We’ve posted Part 1 and we have posted Part 2 of our interview with Raw Fury but now the time has come to post the final part of our 3 Part long interview that concerns Kingdom, GoNNER, Nintendo Switch and of course, Gordon Van Dyke. Let’s do this:
Added to the Switch launch line-up is of course Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove and the standalone first available on Switch, Specter of Torment campaign and Yacht Club Games couldn’t be any more excited, and neither can we, the fans. So in light of what is to come and the fact we’ve been eager to interview the ever popular Yacht Club Games, we actually got the chance to ask them a few very random questions and while the answers may have taken their time getting back to us, they were worth waiting for. Let’s dive right in shall we?
FDG Entertainment doesn’t just have one game planned for the Nintendo Switch, they have two and since we’ve already interviewed FDG Entertainment’s Thomas Kern about Oceanhorn, we fancied learning more about Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. So after speaking with Philipp Döschl, this is everything he had to say about the upcoming title: Continue reading [Interview] Making Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom a Game to Remember
With the help of Tantalus Media, RiME is coming to the Nintendo Switch. We don’t know when it will be. We don’t know if there will be a retail release, but we do know how to get in touch with them, so last month, we did just that in the hopes of landing an interview. Because of IGN’s exclusive coverage of the title in January, we were unable to do so, but we were able to arrange something for this month instead and having spoken to them, we’ve now got plenty of answers for you to sync your teeth into. Join us as we hear from Tequila Work’s Raúl Rubio:
Hi Raúl, thank you for taking the time to do this. In typical interview fashion, would you mind introducing yourself to our readers?
Raúl Rubio: My name is Raúl Rubio and I’m the CEO & Creative Director at Tequila Works.
Thank you Raúl, and now with the introduction out of the way, we can begin the interview.
* * * * *
RiME in a Nut Shell:
Miketendo64: Now you’re currently developing RiME for a number of consoles, but just what exactly is RiME and when did development on it first begin?
Raúl Rubio: RiME is an adventure about discovery, experienced through the eyes of a young boy shipwrecked on a mysterious island strewn with ancient secrets to discover. We started developing RiME in early 2013.
RiME and The Sexy Brutale:
Miketendo64: But RiME isn’t the only game you’re currently working on, as Tequila Works are also developing The Sexy Brutale, which is also to release this year. How have you found it developing the two games at the same time?
Raúl Rubio: It has been a really interesting experience, but the process has been really smooth since the people involved in the development of RiME and The Sexy Brutale have been different teams. The Sexy Brutale is a coproduction with Cavalier Game Studios, and here at Tequila Works we took care of the art and visual style of the game, as well as Production. We have learnt a good deal about project management in the last couple of years!
There are no Currently no Switch Release Plans for The Sexy Brutale:
Miketendo64: Is there any chance of Nintendo gamers seeing a Tequila Works double and have The Sexy Brutale also release on Switch?
Raúl Rubio: You can never say never, but currently we have no short term plans to release The Sexy Brutale on Switch.
8-10 Hours to Complete:
Miketendo64: And back to RiME, a game about a fox, and a boy trying to escape an island and a curse. As far as content goes, just how big is the game? Something large enough for fans to sink their teeth into, or something they can blast through in 10 hours or less?
Raúl Rubio: RiME is a game about curiosity and adventure, and thus has a lot of weight. Obviously depends on how you play but there are lots of rewards – not only collectibles – as reward for that curiosity. If you are asking for cold numbers, it is around 8-10 hours for the average person to complete their first playthough, though depending on your exact playstyle and desire to explore, it could take a couple hours fewer or a couple hours more.
A Game with Combat, but Lots of Puzzles:
Miketendo64: Well given how it is a game packed with puzzles, let’s talk about them shall we?
Raúl Rubio: As you know, since our protagonist is an 8 year old kid, there is no combat in RiME. That meant that we needed to add physicality to our puzzles, in order to give the main character a solid presence in the island.
Most puzzles involve physical actions like jumping, climbing, swimming/diving, carrying/throwing stuff, push & pull… while others are more surrealistic and exotic: after all, you can manipulate things with sound, mechanics based on light and shadow, you can manipulate time, play with perspective…
Miketendo64: Fair enough.
The Collectibles are Essential to Getting the Full Grasp of the Game’s Backstory:
Miketendo64: Since there are trophies, collectibles and achievements, any chance of a spoiler? What is something we can collect? And what is a fun achievement to do?
Raúl Rubio: We will keep this spoiler-free I’m afraid. But we can assure you that collectibles aren’t placed in the game without a meaning. Finding them rewards you with a better, more profound understanding about the background story of the game.
Fail to Uncover Everything in your First Playthrough, you Can always try again in your Second One:
Miketendo64: Since RiME is not a sandbox game, how do you feel this will affect fan interest as there are plenty of gamers out there who do enjoy going back to uncover certain secrets without having to start a new game?
Raúl Rubio: The game is not technically a sandbox, as there are points of no return during gameplay, but the areas you can explore are actually quite big. Taking in consideration what we have previously said about curiosity and the importance of collectibles, we are quite optimistic about people doing a second playthrough, for completion and a better understanding of the story.
Nothing to Reveal on the Switch Release Date at this Time:
Miketendo64: Now, were you were actually asked this already during IGN’s exclusive coverage of RiME, but since a month has passed since the question was asked, what’s the latest with the Switch release and are you any closer to a release date for it?
Raúl Rubio: That is something we will be confirming in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
RiME Soundtrack Take Two:
Miketendo64: Something else you were asked about is a soundtrack for the game. Since it is a month later (again,) what’s the latest with regards to releasing a soundtrack? Are there any plans to make it a reality or is it still something you can’t commit to/talk about at this time?
Raúl Rubio: RiME’s music is one of the pillars of the Game. The work done by composer David García is a true masterpiece, in my opinion. We definitely want to do something special with the OST, but again we will give more information in the near future.
Working with Tantalus:
Miketendo64: And now onto the Switch port? Since you’re not handling the port yourself, but Tantalus Media is, how did such an arrangement come to pass? Did Nintendo introduce you to the Australian firm, or was the introduction arranged by some else/other means?
Raúl Rubio: We are really lucky to have Tantalus Media as our partner for the Nintendo Switch version, as their work on Zelda Twilight Princess HD was phenomenal. Grey Box and Six Foot, our publishers for RiME, put us in touch.
Miketendo64: And because we’re talking Tantalus, just how much involvement do you have with the Switch port and do you know if there are any plans for the game to take advantage of certain Switch features?
Raúl Rubio: We are supervising the Switch version, making sure they have all the support they need from the team who designed the game in the first place. As for the Nintendo Switch specific features, we’ll give you more details soon.
Nothing to Report On Retail Release (Yet):
Miketendo64: Something else you have said with regards to Switch, is that you and your publisher Grey Box, are looking into production prices for Switch cartridges. How is that going?
Raúl Rubio: Again, we’ll give you more information soon. Sorry!
A Work of Love:
Miketendo64: And since I’m nearly all out of questions, is there anything else you would like our readers and your fans to know about RiME at this time?
Raúl Rubio: We would like to say that making RiME has always been a work of love. We are a small team (the average number of people working on RiME has been 20 people), and we really poured our hearts and souls into it. Now that the game is about to come out, it really feels like a catharsis!
A Message for the Fans:
Miketendo64: Last call and final question, do you have anything you would like to say to your fans?
Raúl Rubio: We really want to say “THANK YOU” to all the people who have been following the game and didn’t lose faith on us during the years. We know it has been a long time coming, but we are almost there now.
* * * * *
While you may not have been able to answer all of our questions Raúl, we sure appreciate the ones you were able to give. Besides it just means there are a lot of announcements for us to look forwards to in the coming weeks. Best of luck with all your gaming endeavours!
The Nintendo Switch doesn’t have one fabulous, futuristic-styled racing game launching on the new console this year, but two as Redout will also be making its Switch debut and while we may not have been able to secure a FAST RMX interview, we did land a Redout one! Join us as we hear from Giuseppe Franchi of 34BigThings, as he opens up on the upcoming title: Continue reading [Interview] Racing towards the Nintendo Switch (Redout)
While some large third party developers are bringing a ton of support to the Nintendo Switch, a lot of smaller developers are as well, and one such developer is of course Frozenyyte. In 2015 the Finnish developers brought us Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power and in 2017, they’re bringing us Has-Been Heroes. Filled with a desire to know more about the game, we reached out to the developers last month and now we’re ready to reveal what Kai Tuovinen had to say about the upcoming title: Continue reading [Interview] A Game That Stands out from the Crowd! (Has-Been Heroes)
While the majority of our interviews sees us chatting with devs to learn more about their games, sometimes we like to interview animators, writers and passionate fans and given the fact that a few of us at Miketendo64 are fans of James Farr, of course we just had to interview him as well! Here’s how we got on: Continue reading [Interview] The Talented Mr Farr!
Any game that features a caveman as its protagonist, is awesome in my book, but a game that does that and falls into the Multiplayer Platformer Arcade game genre is a sure fire winner and that is exactly what JanduSoft’s Caveman Warriors is bound to become when it releases later on this year!
The year was 1996 and Nintendo had just brought out Wave Race 64. I loved that game, I would play it a lot and it was one of the first videogames I actually saw my dad play with his actual real-life jet-skiing friends. Sadly though, even though it had a continuation on the GameCube, no jet-ski games could ever compare to Wave Race, let alone deserve the title of being a “Spiritual Successor,” until now.
As beautiful as Yooka-Laylee is, it isn’t the only game releasing this year that sees two animals paired together, as Sumo Digital’s original IP, Snake Pass is also set to release “Early 2017” and then last week, it was announced that the “unique take on the platforming genre,” will be coming to the Nintendo Switch as well.
Less than four weeks from now, Nintendo’s newest home console will release and make its way to gamers hands all across the globe. As each day passes, we get to learn more about the Switch and the games that will be playable on it, so with GoNNER and Kingdom confirmed for the console, it’s only natural we’d want to learn whatever we could about them.
So we got in touch with Raw Fury, the publisher who is bringing both titles to the Switch and arranged a Skype interview with Gordon Van Dyke. Due to a loss of voice and other commitments, I was unable to conduct the interview myself, so armed with my list of questions, Mike Scorpio conducted the interview on my behalf. With Gordon providing such responses, the interview lasted for more than 60 minutes, so with that in mind, we have opted to split this interview into 2 parts, with the first (this one), being posted today (February the 8th) and the second to be posted at a later point this month.
Not to delay it any further, this is Part 1 of “A Miketendo64 Interview,” with Raw Fury’s Gordon Van Dyke:
*All questions and answers come from the first half hour of the hour+ long interview.
Gordon Van Dyke (Battlefield & Beyond):
Miketendo64: “First and foremost, who are you?”
Gordon Van Dyke: “(Laughs) That’s a good question. “Who am I?” I´m Gordon Van Dyke, I started in the games industry around the end of 2oo2-2003, it so long ago now. I was in the MOD industry. I started modding for Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Vietnam and also started my own mod based on the new reimagined series of Battlestar Galactica.
I caught the attention of some of the producers at the EA side of things who were working with DiCE on Battlefield 2 and asked me to come to one of their Mod days because they thought that the mod was really cool and I lived in California so it was really close by to go to the EA office. So I went there and I was like “This is where I need to be,” I quit a cushy job where I helped run a beer distribution company in the San Francisco Bay Area and took a low paying QA job and focused on the battlefield 2 tools. An early state of my mod got an interview with DiCE and I got hired and moved to Sweden.
I moved my entire life to Sweden and started working on Battlefield and I worked on Battlefied 2142, Battlefield: Bad Company One, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Battlefield 1943 and helped with the early design concept and concept design for Battlefield Heroes. From there I moved back to California for a year but I ended up marrying my Swedish girlfriend and she got pregnant so I moved back to Sweden because it’s got much better health care and stuff for schools. So I moved back to Sweden and started working at Paradox.
I started working on their Multiplayer games that they were trying out, War Of The Roses and War Of The Vikings. I got tired of that and wanted to do my own thing and start my own company and was itching to do that. A Friend I made there asked If I could help him start up Raw Fury. So we started up this little indie publisher, it was mostly just the two of us. That’s when our relationship with Nintendo first officially started. Jonas had actually known a couple of people at Nintendo but there was no relationship with Raw Fury. I had the first meeting with them at Nordic Game Jam.”
Gordon Van Dyke’s Role at Raw Fury:
Miketendo64: “What is your role at Raw Fury?”
Gordon Van Dyke: “’What Is My Role?’ I do a lot of things. It’s the start of it, it’s a small company, there’s not that many of us. We have just grown by three people so now we’re eight. Jonas started everything officially in January, I wrapped up some projects that I was helping with, at Paradox with Magicka 2. Once I finished there, I joined up in April and in July, David Martinez joined up who also worked at Paradox where he did PR for them.
He joined us and helped on the PR Marketing front and helping with sales as well so he is carrying a lot of hats. I mainly focus on production and developer relationships, helped heavily with kingdom, I rolled up my sleeves and jumped in using my designer experience using Unity and helping with the design elements of Kingdom. I work heavily on trailers and cultivating relationships with our partners, work closely with Microsoft on Kingdom, work with Apple, Google, Nintendo and Steam. In this case, you do a lot of things. Sometimes I’m a producers, sometimes a director or capturing Trailer footage. I can be working on art assets or localization. We are all over the place and do what needs to be done at this stage. We are a small lean team and you wear a lot of hats.
On the way out of leaving the office we had just set up, I was the last one so I took the trash out.”
Raw Fury did try Kingdom on the New Nintendo 3DS:
Miketendo64: “Other than Switch, was Kingdom considered for another Nintendo platform, like the 3DS?”
Gordon Van Dyke: “We did try to get Kingdom to run on the New Nintendo 3DS but it just wasn’t powerful enough. Kingdom is deceptively more CPU intense than people expect. They see this presentation of pixel art, there is a lot of modern rendering and shader techniques going into the game that Tom, who is the creator, artist and programmer for a lot the rendering techniques, he did it so well that people don’t notice which really shows his skill set and nobody realises…”
Miketendo64: “…How complicated and complex it is?”
Gordon Van Dyke: “Yeah, he does it so well. He does this trick for lighting individual pixels so that the light didn’t just shine in an inclusion way and gradient through the pixels. No, the lighting lit up individual pixels and the further away they were, the less bright the pixels would get. The Water as well, if you look at the water, it’s a shader technique to give it the perception of being liquid but pixels because he wanted it to be pixel perfect. So unfortunately the New 3DS just wasn’t powerful enough and then there were rumours floating around about another portable device by Nintendo. We were respectful, we didn’t ask them about the rumours.”
Miketendo64: “But you did talk to them?”
Gordon Van Dyke: “Yeah, we talked to them about potentially doing something for the Wii U because it was more powerful and using a more up to date version of what we were using for Unity. So we were going for that and they started poking us and saying that they really like GoNNER and we got a lot of interest from them for that their external publishers really wanted to meet with us at PAX, Especially PAX West because it’s in their back yard. Nintendo America is in Kirkland which is close by in the same region.
Close to the announcement, Nintendo got in touch with us and said that they were coming out with something as everyone knew which we are going to be announcing soon but we can’t tell you the exact details because we haven’t done the partnership but we are interested in bringing some of your games, especially GoNNER, and putting it in our Launch window of around 3-4 months from the release of the hardware. We were just floored.”
Raw Fury’s Process when it Comes to Publishing new Games:
Miketendo64: “As a publisher, you have taken on plenty of games and put them on various platforms. What is it you look for in the games you undertake and who initiates the first contact?”
Gordon Van Dyke: “It’s actually pretty mixed. Kingdom is kind of our Darling so I don’t know if that one falls into that category. It was those guys that were looking for a publishing partner, Jonas initially tried helping them to find a solution and for six months it never happened. Ian wanted to create this publishing company. It was a mutual partnership a mutual respect because often times the Developer is beholden to the Publisher because they have the money so there becomes this stranglehold that can easily happen.
I don’t think anyone does it on purpose but it’s just the nature of those relationships can easily slip into that direction. So he wanted to make this more happy, friendly, more happiness publisher but of course part of that happiness does come from making enough money to keep doing what you’re doing but that’s our goal. It’s not our goal to be like the biggest publisher in Sweden or having the highest revenue. When we look for games, we look for games that affect us emotionally.
With GoNNER, we ran into Ditto in this like indie incubator, which is an event set up by some friends of ours and it’s called Stugen. They invited a bunch of indie developers from anywhere in the world, they fly out there and they set them up and get donations, its non-profit and they get a place in the woods in Sweden over the summer for several months and they just all work on their projects and then submit their projects. Ditto was one of those that got selected and he was based in Sweden as well. We met him there and vibed with him so it was more to do with a personal relationship and loving the things he did. He has this creative style, the visuals that you see in GoNNER absolutely reflect Ditto’s personality 100%.
He knew he was working on a different kind of game and that we were really interested in working with him and trying to see if it was a fit. Somebody backed out that was supposed to come with us to Gamescom that year and so we had an extra ticket and hotel bed so we said to him “Hey, you want to come along?” This was in 2015 and he was like “Hell Yeah! I’ve never been,” and he helped us a little bit but there was no requirement to do that. He hung around us a little bit and did his own thing as well. We then thought that maybe there was something cool that we could do together and he was like “Yeah.” Back in December he came to us with an idea so we talked it over and worked with him and talked about it for a month or something and then we signed him because we have a lot of faith in him.
With Kathy Rain, it was something we signed in April when I started. It was a friend of mine that I worked with at Paradox, he’s a super talented programmer and writer, and absolute creative individual. He had this pet project called Kathy Rain, which, he had been working on for several years. I played it and I don’t typically play ‘Point & Click’ adventures but I was like “This Story is really compelling. I want to keep playing.” He had left Paradox when we were working together to start working for this new studio Hazelight, the guys that did Tales Of Two Brothers which he had worked on.
I said that he should give Jonas a demo for Kathy Rain and let him play it and Jonas felt the same way I did and we both felt like this game had to be made. It was a really interesting project for us to take. We wanted to take something daring, risky. Point & Click games are very difficult to market and sell. So Joel was interested and we talked to him and he quit the job he just started for another job and took a risk with us as well, we equally took risks with each other and it turned out really well. Kath Rain is now profitable, it’s highly revered. It’s critically acclaimed and got great feedback. It’s emotionally captivating and touched on subjects that you don’t typically see in games and approached story telling in a modern way with this classic presentation. I just loved that and it’s something that I always wanted to do after starting at DiCE where I had this personal feeling that I would love to make games for adults which can come off incorrectly as you can’t really explain what you mean by that, games that have more…”
Miketendo64: “…Adult themes?”
Gordon Van Dyke: “Yeah and coming off of a deeper philosophical point, to make you really question about things in a deeper more meaningful way and challenge you on a more intellectual level. While I love the games you can chill out and play I also love games like Heavy Rain and games that try to have a profound effect on you. So we signed that one and then the next game TXP came just came from a recommendation for Tormenter X Punisher and Jonas Turner, the guy making that, his profile and cred list is stunning; BroForce, Nuclear Throne, all the way to Angry Birds: Transformers. He just oozes with talent, an awesome guy. He has a DJ persona and puts on a lucha libre mask, like in Mexican wrestling and becomes the lobster and does a whole Dance set mix DJ kind of thing with 2 Nintendo DS’s and it’s incredible.
We do get a lot of pitches but some of them don’t pan out. A lot of time when getting pitches over email, from people randomly searching for publishers. Typically they are not usually the right fit for us, we are very picky and very selective.”
Miketendo64: “Well of course, you’ve got to look for something beneficial, not just for you, but for them in the long run as well. It could be the next angry birds or it could be a massive flop, you never know but you have all these requests coming at you every single day and you’ve got to think “Is this going to work? Is this something you can take further?”
Gordon Van Dyke: “Well Yeah. We don’t actually wonder on whether we can take it further. We just want to know if we can support them in a way that’s mutually beneficial. We do not interfere with the design or milestone checks, which is typical of other publishing companies that hold money until you’ve completed that, which forces control into the hand of the publisher and that is not how it should be. It should be in the hands of the people that are working on it day in, day out. We just give them our opinions and if it makes sense to them and they use that information, great! Sometimes they ignore it and we’re ok with that because we trust them. Trust is a huge factor in who we want to work with. First it’s the game and we want to see something playable and also emotional value when you play the game and a developer we can trust and give them that freedom and liberty that we feel is important.
There has got to be some kind of a connection with the game obviously as a player, not just as a publisher or developer but as a gamer in general that makes you feel “This is the kind of game I want to play and invest my time in.” Because as you know in this day and age, along with working jobs, some people work two or three different jobs and work very, very long hours. When they come home, what little time they have left is very precious to them. So in the mind of the developer is ‘How can I keep the gamer interested in my game? How can I make them ‘connect’ to my game?’ ‘How can we take them somewhere interesting and satisfy that desire for Quest?’ I thinks it’s super important that people sometimes forget that they get too caught up in the focus of realism which is not what people really want, right?”
Gordon Van Dyke: “You go into videogames because you get enough realism in real life. When a car goes past you and gets you all wet or your girlfriend dumps you, whatever crappy thing happens to you and you go home, the day was really bad and you want to go to that videogame, you want to go to that place and that is why games like Sky Rim and Minecraft are so popular because it takes you somewhere fantastical. It takes you somewhere you’d never be able to go in life which is why I think it’s great that Battlefield when back to Battlefield One. It takes you back to a time period to what’s not really going on now. There went somewhere where no one can ever go again and they took you on this journey where it feels realistic like you are there and it’s tangible but it is so far in the past you don’t feel a connection to it like if you turned on the News, you don’t see something similar to what’s in the game happening right now in the world.”
And now that we’ve got you hooked, this is where we’ll stick a pin in it for today. Be sure to join us when we share Part 2 as that part of the interview is focused more on GoNNER and Kingdom and less on Raw Fury and the publisher’s workings.
Be it Sport, Action or RPG, there is a genre for every kind of gamer, and if you’re the kind of gamer who really enjoys sandbox rouge-like action RPGs, than Pixel Princess Blitz is a game that will appeal to you. But instead of telling you about it, I’m going to share a trailer:
Last month, the North American Wii U eShop saw the release of Swap Fire, an indie Couch-multiplayer/Puzzle First Person Shooter, developed by Midnight Status and if you haven’t tried it out yet, you might want to reconsider that, because it is bizarre!
How Bizarre? Well it’s a game where “Shooting other players rips a hole in spacetime thus swapping your locations” and that’s just for starters. Some gamers may find the graphics a little hard to look at, but sometimes an insane game with peculiar graphics is exactly the type of game we should be playing. So naturally we got in touch with the guys behind the game and sent them a bunch of questions, and now we have the answers. Brace yourselves, for this is our Swap Fire Q&A with Jeremy Alessi:
If you have found yourself wandering over to our site and are now currently reading this interview piece, I hope you love RPG games because Tanzia is almost finished and by Jove it is an incredible looking RPG with a similar charm to that of The Legend of Zelda! Continue reading Arcanity Inc: A Miketendo64 Interview (Jason Jacobitz & Tanzia)
Coming soon to Steam is Warlock’s Tower, a ‘punishing puzzler with elegantly designed levels around one simple rule – one move equals one life lost. Watch your step!’ And once out on Steam, next year it’s coming to the Nintendo 3DS!
In light of this, Team Miketendo64 are most definitely interested in learning more about this indie title coming to multiple platforms and the people behind it, so we reached out to Midipixel Studio and asked a whole bunch of questions! Not only did Midipixel answer them, but they’ve sent them back, we can now share them with all of you! Brace yourselves, for this is our Warlock’s Tower Q&A with Werther Azevedo:
Midipixel Studio Origins:
Miketendo64: “Before we even begin to talk about Warlock’s Tower, let’s talk about you. Who are you? What is your role with regards to Warlocks’ Tower and how did Midipixel Studio come to be?”
Werther Azevedo: “Well, I’m half of our small two men studio. I’m a composer/designer with 10+ years of experience building interactive stuff. Production-wise, I’m usually more focused on artsy duties, such as audio and visuals, but as a designer by trade, I also design levels and discuss high level game design ideas and concepts with Ygor.
Midipixel was born in 2013, after the game studio where we worked, Nano Studio, ceased its activities. Ygor and I had already talked several times about our game ideas and we had (and still have) many affinities in our tastes and beliefs as designers. So, we decided to give it a try. At first, we focused on client work, exploring our ideas during the spare time. But since Warlock’s Tower was awarded at SB Games, we decided to focus on it full time. Or at least, almost full time, since we’re also teachers!”
Developmental Highs & Lows:
Miketendo64: “With Warlock’s Tower coming to Steam in January 2017 and then other platforms, including the 3DS in the months that follow, the end is within sight. How have you found the process of developing Warlock’s Tower?”
Werther Azevedo: “The process was tortuous and chaotic at the beginning, since we only got to work on the game in small bursts. To be honest, Warlock’s Tower was first intended to be a quick game with a nice mechanic, but as it grew on us, it also grew in scope! After the award, we started addressing it in a more orderly manner, with decent project management habits.
My favorite moments were probably the happiness injections we got on two occasions: First, when we won the award. Then, when we presented the game at BIG Festival and the reception was really beyond our expectations.
Worst moments? hmmm… In the beginning, it was really hard to find motivation to work on the game, between heavy amounts of dull client work. So, I don’t remember those times so fondly. Also, my first attempts at pixel art were painful, as I thought I wouldn’t achieve a level I’d be happy with, but fortunately, it happened.”
The Inspiration Behind Warlock’s Tower:
Miketendo64: “Where did the inspiration for Warlock’ Tower come from?”
Werther Azevedo: “The main mechanic, where each step costs you one life point, is an original concept that Ygor came up with many years ago. Although not directly inspired by Sokoban, we can’t deny that the game pertains to this family of puzzle games. The game’s aesthetic is, of course, inspired by Game Boy classics, such as Pokémon, Legend of Zelda and many others. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of making a game that looks and feels authentically retro, but is enhanced by modern game design concepts and technology. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve with Warlock’s Tower.”
Miketendo64: “Well it certainly looks and sounds like it is paying off.”
A Crazy Warlock & Saving the World!:
Miketendo64: “Now Warlock’s Tower isn’t all just about complex rooms and puzzles, there’s a letter to deliver as well. Any chance you could paint us a clearer picture of just what exactly is Warlock’s Tower and what it is all about?”
Werther Azevedo: “Warlock’s Tower is a game defined by its core mechanic. So the game indeed is about complex rooms and puzzles first and foremost, while the layers of content arise from there. Although we truly value this extra layer, its purpose is mostly to amuse the players with jokes, nice characters and a general feel good atmosphere. The plot is simple: There’s a crazy Warlock sucking the world dry with his tower, and your mission as a mailman is to deliver him a peace offering and, thus, save the world!”
Miketendo64: “Sounds great!”
3DS is the Only other Confirmed Platform for Warlock’s Tower:
Miketendo64: “You’ve already confirmed the 3DS as one additional platform for Warlock’s Tower, any chance of bringing it to another Nintendo platform such as the Wii U, or solely the 3DS?”
Werther Azevedo: “For now, we are targeting only the 3DS. After all, it’s the great-grandson of the venerable Game Boy!”
Playing with a Friend:
Miketendo64: “Warlock’s Tower lets players play with a friend, can you elaborate on how the multiplayer function works?”
Werther Azevedo: “Warlock’s Tower offers tag team mode in some levels. Although it is really fun to play those levels with a friend in a hot seat manner, I wouldn’t call it a multiplayer game, since we didn’t design the game around co-op playing from start to finish. What we do observe is that people really enjoy watching others play and giving opinions on how to solve levels, so that’s a plus!”
Zombies Reign Supreme:
Miketendo64: “Zombies, slimes and flying eyes make for great hazards, which one is your favourite?”
Werther Azevedo: “Probably the zombies, since they’re the most stupid of the lot, so designing levels featuring them has brought me some good laughs!”
Hands on With Warlock’s Tower:
Miketendo64: “Having play-tested the game yourself, how does WT compare to other indie games available in today’s market and how many hours have you put into it yourself?”
Werther Azevedo: “In terms of mechanics, WT is comparable to just a handful of published indie games I know of. A Good Snowman is Hard to Build” and “Nova-111” come to mind. There are also some cool similar puzzlers in development, such as “Keen”, “Puzzle Depot” and “Ernesto”. Apart from those, there are a lot of indie puzzle/platformers on the market, but we couldn’t find that many traditional hardcore puzzlers, so that has been one of our motivations. As for hours I’ve put into it? I’ve totally lost count… Looong play sessions for each level I design!”
Miketendo64: “If you weren’t working on WT, what would you be doing instead? Working on another game you come up with, or doing something else entirely?”
Werther Azevedo: “Definitely working on one of our many other game ideas!”
Return of the Retro!:
Miketendo64: “8-bit games have made quite the comeback in the last couple of years, have you played many of them and have a favourite title?”
Werther Azevedo: “I’m sad to say that I’m one of those gamedevs that spend so much time making games that I don’t get to play them that much anymore. Shovel Knight and PPP are still on my backlog, but I’ve played some, like Downwell (incredibly polished), Retro City Rampage (funny as hell), Environmental Station Alpha (cute Metroidvania), and others I don’t recall now. Apart from that, I’m always impressed by the awesome stuff that devs have been releasing for the PICO-8 fantasy console.”
Miketendo64: “Well since we’ve touched on 8-bit games and Warlock’s Tower being the 8-bit 80’s looking game it is, you are clearly a gamer with a retro taste. What are your favourite 8-bit games and what is your fondest 8-bit gaming memory?”
Werther Azevedo: “Oh, boy! The list is extensive! My dad had a video rental store, so I had LOADS of Nintendo 8-bit games. I loved so many of them… The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, Contra, SMB 3 (best ever), Double Dragon, Guerilla War, Bubble Bobble, River City Ransom, Punch Out, Tecmo World Wrestling, Skate of Die, TMNT2…
My fondest memory is probably playing Contra and other co-op games with my friends. Good times!”
Miketendo64: “Video rental store and loads of access to 8-bit games? Talk about lucky!”
Go Hard or Go Home with the Final Floor of Warlock’s Tower!:
Miketendo64: “Is there anything else about the game that we don’t know already that you can tell us?”
Werther Azevedo: “Yes, I can tell you that the last floor will have some neat surprises, a core mechanic twist and INSANELY hard levels with every mechanic in the game combined!”
Midipixel Weigh in on the Nintendo Switch:
Miketendo64: “Nintendo have unveiled the Nintendo Switch. What do you make of the console? Will you be getting one and can we hope to see WT or even a future Midipixel title release on Nintendo’s next home console?”
Werther Azevedo: “I’m not usually affected by hype, but the Switch seems to offer what I’ve always wanted in a console: Being able to transform my main system into a handheld. I’m usually more into handhelds than the bigger consoles, but they’ve always been somewhat limited in comparison to their “big brothers”. So, I’m stoked about having a powerful system to take with me wherever I go. I’ll probably be getting one and, if WT’s reception from 3DS players gets to be as positive as we expect, we’ll be eying the Nintendo Switch, for sure.”
An RPG Title is Next on the List for Midipixel Studio:
Miketendo64: “Lastly when all is said and done with Warlock’s Tower and it has released on all your chosen platforms, what comes next for Midipixel Studio?”
Werther Azevedo: “It will all depend on the game’s success, but we really want to make an RPG title next. Ygor and I are die-hard RPG fans (his knowledge of tabletop systems is encyclopaedic), so that’s what we’re aiming for.”
Now I don’t know about you, but a retro looking RPG done by Midipixel is a game a lot of us can get excited about, but that won’t be for a long time, provided the guys are dedicate themselves to such a project. So because that is a huge what if, we may as well spend the present eagerly anticipating the release of Warlock’s Tower, because it does have the look of a retro game that will become our next 8-bit addiction and I for one can’t wait to try it! And since I’ve said enough, it’s back to Werther for the final word, a message for the fans:
“I hope that you all give Warlock’s Tower a try! We really poured a lot of love into it, and I believe we accomplished the mission of developing a game that could be a Game Boy hidden gem! We’re really proud of our little game and hope everyone that plays it feel the same.”