Twisted Pixel Games
|Headquarters||Austin, Texas, U.S.|
|Josh Bear, CCO|
Bill Muehl, CEO
Frank Wilson, CTO
Ms. Splosion Man
Number of employees
|Parent||Microsoft Studios (2011–2015)|
Oculus Studios (2021–)
Twisted Pixel Games, LLC is an American video game developer based in Austin, Texas. Originally a contractor, Twisted Pixel releases games based on its own intellectual properties such as The Maw and 'Splosion Man. The company uses its own proprietary engine, known as Beard, to power its games. On October 12, 2011, it was announced that Twisted Pixel had become part of Microsoft Studios. However, Twisted Pixel separated from Microsoft, and became an independent company again on September 30, 2015. In November 2021, the company became a subsidiary of Oculus Studios.
Twisted Pixel Games was founded in 2006 by industry veterans Michael Wilford, Frank Wilson and Josh Bear. The company first performed contract work for the now-defunct Midway Games, providing engineering work for NBA Ballers: Chosen One and Blitz: The League II. In 2008, Twisted Pixel announced that its focus had changed to digitally distributed games based on its own new intellectual properties. In 2008, the company moved from Madison, Indiana, to its current location in Austin. According to the then CEO, Michael Wilford, the move was to "tap into a broader talent pool."
Initially, Twisted Pixel targeted WiiWare as its service of choice. Speaking of the 2005 planned state of the service, Wilford said, "Back then, WiiWare was planned to be more like Xbox Live Arcade." He noted the original plans for the service would require companies to submit games to Nintendo for approval, similar to the submission process Microsoft uses for Xbox Live Arcade. Early discussions with Microsoft were not positive, but Wilford stated that Nintendo was eager to work with them. "Twisted Pixel was the first company to get a green light for WiiWare." Nintendo later changed its WiiWare model to one that required no submission process. Twisted Pixel opted not to use the service and continued talks with Microsoft. In 2007, Wilford met with David Every, the portfolio planner for Xbox Live Arcade at that time. Twisted Pixel pitched multiple games, including The Maw, which became its first Xbox Live Arcade title.
Released on January 21, 2009, The Maw tells the story of the extraterrestrial Frank and a purple, amorphous creature called The Maw, who have crash-landed their spacecraft on an alien planet. Its second title, 'Splosion Man, is a platform game where players control an escaped science experiment with the ability to explode himself repeatedly. It was released on July 22, 2009. Twisted Pixel's third title, Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley was released on October 6, 2010. Players control Captain Smiley, a comic book hero whose comics are poorly received. Seeking help from Twisted Pixel themselves he "jumps" in other comics, hoping to glean from each genre's popularity. On December 3, 2010, Twisted Pixel announced Ms. Splosion Man, a sequel to 2009's 'Splosion Man. It was released on July 13, 2011.
On February 1, 2011, the company revealed its fifth original game, The Gunstringer, a third person shooter designed for use with the Xbox 360 Kinect peripheral. The game was originally intended to be the first Xbox Live Arcade game to be featured as a Kinect title but instead became a retail release. It is set as a live-action play set in the Old West. The protagonist, killed by his posse, has been resurrected and seeks revenge. Live action sequences for the game were filmed at The Paramount Theatre in Austin where the company is located.
Its games have been generally well-received by critics, and collectively have won several awards. The Maw won the 2008 Audience Choice award at PAX10, and was a finalist at the Independent Games Festival 2009. 'Splosion Man was voted by the Xbox Live community as the Best Original Xbox Live Arcade Game of 2009. In a September 2010 ranking, IGN listed it eleventh in its top twenty-five Xbox Live Arcade titles of all time. It also received several Best of E3 awards in 2009. Captain Smiley, the lead character in Comic Jumper, received the Best New Character award from Official Xbox Magazine in 2010.
On December 5, 2021, the website was updated to announce some changes are coming. Through legal documents from the Federal Trade Commission, it became public that Twisted Pixel Games was acquired by Meta in November 2021.
All of Twisted Pixel's games are powered by Beard, a proprietary engine to compete with Epic Games' Unreal Engine. Content is developed with the company's proprietary Razor editor in conjunction with RAD Game Tools' Granny 3D animation toolset. Razor can be adapted to develop in 3D or 2.5D configurations. Games are scripted using Lua, which allows the developers to share code between titles.
|2009||The Maw||Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360||Action-adventure|
|2009||'Splosion Man||Xbox 360||Action, platform|
|2010||Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley||Xbox 360||Side-scroller, beat 'em up|
|2011||Ms. Splosion Man||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360||Platform|
|2011||The Gunstringer||Xbox 360||Third-person shooter, rail shooter|
|2011||The Wavy Tube Man Chronicles||Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows||Third-person shooter, Side-scroller|
|2013||LocoCycle||Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One||Racing, vehicular combat|
|2017||Wilson's Heart||Oculus Rift||Horror, adventure|
|2018||B-Team||Oculus Go||Action, adventure|
|2019||Defector||Oculus Rift||First-person shooter|
|Path of the Warrior||Oculus Rift||Beat'em up|
- "Twisted Pixel Games Goes Indie (Again)". September 30, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
- Kumar, Mathew (July 9, 2008). "Q&A: Twisted Pixel's Wilford On Being Swallowed By The Maw". Gamasutra. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "GameSetInterview: 'The Maw's Deleted Scenes – A Twisted Pixel Approach to DLC'". Game Set Watch. March 18, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
- "Game Informer" (September 2011). The Zen of Twisted Pixel
- Whitehead, Dan (January 29, 2009). "The Maw Xbox 360 Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
- Sessler, Adam (June 15, 2009). "Splosion Man Hands On Preview". G4TV. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
- OXM Staff (October 4, 2010). "Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley". Official Xbox Magazine UK. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
- Grant, Christopher (December 3, 2010). "Ms. Splosion Man makes her debut, sploding 'fall of 2011'". Joystiq. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
- Navarro, Alex (June 7, 2011). "The Gunstringer Is a Retail Game Now, But Is It Any Good?". Giant Bomb. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
- Fletcher, JC (January 26, 2011). "Twisted Pixel shooting video in Austin for unannounced game". Joystiq. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- Dyer, Mitch (September 30, 2015). "LocoCycle Developer Twisted Pixel Is An Indie Studio Again". IGN. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
- Fahey, Mike (September 23, 2008). "The Maw Devours PAX 10 Audience Choice Award". Kotaku. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
- "The 12th Annual Independent Games Festival: Finalists and Winners". Independent Games Festival. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
- Hryb, Larry (April 6, 2010). "Xbox LIVE Marketplace release schedule". majornelson.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
- "The Top 25 Xbox Live Arcade Games". IGN. September 16, 2010. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
- Ferry (July 22, 2009). "On Xbox Live Arcade today: Splosion Man". Video Games Blogger. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "@OXM OfficialXboxMagazine". Official Xbox Magazine. January 13, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
Well-deserved! Give the Cap our congrats. RT @mrwilford: Thanks @OXM for voting Captain Smiley as 2010's "Best New Character"! Awesome!
- "Ms. Splosion Man is coming to Switch next week". Destructoid. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
- "Twisted Pixel Games: We Make Awesome". Retrieved December 7, 2021.
- "U.S. Sues Meta To Stop 'Goal Of Owning The Entire Metaverse'". July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
- Gilbert, Ben (December 3, 2010). "Twisted Pixel's Josh Bear on giving Ms. Splosion Man more than just a bow". Joystiq. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
- "Dev Talk-Twisted Pixel Games". Gamer's Mint. February 17, 2010. Archived from the original on January 26, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- Alexander, Leigh (July 19, 2010). "Twisted Pixel Uses RAD's Granny 3D In Comic Jumper, BEARD Engine". Gamasutra. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- Grubb, Jeff (December 12, 2019). "Path of the Warrior is VR's Streets of Rage, and it's out now". VentureBeat. Retrieved December 13, 2019.