friends who aren’t gamers to join us in playing a very popular football game. They couldn’t figure out the controls at all. So, I decided to create the opposite experience, where the controls were easy to figure out. Anyone of any age or skill level won’t have a problem playing Super Arcade Football. All you need is a joystick or arrow keys to move, and one button to pass, cross, and shoot.
The controls are simple to learn and easy to pick up, but they also offer a degree of depth. This makes the skill ceiling far higher than it seems at first glance.
Have you held any in-house tournaments on Super Arcade Football? Who’s the best at the game?
We have, and the winner is either me or our level designer, Gaspare. This is because we’ve both been playing the game since its inception and it goes to show that the more you play the better you get. Sometimes we put a CPU team in the tournament and it beats us because of the pressure of the tournament getting to us. Brazil is particularly challenging!
Diversity and representation are important topics in the gaming world right now. How crucial was it for you to include both men’s and women’s teams in the game?
We had the idea to include female clubs before any other football game had done it – very early in the project. We’re passionate about having diversity in the game. I’m the father of two twin girls and they were asking me from day one to have women’s teams in the game.
Being able to mix up the game with the modifiers makes the game a lot of fun. Was keeping the game more on the fun side something you really wanted to embrace?
Yes, absolutely. We didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously. There are decent football simulation games on the market – this is not one of those. We wanted to make something unique and quirky that still felt and played like a football game. One of the best things about games is that they can break the rules of reality – so we created our own universe with our own rules for this game. Where else can you have a meteor fall from the sky when you’re about to score?
Were there any modifiers that were too crazy and had to be ditched?
Yes, two come to mind. Changing the player size was something we experimented with in early access but it didn’t work as well as we hoped it would. We also had a magnet modifier that would attract the ball to your players but it completely broke the game. Imagine playing against someone where it’s impossible to take possession!
How do you see Super Arcade Football slotting alongside the more realistic football games? Do you think variety is key to helping games grow?
Super Arcade Football occupies its own unique niche. A niche that hasn’t been explored since the classic football games of the 90s. I played these games a lot in my childhood, and they had a notable influence on Super Arcade Football. It’s a lighthearted pick-up-and-play football game, with a 90s theme that both the gameplay and story stay faithful to. The fixed setting of the game, along with other features like custom tournaments, make it an evergreen football game.
On the subject of variety, it’s essential to helping games grow. We see with many big franchises that the core gameplay barely changes every year and this stunts innovation. Developers of all sizes need to experiment with new styles and formats of gameplay to advance any genre and present a fresh gameplay experience to the players.
If you were offered a football club for £1 would you say yes and be the manager?
That is a tricky question. I’d say yes, only if I lived in the Super Arcade universe.
Answers by Ali with input from the team at OutOfTheBit
A huge thank you to Ali for taking the time to answer our questions. You can pick up Super Arcade Football now on Steam, iOS and Andriod. Keep an eye out for our review coming soon.