While most of our focus here is on video arcade games, we certainly do like to talk pinball. The attention that pinball gets in the media is a little different than what you get with video games – even though video games see a wider variety of titles and manufacturers, pinball has a stronger fanbase. This means there are more websites & podcasts that cover just pinball.
For a while now, I’ve heard chatter about a newcomer to the pinball game-making scene called deeproot Studios[Editor’s note: I was sent a correction where it is all one word and it’s supposed to be lowercase). I mentioned them briefly in the 2018/2019 Arcade/Pinball gaming almanac, but almost a year after publishing that, little to know information has come my way about the company – until today.
At the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention (formerly known as the Salt Lake Comic Con), a panel was held in Salt Lake City, UT with the guys behind deeproot Studios/ deeproot Pinball. The panel discussed “the past, present and future of pinball,” where they teased infomation about what they have in store for the future. While they did not reveal their first machine, they did talk about the talent involved in the company, which we’ll get into below.
As a note, I was unfortunately absent for this panel, as I am watching the arcade today, while my brother handles the arcade we setup at the convention. I’ll be there all Saturday.
Fortunately, my brother did attend the panel and asked a couple of questions. He also snapped this pic:
Here’s what was passed along – just a note that there is some conjecture here, but I’ll try and keep that to a minimum:
- Their official/unofficial motto is: “Pinball for the masses,” trying to convey that their designs are focused on more than niche themes. This probably means that another heavy metal rock band isn’t high up on their list.
- They have a strong team of experienced animators, “around 40 people” with experience at Disney (Disney Infinity was specifically mentioned), Lucasfilm, Weta, EA and others. While this talent favors the film industry, they also have people with experience in creating video games. Because of this, expect their games to have high-quality animations and artwork.
- They are working on both licensed and non-licensed themes. It wasn’t indicated how many tables are in development right now.
- They have hired people who are “established” in the world of pinball, covering both design and manufacturing.
- One of those people is a well-known pinball designer, but they couldn’t say who at this point. UPDATE: Pinball fans have been talking about DR for a while and say that three designers have been confirmed as working on new concepts for DR – Barry Ousler, Dennis Nordman and John Popadiuk. Unsure if they meant another unannounced name or not, or if they were just being careful.
- Their machines will use a combination of “traditional parts” along with new 3D printed parts. The latter could mean the toys, or it could also mean new kinds of non-traditional mechanisms.
- The wait for their new games will not be “years”
- They are working on trying out new ideas with audio, so that games are more accessible for new players, while still offering the depth that pro players have come to expect from a game of pinball.
- My brother asked them if they would have a display on the playfield like Heighway Pinball did with Full Throttle and Alien. They said no.
One thought I had about that last point is that they could certainly employ projection mapping into the mix. I’m just waiting for a time when such tech will become mainstream in pinball, as I personally think it is the next big step (since we’ve already had RGB LEDs and HD displays serving as innovations).
While this isn’t a detailed look at a game, I think it’s a nice introduction about what to expect from this newcomer. Deeproot has people in Utah and Texas with most of the development team in Utah by what was passed along to me (which is also why they would pick this particular convention to introduce themselves at; the convention in the past was second only to the San Diego Comic Con in terms of attendance).
I have reached out to one of the team members for more info and will pass it along when there is something to discuss. Until then, what do you think about deeproot by what you’ve heard so far?