December 20th 2013 7:37 am PT

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood Draws Near on Xbox One

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, out today on Xbox One, is what developer Press Play is referring to as a “Cinematic Puzzle Platformer,” meaning that it is a puzzle game first and foremost, with platforming, exploration and a focus on storytelling. In this title, Max, equipped only with a powerful Magic Marker and his wits, attempts to make it across a hostile fantasy world in order to rescue his kidnapped brother.

Earlier this week, I spoke with Press Play Studio Director Mikkel Thorsted about what to expect when you play.

Jeff Rubenstein, Xbox: Xbox gamers might not be familiar with your previous title, Max and the Magic Marker. How is it related to and how is it different from Max: The Curse of Brotherhood?

Mikkel Thorsted, Press Play: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a re-imagining of the original idea behind the previous title, rather than an actual sequel. Basically, we wanted another go at it, only much, much more ambitious. When we made the last game, we were fewer people, less skilled, and did not have access to the kind of budget we do now. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is by far the biggest game we’ve made to date and we are very proud of the final result. The new game is bigger in every way – more story, more puzzles, more powers, and more worlds.

Xbox: What new elements does Max bring to the platforming genre?

Press Play: There are a lot of puzzle platformers out there these days, so it is hard to stand out as totally unique. But we believe our Magic Marker is rather special – we have spent a lot of time and effort on making it feel and play really well with a controller, and I like to think that shows. On top of that, our ambition was to make a “proper” world in our game, so there is a lot of depth to our world compared to a lot of other 2.5 platformers. You are never going to see platforms floating in mid-air or the world being presented in cut-sections. If something is in the world, it is there in a way that makes sense.

Xbox: What types of abilities does Max’s marker present to players?

Press Play: Throughout the game, Max and the Marker unlock new ways to interact with the environment. Scattered around the world are glowing nodes – basically tears in the fabric of reality where Max is able to tap into the raw magic of the world – and depending on the kind of node, Max can create trees to climb, pillars of earth to lift giant boulders, make geysers of water shoot him dozens of feet into the air or fire great balls of fire at his enemies – just to name a few examples.

Xbox: Talk about your approach to gameplay prompts – Kotaku praised the fact that the game lets you figure it out instead of hand-holding. Was that a conscious decision?

Press Play: Very much a conscious decision, and we’re extremely pleased at the way people react to it. There seems to be a trend in many games at the moment where the level of handholding goes to absolutely absurd levels, and we really wanted to avoid that. As far as we’re concerned, that level of handholding is not respecting your players, that’s demeaning them. We want to appeal to players that don’t need to be told how to jump, and who can derive a level of satisfaction from figuring things out on their own simply through intuition and (hopefully) clever level design. As far as we’re concerned, that aspect of discovery simply heightens immersion to the benefit of all.

Xbox: What does working on the Xbox One allow Press Play to accomplish?

Press Play: Well, it’s a whole other ballgame in terms of sheer power, obviously. We can lather on the polygons, shaders and advanced lighting and not have the machine die on us. But perhaps more importantly, it is a lot closer to a regular PC in terms of game development, which means more time spent on making games and less on figuring out the arcane rituals needed to make it do what you want.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is now available for Xbox One and will arrive on Xbox 360 in early 2014.

Interview, Xbox 360, Xbox One By Jeff Rubenstein

  • erichsouza

    Really, you guys should consider adding some demos for those ‘smaller’ games, just like we have with XBLA games on the 360. It’s a shame that with a very low number of release games at this point, the lack of demos is horrible. I’d like to try this one but I wouldn’t be happy to spend money on a game that I’ve almost never heard before, even if it looks fine.

    • Arcona

      Totally agree. There’s a number of games I’ve thought about buying for my X1. but I want to try them first. And because I can’t I’ve simply not bought them.

      • Brian

        Take a chance. It’s $15. I guarantee you’ve bought a ton of $60 stinkers there were no demos for.

        • erichsouza

          From where I’m from, we have a sing: money doesn’t take disrespect. Not just because it’s cheap, it means I can just waste money. For 15 bucks, I’d rather go after some DLC instead of a game I barely heard of.

          • Brian

            Read reviews then. Not all games have demos, and most really expensive ones don’t either, so not sure how you end up buying any $60 games.

          • erichsouza

            I do read reviews and follow at least 3 different gaming sites. But even so, for an arcade like game, I’d rather have a demo instead.

        • ElektroDragon

          No, I did not, because Gamefly.

    • Jeff Rubenstein

      Great feedback – will be passing this up the chain.

      • ElektroDragon

        Thank you, the lack of demos for ALL digital only titles is a huge step back. I just don’t risk buying games like this one without a demo. Period. And considering I have bought over 250 “XBLA” games last gen, that’s a LOT of lost business from me!

        • joevsyou

          plus we need a refund policy for digital.

    • evilfangs .

      Microsoft and publishers are shooting themselves in the foot with no demos and price hikes. I use to buy loads of games without really thinking but now due to prices and no demos I am thinking and deciding what games to buy.

      I had brought over 400 games in just over 7 years on my 360. The way X1 is turning out with no demos and price increase I won’t hit anywhere close to that number of games on my X1 which only hurts Microsoft and publisher as I’ll just buy second hand games.

    • LarZen

      I agree. As it is now the XBO is inferior in every regard to the X360 except graphic fidelity.

    • joevsyou

      ya, demos are stopping me drop some games out that i think is cool BUT not willing to drop any money on. Demo can help make that push

  • Danny Hogan

    Yeah i doubt anyone would blind buy games without trying a demo first !

    • Mitchell Hall

      I am. Lol. I totally know what you mean, though. I’d love to be able to play a demo of this game first but I think I’m still going to buy it. It looks super fun and I’d hate to miss out on it because there’s no demo. I don’t ever usually download demos of AAA games, I just check out reviews and game play videos and decide from there. So I’m going to do some searching for reviews now and if people have good things to say, I’m going to buy it!

    • Snook

      More games are available without demo than with and sell just fine, so yeah, plenty of people do.

      Maybe you won’t, that doesn’t = “anyone”.

    • avi

      i do.
      just watch a few videos on it, if it looks like my type of game, i just buy it.
      but maybe that’s just me.

  • Jeff Randall

    From the video, it looks like it utilizes Kinect. Does anyone know if it can be played with only a controller? The reason I ask is that I use a projecter, so I am unable to use Kinect for anything except voice commands. I’m hoping someone comes up with a 40 foot extension cable, like I’m currently using for my 360 and its Kinect.

    • Brian

      It doesn’t use Kinect at all.

    • Death Dealer

      AFAIK it doesn’t use Kinect as it didn’t when I saw it at GamesCom.
      It’s a fun game!

      • Jeff Randall

        Thanks, I wasn’t going to buy it without a demo. You are right. It is a great game!

  • StudioMultimédia Gon’Interacti

    the visual look pretty nice

  • Niknok Seyer

    I just finished installing this game. Can’t wait to get it once I get home.

  • Lucas Sanches Cestari

    i hope that in 2014 someone releases a game like ascend:hand of kul, it is a awesome game and it’s for free!!!(for xbox one)

  • ElektroDragon


  • joevsyou

    you know what would be cool? 2 player with the smart glass. The smart glass user can draw while controller can keep moving

    • ElektroDragon

      Yes. Also I found out why the game is not on Wii U too, MS owns the studio. Which begs the question, why did the developer make a game that’s a better fit for the Wii U than most Wii U games knowing they’d only release on Xbox?

    • Superryo

      That would be really awesome if they added Smart Glass and multi player and make it longer!

  • evilfangs .

    Completed, it was a decent game, now to go back and get them achievements!

  • Superryo

    Love the game. It’s beautiful to look at and fun to play and different than all the shooters out there for a change… now when are we going to get Bomberman on the Xbox One?