Make some noise for... Platinum! While our most musical Choices book is on a mid-season break, we took the chance to nab a few members of the Platinum team for a quick look behind-the-scenes. Platinum is definitely one of our more unique Choices books, not just because of its karaoke potential, but because of how it got made! So, let's get into it:
By now, I think Platinum needs no introduction, but you all do! What do you do at Pixelberry, and specifically on Platinum?
Luke: Hi, I’m Luke, one of the book leads on Platinum! I was previously lead writer on Open Heart, Ride-or-die, Endless Summer, and Most Wanted.
Coco: I'm Coco, the other lead on Platinum! Before this, I was book lead on Perfect Match 1-2 and Rules of Engagement 2-4. On Platinum, my work mainly revolves around editing, re-writing, and incorporating the code/music/art to turn the story into playable chapters for you all!
Daniel: I'm the music director for Pixelberry. Specifically for Platinum, I oversaw the music direction!
Stella: I'm an art producer here at Pixelberry. For Platinum, I handle art production (surprise!) -- scheduling, assisting with requests and feedback for art, and generally just making sure our art team is able to get things done on time for those weekly chapter drops!
How did Platinum get its start? What was the brainstorm journey and creative process like?
Luke: Personally, I've always been a huge fan of Choices’ soundtrack, and we wanted to make something that would really push what our game was capable of, musically. Platinum led to a ton of advances in our music engine (special thanks to our devs!) that other Books in Choices are going to make awesome use of.
First, we brainstormed and outlined the whole story of Platinum in-house. Then, we contracted a freelance writer, Peyton, to write the first draft. Then came the art, the music, the rewrites, the budget (!!!), and putting all the pieces together into the finished product you get to play.
How has Platinum changed from the early days? What's been the most challenging thing about working on Platinum? The most rewarding?
Luke: The toughest part of production by far was the songs: not just working with producers and musicians to make them catchy and believable, but figuring out how to feature them in the middle of an interactive story. But even today I still get some of those songs stuck in my head, and that’s a great feeling. (I’m even teaching myself how to play them on the guitar!)
Coco: In terms of what has changed from the beginning, we brainstormed alternatives to some of the character arcs and endings, especially Jaylen's! We tried to make it more of a nuanced relationship, and you can either encourage the rivalry for fans or treat her as an ally...
One of the most challenging parts has been keeping track of your fans over the course of the story, which involves a lot of spreadsheets! As for what was rewarding, I enjoyed exploring the different ways the characters try to find their own voices and authenticity in the story. I'm really curious to see what path people take... if their reputation is an Artist, Influencer, or Diva! I also loved seeing all the supportive comments and hearing the song covers that people have created.
Let's talk music. This got answered in last month's general Q&A blog post, but: Can you expand on how the songs in Platinum got made?
Daniel: It took a lot of collaboration across departments to get these songs made! They started as moods we had for certain points in the story assigned to specific characters, like a fun dance-y song about love by the main character, or an emotional ballad by Avery. Once we had those figured out, we started putting together lyrics with our writers -- thank you to The Freshman and America's Most Eligible writers! -- and composing music with our friends at the Noise Distillery.
Once we had both of those locked down, we went through a lengthy audition process to find the perfect vocalists for our characters. Then, we got the vocals recorded and polished the tracks in-house. A lot of people put tons of love and work into these songs, and we hope it shows! One of my favorite songs is coming up in a few chapters...
We're all super busy at Pixelberry, but I know art producers are EXTRA busy, so here's a quick question: What's been the most fun part of working on Platinum? And who's your fave character?
Stella: Hard to say... I think the most fun part has been working more collaboratively with the team on creation of the lyrics screens. I was pretty excited to see a set of lyrics with actual vocals in our game for the first time, especially after not really knowing what they'd actually turn out to look like. My favorite character is Hank -- such a tough looking guy with a sweet nature!
Which song in Platinum would you pick to sing during karaoke?
Coco: I love Liar, the first original track of the main character that can be sung to a big audience! It's so catchy!
Luke: Avery’s Lift Me Up. First time I heard it is the first time I thought we might actually pull this book off!
Daniel: I would sing Liar at karaoke! This was the first track we made to see if this whole pop song experiment would be possible, and it's still one of my favorites. It's so catchy and I often find myself in the shower singing, "Why do I love you, all you do is lieeeeee"!
What can readers look forward to in the next few chapters of Platinum? Give us a hint!
Coco: Everything comes to a head in the last few chapters! You'll attend the biggest awards ceremony in the music industry, go through some obstacles, and try to build yourself up again before the biggest show of your life. Also... the banana suit makes a reappearance. We're excited for you to play it!
You heard it here first! Step back into the spotlight in Platinum on 8/22, when we return with Chapter 12! Ready to sing your heart out?