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Jake Pawloski Interview – Griff the Winged Lion by Breakerbox Studios

To say that I am excited for Griff the Winged Lion is about right.  This is a new 3D action platform title by Breakerbox Studios that is currently on Kickstarter.  Now, when checking out the video you will quickly realize that this team has huge respect for Spyro the Dragon on the original Playstation.  I won’t keep you any longer- the interview is after the jump.

Previous coverage of Griff the Winged Lion is available here on Retro Gaming Magazine.

Retro Gaming Magazine) Please introduce yourself
Jake Pawloski) My name’s Jake, I’m an indie game developer and Project Lead on Griff. I’ve been playing games since the 80’s (first experiences were Super Mario Bros. on NES and Pitfall on 2600). I work with several amazingly talented team mates at Breakerbox Studios. We’re totally excited about our next project, we just need to get Griff out of the way first, I’m kidding, Griff is what we’re really excited about, haha!

RGM) Why Spyro as inspiration?
JP) I’m so nostalgic for Spyro games on the original Playstation, they’re some of my favorites! 3D platformers are my favorite genre too. The times I had on the original Playstation were some of the best in my life as a gamer, so there’s a kind of magic for me to be making a game like this.
RGM) What pitfalls of the 3D action platformer did you put at the top of the list to avoid when creating Griff the Winged Lion?
JP) Great question. As long-time gamers and platformer fans, we’ve felt the many frustrations which had us asking that famous question ‘What were they thinking?!’ In every subject we have things to avoid. Despite being 3D retro-inspired, we’ve done away with the low resolution and low frame-rate of older games. With the art design I wanted to make something familiar and likable and avoid some of the 90’s designs that feel a bit awkward today (such as big shiny irises with blank stares or poses that try to be ‘cool’ such as arm folding on the cover or giving a thumbs up).

With the gameplay, we’re avoiding long loading screens or slow, unskippable messages. You’ll be able to skip text and play seamlessly. We’re aiming to make the game challenging and fun without being overly difficult or tedious and are avoiding camera issues (the player and the camera must get along very well or it can ruin an entire gaming experience). These are just a few of the things we feel determined about.
RGM) Why the three different visual styles?
JP) Some of the options are to suit the gamer’s needs like resolution and texture settings, but the three styles are fun and allow players to experience the game in whole new ways (with a unique achievement/bonus for beating the game in each style). The music in Griff also alters to the style you have chosen, becoming more like that commonly heard on the console its inspired by.

RGM) Did you plan the announcement of Griff around the 21st birthday of Spyro on Playstation?
JP) That was the universe doing its thing mostly. I knew it had been two decades and could feel the need to make this game, but the exact timing was a fun coincidence!

RGM) What are the challenges of creating a game like Griff the Winged Lion?
JP) Wow… there are some pretty hefty challenges associated with style mimicry. We can only use a certain number of polygons, which saves time in some regards, but adds to the challenge of making it look good despite the limit. Getting it to play authentically like an older game, but finding what we should do away with, improving animations and getting the core mechanics right are some pretty big challenges.

There’s a fun challenge in programming shaders for the styles. The default resolution pixelates like low-res yet is a crisp widescreen (1920×1080).

RGM) What is the “hook” gamers need to be aware of with Griff the Winged Lion?
JP) The world is your collectible. Griff’s main weapons are the Midas Gloves. With them, you can turn hundreds of objects and enemies into gold and bash them into gold parts. Heavy focus on collecting similarly to Spyro, Crash, Jak and Ratchet games.

RGM) Just in case the Kickstarter is not successful, what is the backup plan for completing Griff?
JP) The backup plan is to continue promoting beyond, developing a community and continuously being here for fans. We may launch a new campaign and may receive funding from a potential game investor, but at the end of the day it’s the individual supporter who makes the biggest difference! Please like, favorite and back us if you can! We invite you to join in the fun with great rewards, loads of new content, fellow fans of the genre and upcoming events!

RGM) No love for Nintendo Wii U from Griff the Winged Lion?
JP) Thanks for asking this, I had to do a bit of research on porting to this particular console before I could say anything about goals. We’re very interested in making a Wii U version and I’ll be adding this to the game info.

RGM) Anything you would like to say to the fans of Griff the Winged Lion?
JP) I’m really glad to be meeting so many awesome gamers who love the same classics we do! Thanks for supporting our tribute to those good times! Like us at, email us
at we’d love to hear from you!

If you want to check out concept art, videos of Griff the Winged Lion in action or the more detailed story head over to their Kickstarter page.  While there, why not throw some support their way?  We NEED more games like this in gaming today so please remember that if you are hesitating on that pledge button.

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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