Twisted Pixel Games

Twisted Pixel Games 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.[1]

Twisted Pixel Games, LLC.
IndustryVideo game industry
HeadquartersAustin, Texas, U.S.
Key people
Josh Bear, CCO
Bill Muehl, CEO
Frank Wilson, CTO
ProductsThe Maw
'Splosion Man
Comic Jumper
Ms. Splosion Man
The Gunstringer
Wilson's Heart
Number of employees
ParentMicrosoft Studios (2011–2015)


Twisted Pixel Games was founded in 2006 by industry veterans Michael Wilford, Frank Wilson and Josh Bear.[2] 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.[2] 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."[3]

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."[4] 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."[4] 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.[4]

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.[5] Its second title, 'Splosion Man, is a platform game where players control an escaped science experiment with the ability to explode himself repeatedly.[6] 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.[7] On December 3, 2010, Twisted Pixel announced Ms. Splosion Man, a sequel to 2009's 'Splosion Man.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

On September 30, 2015, Twisted Pixel Games announced that it had been separated from Microsoft Studios and had become an independent studio again.[11]

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,[12] and was a finalist at the Independent Games Festival 2009.[13] 'Splosion Man was voted by the Xbox Live community as the Best Original Xbox Live Arcade Game of 2009.[14] In a September 2010 ranking, IGN listed it eleventh in its top twenty-five Xbox Live Arcade titles of all time.[15] It also received several Best of E3 awards in 2009.[16] Captain Smiley, the lead character in Comic Jumper, received the Best New Character award from Official Xbox Magazine in 2010.[17]

On November 14, 2018, it was announced that Ms. Splosion Man would be launching on the Nintendo Switch on November 22.[18]


All of Twisted Pixel's games are powered by Beard, a proprietary engine to compete with Epic Games' Unreal Engine.[19] Content is developed with the company's proprietary Razor editor in conjunction with RAD Game Tools' Granny 3D animation toolset.[20][21] 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.[20]

Games developed

Year Title Platform(s) Genre
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
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


  1. ^ "Twisted Pixel Games Goes Indie (Again)". September 30, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Kumar, Mathew (July 9, 2008). "Q&A: Twisted Pixel's Wilford On Being Swallowed By The Maw". Gamasutra. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "GameSetInterview: 'The Maw's Deleted Scenes – A Twisted Pixel Approach to DLC'". Game Set Watch. March 18, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c "Game Informer" (September 2011). The Zen of Twisted Pixel
  5. ^ Whitehead, Dan (January 29, 2009). "The Maw Xbox 360 Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  6. ^ Sessler, Adam (June 15, 2009). "Splosion Man Hands On Preview". G4TV. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  7. ^ OXM Staff (October 4, 2010). "Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley". Official Xbox Magazine UK. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  8. ^ Grant, Christopher (December 3, 2010). "Ms. Splosion Man makes her debut, sploding 'fall of 2011'". Joystiq. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  9. ^ Navarro, Alex (June 7, 2011). "The Gunstringer Is a Retail Game Now, But Is It Any Good?". Giant Bomb. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Fletcher, JC (January 26, 2011). "Twisted Pixel shooting video in Austin for unannounced game". Joystiq. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  11. ^ Dyer, Mitch (September 30, 2015). "LocoCycle Developer Twisted Pixel Is An Indie Studio Again". IGN. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  12. ^ Fahey, Mike (September 23, 2008). "The Maw Devours PAX 10 Audience Choice Award". Kotaku. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  13. ^ "The 12th Annual Independent Games Festival: Finalists and Winners". Independent Games Festival. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  14. ^ Hryb, Larry (April 6, 2010). "Xbox LIVE Marketplace release schedule". Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  15. ^ "The Top 25 Xbox Live Arcade Games". IGN. September 16, 2010. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  16. ^ Ferry (July 22, 2009). "On Xbox Live Arcade today: Splosion Man". Video Games Blogger. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  17. ^ "@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!
  18. ^ "Ms. Splosion Man is coming to Switch next week". Destructoid. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ a b "Dev Talk-Twisted Pixel Games". Gamer's Mint. February 17, 2010. Archived from the original on January 26, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
  21. ^ Alexander, Leigh (July 19, 2010). "Twisted Pixel Uses RAD's Granny 3D In Comic Jumper, BEARD Engine". Gamasutra. Retrieved January 20, 2011.

External links

'Splosion Man

'Splosion Man is a 2.5D action platform video game developed by Twisted Pixel Games for the Xbox 360, available through the Xbox Live Arcade digital download service. It was released on July 22, 2009 as part of the 2009 Xbox Live Summer of Arcade. Players control 'Splosion Man, an escaped science experiment with the ability to explode himself repeatedly, as he works his way through obstacles and traps trying to exit the fictional laboratory known as Big Science.

'Splosion Man received positive reviews, and was voted by Xbox Live players as the Best Original XBLA Game of 2009. IGN listed the game eleventh in their top twenty-five Xbox Live Arcade titles of all time. 'Splosion Man placed thirteenth overall in 2009 sales and as of year-end 2011 has sold over 487,000 copies. A sequel, titled Ms. Splosion Man, was released on July 13, 2011.

Bing Audio

Bing Audio (also known as Bing Music) is a music recognition application created by Microsoft which is installed on Windows Phones running version 7.5 and above, including Windows Phone 8. On Windows Phone 8.1, and in regions where the Microsoft Cortana voice assistant is available, Bing Music is integrated with Cortana and the music search history is a part of Cortana's "Notebook". The service is only designed to recognize recorded songs, not live performances or humming. Xbox Music Pass subscribers can immediately add the songs to their playlists. A unique feature compared to similar services is that Bing Audio continuously listens and analyzes music while most other services can only listen for a fixed amount of time. Bing Research developed a fingerprinting algorithm to identify songs.On March 30, 2016 Microsoft announced that they'll create bots based on Bing features in Skype of which Bing Music was one.

Bing Vision

Bing Vision is an image recognition application created by Microsoft which is installed on Windows Phones running version 7.5 and above, including Windows Phone 8. It is a part of the Bing Mobile suite of services, and on most devices can be accessed using the search button. On Windows Phone 8.1 devices where Microsoft Cortana is available, it is only available through the lenses of the Camera app (as the search button now activates Cortana). Bing Vision can scan barcodes, QR codes, Microsoft Tags, books, CDs, and DVDs. Books, CDs, and DVDs are offered through Bing Shopping.

High Capacity Color Barcode

High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is a technology developed by Microsoft for encoding data in a 2D "barcode" using clusters of colored triangles instead of the square pixels conventionally associated with 2D barcodes or QR codes. Data density is increased by using a palette of 4 or 8 colors for the triangles, although HCCB also permits the use of black and white when necessary. It has been licensed by the ISAN International Agency for use in its International Standard Audiovisual Number standard, and serves as the basis for the Microsoft Tag mobile tagging application.

The technology was created by Gavin Jancke, an engineering director at Microsoft Research. Quoted by BBC News in 2007, he said that HCCB was not intended to replace conventional barcodes. "'It's more of a 'partner' barcode', he said. 'The UPC barcodes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche barcode where you want to put a lot of information in a small space.'"

List of companies based in Austin, Texas

This is a list of notable companies based in Greater Austin, Texas.


LocoCycle is a motorcycle racing video game developed by Twisted Pixel Games and published by Microsoft Studios. Originally announced as an Xbox Live Arcade title at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012, LocoCycle was released in November 2013 for Xbox One, and was released on 14 February 2014 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.

Microsoft Store

Microsoft Store is a chain of retail stores and an online shopping site, owned and operated by Microsoft and dealing in computers, computer software and consumer electronics.

The Microsoft Store offers Signature PCs and tablets like the Microsoft Surface and from third parties such as HP, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and VAIO without demos or trialware (pre-installed free trials of certain third-party software that expire after a limited time). It also offers Windows (most retail versions), Microsoft Office and Xbox One game consoles, games and services including on-site Xbox diagnostics. The Answers Desk helps to answer questions related to Windows, Office, and other Microsoft products. The stores also offer class sessions as well as individual appointments.

The first two Microsoft Stores opened within a week of the Windows 7 launch, in Scottsdale, Arizona and Mission Viejo, California. Additional stores have since opened in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Washington. At the 2011 Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft announced that they intend to open 75 new stores in the next three years.The first store outside the U.S. (and the first of eight stores in Canada) opened in Toronto on November 16, 2012 while the first store outside North America (and first store in Asia-Pacific and second flagship store) opened in Sydney, Australia on November 12, 2015 In September 2017, the company announced a store on Regent Street in London, United Kingdom .

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a unified communications platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. The service integrates with the company's Office 365 subscription office productivity suite and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products. Microsoft Teams is a competitor to services such as Slack and is the evolution and upgrade path from Microsoft Skype for Business.

Microsoft announced Teams at an event in New York, and launched the service worldwide on 14 March 2017. It was created, and is currently led, by Brian MacDonald, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft.

Ms. Splosion Man

Ms. Splosion Man is a platform video game developed by Twisted Pixel Games, and was released on Xbox 360 on July 13, 2011 as well as Windows Phone. It is the sequel to 2009's 'Splosion Man. The game takes place directly after 'Splosion Man. In the celebration of 'Splosion Man's capture the scientists accidentally create Ms. Splosion Man. The gameplay draws most of its core elements from its predecessor, but adds new gameplay mechanics such as jump pads and riding on rails.

The game was generally very well received by critics. Aggregate websites GameRankings and Metacritic report scores in the 85% range. Individual scores ranged from a 60% approval to multiple perfect scores. Critics generally felt that the game was a great expansion and improvement over the original. The game's humor was also lauded. Criticisms included long load times between levels and increased difficulty over the original 'Splosion Man. The game sold over 70,000 units as of year-end 2011.

On November 14, 2018, Ms. Splosion Man was announced for the Nintendo Switch, and released on November 22.

Panic Button (company)

Panic Button, LLC is an American video game developer based in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2007, the studio is best known for their ports of AAA video games from other platforms to the Nintendo Switch console. Panic Button also does contract work on other platforms, including 4K updates for PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X.

Press Play (company)

Press Play was a video game development studio based in central Copenhagen in Denmark. Since 2006, Press Play have released five titles, including the Max & the Magic Marker, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Kalimba.

In 2012 the studio was acquired by Microsoft and Press Play was then part of the Microsoft Studios family along with other studios like 343 Industries, Rare, Lionhead Studios, Turn 10 Studios and Twisted Pixel Games. On March 7, 2016 Microsoft announced the plan to close Press Play, and their title, Knoxville, was cancelled. On March 10, 2016 Press Play was officially closed by Microsoft Studios. After the closure, the founders of Press Play founded a new studio called Flashbulb Games, and is working on a new sandbox game called Trailmakers.On November 10, 2016, Flashbulb acquired Press Play and its library of games to republish under the Flashbulb name including Kalimba, Tentacles: Enter the Mind, and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.

R. Bruce Elliott

Robert Bruce Elliott (born September 1, 1949) is an American actor, voice actor, dubbing director and scriptwriter who works for Funimation. He provided voices for a number of English versions of Japanese anime series; one of his most notable roles was Richard Moore in the detective series Case Closed. He also appeared on television and on film for a variety of shows and movies from Barney & Friends to JFK to Finding North. He is also the current voice of Ginyu, replacing Brice Armstrong in the Funimation dub of the Dragon Ball series.

Surface Studio

The Surface Studio is an all-in-one PC, designed and produced by Microsoft as part of its Surface series of Windows-based personal computing devices. It was announced at the Windows 10 Devices Event on October 26, 2016, with pre-orders beginning that day.The first desktop computer to be manufactured entirely by Microsoft, the Surface Studio uses the Windows 10 operating system with the Anniversary Update preinstalled. However, it is optimized for the Windows 10 Creators Update, which was released on April 11, 2017. The product, starting at $2,999, is aimed primarily at people in creative professions such as graphic artists and designers.

The Gunstringer

The Gunstringer is a third-person rail shooter video game developed by Twisted Pixel Games and published by Microsoft Studios for Xbox 360 with Kinect. It was released on September 13, 2011 in North America and September 16, 2011 in Europe. It was originally planned as an Xbox Live Arcade release, but was later made into a full retail game.

The Maw (video game)

The Maw is an action-adventure video game developed by Twisted Pixel Games. Released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Microsoft Windows, the game centers on the extraterrestrial Frank and a purple, amorphous creature called The Maw, who have crash-landed their spacecraft on an alien planet. The player assumes the role of Frank and directs The Maw—which can take on the abilities of objects and fauna it consumes—via a leash.

Critical reception of The Maw was above average; both the Xbox 360 and Windows versions hold a rating of 75/100 on Metacritic, and respective ratings of 76.06% and 73.33% on GameRankings. The game won the 2008 Audience Choice award at PAX10, and was a finalist at the 2009 Independent Games Festival. As of year-end 2011, The Maw has sold more than 237,000 units.

Wilson's Heart

Wilson's Heart may refer to:

Wilson's Heart (House), an episode of the American television series House

Wilson's Heart (video game), a virtual reality game developed by Twisted Pixel Games

Wilson's Heart (video game)

Wilson's Heart is a virtual reality horror adventure video game by Twisted Pixel Games, released on April 25, 2017. The game is compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual reality platform.

Xbox Game Studios

Xbox Game Studios, previously known as Microsoft Studios, Microsoft Game Studios, and Microsoft Games, is a division of Microsoft based in Redmond, Washington. It was established in March 2000, spun out from an internal Games Group, for the development and publishing of video games for Microsoft Windows. It has since expanded to include games and other interactive entertainment for the namesake Xbox platforms, Windows Mobile and other mobile platforms, and web-based portals. As the studio grew, it has acquired and relinquished ownership of several other studios, and is the parent organization of thirteen other studios.

Current subsidiaries
Former subsidiaries

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