Ever heard of Wraith Games? I would hope so since we’ve already posted two articles pertaining to Wraith Games this week already. But just in case you haven’t, Wraith Games have created some interesting titles in the past and being so they are a Nintendo listened developers, they can guarantee some very interesting titles indeed are heading to Nintendo platforms, so if you’ve never played one of their games before, there is a great chance you will do in the coming months.
If you have been following our recent Twitter activity and Wraith Games’, you’ll know they’ve recently being going over a huge big bad list of interview questions and we’ve got our hands on their answers. Only thing is they gave us so much content in the form of their answers there is just no way we could serve it up in a single interview, so instead we’ve sliced it into two, making this the Collapsus interview and Part 2 the Wraith Games & Their Other Works follow-up/ So now that we’ve got that cleared up and out of the way, it’s time for a Collapsus/Wraith Games Q&A:
Just What is Collapsus?:
Miketendo64: “As someone new to learning/hearing about Collapsus, there’s still plenty regarding the game that I’m still getting my head around, and it will probably be the same for a few our readers. So with that in mind, just what exactly is Collapsus and how does it differ to games of the same genre?”
Jay Kidd: “That’s actually a very common question. In fact, we pretty much base all of our convention appearances around that very idea. Over the past 15 years or so, the puzzle game landscape has become saturated with the same old match 3 mechanics. So many puzzle games on the market are just some sort of Bejeweled or Candy Crush clones. Collapsus, despite looking like it could fit right in with those games at first, doesn’t actually play like those style of games at all.
See, when we go off to an event to show off Collapsus, we often call players up to the booth and “challenge” them to figure the game out. These are often people who would just walk past the booth without a second glance if they weren’t called out. I mean, who wants to play yet another Candy Crush clone? So after issuing a challenge, so often people will pick up the tablet (often very indignantly, funnily enough) and one of us will ask them to let us know when (not if) they die, so we can show them how to really play (we have the tutorial mode disabled for events).
Now, hearing this, you may think that it’s a bit mean of us, but it’s really all in good fun. We’ve found that people tend to loosen up if we open like this. It’s almost like being a carnival barker or something. Well, anyway, after they inevitably lose (often on easy, without ever even getting to level 2) we explain the rules of the game:
In Collapsus, you don’t swap blocks. You take a single block and click on it to “break” it (after that, it’s gone forever). The blocks above it then fall down to take its place. You can’t just keep clicking blocks all over the place, though. At the bottom of the screen, there’s a meter. With each click, the meter goes down; once it’s all the way down… GAME OVER! To get some of that meter back, you have to make “lines” (columns or rows of 4 or more blocks of matching colors). Get enough of those lines, and it’s off to the next (slightly harder) level. It’s all based around a pretty simple risk/reward resource management mechanic. There’s really no other game out there like it. It’s actually compared far more to Tetris after people actually play it than to those match 3 games.
On top of that, one of our most popular features (which is accessible via check-box on the difficulty screen) is the ability to enable “Gravity Rush” mode. It’s a mode where whenever you turn your device (in any of the four directions), the blocks then fall that way rather than the default direction using the tilt sensor. You just twist and turn whenever you get stuck!
Heck, not only do we have all that (three main difficulties with both Gravity Rush and “Time Panic” options) but also two unlockable harder difficulties, 20 “Challenge Modes”, which add all sorts of new parameters (like “Split Blocks” that are one color on one side, and a different one on the other), and a “Plus” version of each Challenge Mode once you beat it.
For people who like actual puzzles, there are also 200 built in single screen puzzles, a free online daily puzzle, and our very own online puzzle creation and sharing tool so you can make your own and challenge people to solve them. We’re even working on an (up to) 8 player versus battle mode, though that may have to be a piece of free DLC.
We don’t do the whole ads or microtransactions thing either. We really hate it when a game artificially increases the difficulty just so you have to buy extra lives or power-ups or something. I mean, Collapsus is a hard game at times (especially for people who are used to most modern puzzle games), but it’s “Tetris hard”… there’s a progression to it. If something is hard, you just try again until you get better. It’s not a trick. Actually, we don’t have anything for you to buy in game. You bought the game once, you get all the content. We plan to have a bit of DLC, but it’s all free too.”
Miketendo64: “All I can say is that is a very through explanation. Collapsus sounds as much fun as Pirate Pop Plus (very fun indeed), and no, not mean of you at all. Was tactical though.”
Collapsus’ Winter Release:
Miketendo64: “Collapsus is slated for a Winter release, for both Wii U and 3DS. Are you any closer to pinpointing it to a specific month?”
Jay Kidd: “Unfortunately, no. In the next few weeks, we’re running a Kickstarter to help with some of the final development costs. We are still releasing Collapsus even if the Kickstarter fails, but it would take it off schedule for a bit.
Now, we are doing something pretty neat to help make this go a little smoother. Right before we launch the Kickstarter, all the way through it, and then leading up to the final release date, we’re releasing free, public, early access builds through Kongregate; every week. These weekly builds will allow players to try Collapsus before they commit to the Kickstarter, get players used to the way Collapsus plays, and allow us to get valuable feedback about bugs and feature changes we may need to make before release.”
Talking Cross-buy and Regional Releases:
Miketendo64: “With Collapsus due to release on both of Nintendo’s current platforms, will the game support cross-buy and just which regions can we expect to see the game come to? (Europe, North America and the like)”
Jay Kidd: “Oh, we hope so! We’ve really not gotten to the point where we’ve talked to them all that much about things like that. Cross-buy is a wonderful feature that we really wish more developers utilized. Hopefully that’s not something on Nintendo’s end stopping that. We’re in review for the ESRB right now, so those kind of talks probably come right after that. I guess if we get the go ahead for doing multiple regions, we apply with PEGI and CERO after that.”
Getting Lucky with Collapsus:
Miketendo64: “Despite Collapsus coming to Nintendo platforms, it was originally designed for mobile platforms. How does it feel knowing the game is coming to Nintendo devices?”
Jay Kidd: “We’re all pretty big Nintendo fans around here and ever since most of us were growing up, we wanted to make something for Nintendo platforms. I mean, Nintendo was almost synonymous with video games as a whole medium for a lot of kids growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. Really, though, we never thought in our wildest (okay, maybe our wildest) dreams that we’d actually be working on something for the Wii U and 3DS.
When we applied to be developers, like, when we finally got that call, we were talking with our rep over at Nintendo. He mentioned that he was really interested in some of our projects, but I asked which ones specifically, thinking Physix would be at the top of the list (at that time, people seemed WAY more interested in Physix than Collapsus) but he said Collapsus all the way. That’s when we knew that we had a perfect match.
To be very honest, I think we really cut a huge break having Collapsus be our first Nintendo project. Collapsus’ whole design philosophy is really ingrained in that touch-screen interface that the Wii U and 3DS share with mobile platforms. Yeah, there are some minor technical differences, but Unity sorts that all out pretty well. I mean, UX/UI are really the big sticking points, but games like Puzzle League on the DS and Game and Wario on the Wii U already sorted that out pretty well: just turn the device sideways. Everything else just emerges naturally from that decision.”
Collapsus Could Be Seeing its Way to PS4 and Xbox One:
Miketendo64: “Is the Wii U and the 3DS the only platform gamers can hope to see Collapsus come to, or can we hope to see it arrive on PS4 and Xbox One and Steam?”
Jay Kidd: “Currently our big plan is for release on Wii U, 3DS, Mobile (iOS, Android, Fire OS, and Windows Phone), Mac, Linux, PC (through Steam and GOG, hopefully), and web. We may also release on a few other smaller places as well, but only time will tell on that part.
As for PS4, and Xbox One? Possibly. We’ll really have to see how the whole Nintendo route works out. We do hear good things about the way Microsoft is doing things with the Xbox One and their PC and Phone store. If it’s as easy a transition as it sounds, then that’s a distinct possibility at the very least.
On the Steam end, we’re very much hoping so! We’ll have to go through that whole Greenlight process, but as soon as we’re about to ship, we’re launching a campaign on there.”
Wii U and 3DS Collapsus Comparison:
Miketendo64: “Being so you get to playtest the Nintendo versions often, what with developing them, how does the Wii U version of the game compare to the 3DS version? Which platform plays it best?”
Jay Kidd: “Haha. I don’t really know how to best answer that. They’re really apples and oranges! I can say that the Wii U has a lot more power behind it and that Unity really likes it better (or is that the other way around?). Unity for 3DS is really new and couple that with the fact that the 3DS isn’t much alike anything else architecture-wise and it poses some unique challenges. It all works perfectly well, but it’s not as straightforward as the Wii U version.”
Miketendo64: “Fair enough then.”
Mother Knows Best:
Miketendo64: “In your own words, Collapsus was actually intended to be a gift for your mum. What was her reaction to it when you first showed it to her and what does she make of it now?”
Jay Kidd: “Haha. If I’m being very honest: she didn’t really like it much. She said that it “hurt her eyes”. This was in 2006, mind. This was one of the very first games I’d ever worked on. It was pretty ugly back then and the gameplay was very rough. Looking back on it, it’s a miracle that we made something like the Collapsus we have now out of that prototype.
She played it last month, though. I’m very happy to say that she loved it! She remembered the 2006 prototype, but didn’t remember anything about it specifically. She wanted to make sure she was one of the first people to get this new Collapsus as soon as it’s out. I’m feeling pretty good about this one now that it has her seal of approval!”
Miketendo64: “So it’s a happy ending then? Glad to hear it!”
Rubik’s Cube Elaboration:
Miketendo64: “Again in your own words, you admitted with regards to Collapsus, you actually took some ideas from playing with a Rubik’s Cube, but at the time it was “neither here nor there.” Care to elaborate on that now?”
Jay Kidd: “Hoho. Digging up some of the old quotes, ay?”
Jay Kidd: “Well that’s a quote that always gets me some sideways looks, but it really is the truth. It’s kind of twofold. Firstly, the way the blocks fall is pretty reminiscent of how a side of a Rubix cube rotates. Secondly, before we started adding all sorts of shapes to the blocks for colorblind accessibility, the blocks were all just sort of blank swatches of color surrounded by a black border. When you combine that with the movement it all just looks like a Rubik’s cube.
We’ve even tinkered with a Special mode where you slide the columns and rows instead of breaking blocks, but it just didn’t feel like Collapsus anymore. Maybe we’ll do that for a spin-off or something. Who knows?”
I’m sure you’ll all agree, this was a lengthy read and yes we have plenty more to add to it but as far as this post is concerned, this is where we stick a pin in it. To read what else Jay had to say, make sure you check out Part 2. You can’t miss it, it’ll be one of the first articles we post after this one and is as much of a must read as this one, what with it seeing Jay commenting on Wraith Games being a green company. Talks Burst Lancer and shares a lengthy origin story. Believe me when I say there is a lot to read and look forwards too!