Moonshine Studios is releasing Get Packed on PS4, Xbox One, and PC this month after a stint in the Cloud with Stadia.
Crazy co-op games are all the rage these days and there’s another one coming to a console or a PC near you – Get Packed: Fully Loaded.
Get Packed: Fully Loaded is a bonkers game where you and your friends can play together to move specified items out of a building. A moving out simulator, basically, but with the hilarious physics that makes it more fun and less stressful than actually moving a sofa out of a second-floor student flat.
I spoke with a couple of the developers from Moonshine Studios, Dr Marcus Gardner and Jamie King, about how the game came to be, the inspirations behind it, the improvements we’ll see in this Fully Loaded version, and more.
The chat began with me muttering swears as I struggled to get my gear set up. It had been a long couple of days as I’d just returned from a mini-holiday in Amsterdam for my birthday. My legs were killing me, my head was banging, and I was suffering the mother of all comedowns after a couple of days of solid, well… Amsterdamming.
Chris: I’ll be honest with you lads – I got home from Amsterdam yesterday so I haven’t really done any prep for this.
Marcus: That’s alright, neither have we!
Chris: I am familiar with Get Packed – it’s good fun! I’m one of the 12 people who actually bought a Stadia controller. And, honestly… a lot of the time, when I should be working, I’m playing games on Stadia. The danger of having games play in browsers…
Chris: So… What do you wanna talk about?
Marcus: Well, er… We didn’t do that much preparation because… I guess we thought you’d have a list of questions?
Chris: Yeah… no.
Marcus: So what kind of stuff do you typically talk about in your interviews?
Chris: Anything and everything. I’ll sit here and chat crap for an hour if you let me, but I’m not the one selling a game so… I don’t like to do normal questions… Sometimes that works very well, other times… not so well. I’m hoping this will be one of the occasions where it goes well.
Marcus: NERVOUS LAUGHTER
Chris: Actually, I do have a question. See, it’s working! So, when you made Get Packed for Stadia, did you know that you were going to be porting it to other consoles later on? How does that kind of exclusivity deal work?
Marcus: Well, as with a lot of games, the intent is to try and come out on as many platforms as possible. Stadia, for us, was quite a big stepping stone. Coatsink, our publisher, managed to secure an exclusivity deal with them and we had a set period of time where we were exclusive to Stadia. That was highly beneficial for us because it meant that we could fully develop the game. While launching on a brand new, exciting platform that could potentially be the future of games. So for us, it was kind of like a two in one; to launch our first game on a brand new platform and to have the resources to do so.
Chris: Makes sense.
Marcus: As you know, being a Stadia player, Stadia has some quite beefy hardware on their end, and so because our game is very, very physics heavy, we didn’t have to do quite so much physics optimisation for Stadia as compared to the other platforms. So for the new platforms, there’s quite a lot of work we didn’t anticipate, and that’s one of the reasons it has taken so long to get it ready.
And when we were developing the extra content as well we wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just the promised new stage – we wanted to deliver more, and take what the community had requested and try to incorporate that in the content that we’re bringing out.
Chris: It sounds good, I’m looking forward to trying out the new stuff on the PS4 version, especially with local co-op – something that’s a bit of a pain to get set up with Stadia.
Marcus: Yeah, of course, it’ll be really easy – that’s the beauty of consoles!
Chris: Are there any big new features for the console version? Aside from not lagging if someone else turns on Netflix…
Marcus: Coatsink, they’ve been working on a lot of the netcode side of things, they’ve completely reworked the net coding system. So previously it was on a client-host configuration where one player would be the host and other players would connect to them.
Chris: Hmm. (All going right over my head)
Marcus: That meant sometimes if the host didn’t have a reliable internet connection, it could be a little bit –
Marcus:…Laggy. So we’ve been working on a server converter which is much much more stable. So the net side of things should be much stronger. The overall improvements are pretty considerable, and all of these updates, including the new content and game modes, will be on all platforms. So the PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions will launch with everything, and the Stadia version will get the update, too.
Chris: Nice. Also, I have another question, which is a good thing, I guess. How did you come up with the idea for Get Packed?
Jamie: It’s been almost four years now… So Moonshine began as part of our program at Falmouth University, which was bringing together people who were interested in creating a business and getting them together and supporting them for a year to make a product.
Our group was all game focused people so we decided to look at market gaps in the game industry. At the time we saw there was a market gap for local co-op games – stuff that people could play with family and friends.
Obviously, there was Overcooked and a few others, but in terms of demand we thought there was much more than the actual games that were available.
So we were thinking about the chaotic nature of life and things that we all go through in life, and since we’d all moved to Cornwall, moving was so fresh in our minds, so it kind of came from that. We did some brainstorming sessions and our artist Cal, he saw some students move in or something and saw them trying to pack something into a van and it was a struggle. So that became the idea and we started prototyping it and we quickly realised it was fun and that’s where it expanded.
Chris: I think you are bang on the money there – moving home is very, very relatable and, well, I’m an old man now, I’m 31 –
Marcus: You’re younger than me!
Chris: Really?!?! Jesus Christ, you look like a child! No offence – that’s me being nice…
Marcus: ANOTHER NERVOUS LAUGH
Chris: I’ve moved several times over the years – I’ve moved to different countries – and every time… so bloody stressful. If I was allowed to throw all the crap out of a window and into a van, that would have made it much easier.
Marcus: Haha, that’s it! Sometimes you have to weigh up whether you want to take the item or just leave it behind.
Chris: Exactly! I always leave something behind on a move. So, tell me about how the game came to be? What were the inspirations behind the silly physics and the setting?
Jamie: The actual physics part of the game was almost like a happy accident. We originally planned it to be quite Tetris-like, almost, where everything could only fit in the van a certain way.
And then when we were prototyping it, it was actually easier to just use the in-built physics and realised it was way more fun.
Chris: So the lazy option won out? Nice!
Jamie: Yeah, basically! But then we tried to push those physics as far as possible and then by the end we were like “oh god why did we use physics” because it’s such a nightmare on the coding side. But, you know, ultimately it makes the game what the game is.
Marcus: Yeah I think when we were halfway through development we wondered “why aren’t there so many games that implement so much top-down physics” and then halfway through development we went “ah, right, that’s why… it’s a real pain…”
Jamie: I remember when we were prototyping the game and trying to get publisher interest and we showed it to a few different ones – I won’t name names – and we mentioned that we wanted it to be online too and they were like “that’s impossible, you can’t… it won’t… it cant be done” kind of thing.
Jamie: Yeah! But luckily we had Coatsink and their big brains working on it.
Chris: Well, I do hope you’ve sent a few “told you so” emails to those silly publishers… They’ll see it on the various digital storefront on the 29th, right?
Marcus: Correct. July 29th.
Chris: That’s two days after Flight Simulator comes out on Xbox. You brave bastards.
Marcus: I like to think they’re very different audiences
Chris: We’ll see…
Marcus: I would actually love to play something like Flight Simulator but certain types of games… I’d like to get very much immersed in it. But I don’t have the physical set-up for it.
Chris: Mate, you don’t need all that fancy stuff. You need American Truck Simulator, a few tunes – I recommend The Killers – and then you can just sit for hours on end like a gorm.
I’ve been there many times where my partner would walk into the living room at 6am and ask “are you coming to bed at all?” and I’m like “I’m delivering logs to Texas, go away!”
Marcus: Yeah, I totally understand. It’s part of the appeal with Get Packed: Fully Loaded – doing something that is seemingly normal and something that most people go through. It’s a dull, boring activity – moving, not the game – and putting our own slapstick spin on it is what I love.
Actually, one of my old favourites was Surgeon Simulator. A lot of people really struggled with that but for some reason I absolutely loved it – I got all the achievements!
It’s like, you know that surgery does happen, but having it happen in such a silly way makes it more fun, you know?
Chris: Yeah, I get that – it’s something I love, too. Taking the mundane and turning it into something brilliant. And to be fair, you’ve managed that really well with Get Packed. It’s fun, it’s silly, it makes you laugh, and I imagine playing in local co-op is really good fun, too. And everybody can play from –
Marcus: July 29th is when we launch.
Chris: Fantastic. But, as I said, Flight Sim is on the 27th so I might be busy jumping puddles on the red eyes, ducking under dusks and never seeing dawn. Maybe I can take the simulation to the next level and play Get Packed: Fully Loaded while I’m on one of my flights?
Get Packed: Fully Loaded releases July 29th, 2021 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam.
Thank you to Dr Marcus Gardner and Jamie King for taking the time out of their day, and for the PR rep Chris for making it happen.