Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Gravitroix Interview

Well, Medaverse has very kindly answered some questions about their upcoming WiiWare title Gravitronix. Without any further ado, here is the interview:

1. Could you give us a brief outline of what Gravitronix is about?

I've found it's difficult to describe how the game will play without going into paragraphs of description which ultimately wind up confusing people instead of enlightening them. To this end, we plan to release a very succinct but thorough video detailing the entire game and how it's played before its release. Yeah, I know it sucks that I'm not spilling the beans right now, but trust me, once we release the preview video, you'll understand why this is an idea that needs to be delivered all at once and not in small portions. If we tried now, we'd fail and more people would come away saying, "I hate the way it sounds." than understanding how the game will actually play.

2. Could you elaborate on the term Action/Battle game?

"Action/Battle" means pitting players against each other directly in a situation where those with quick reflexes and strategic planning will prevail, and while I can't go into the utmost specifics, I can say that randomness will also play a factor in success.

3. How are you using the Wii Remote unique motion sensing ability and will the game use the Nunchuk?

For both the Wii Remote and nunchuk, players will be twisting (like turning a key) and using only the A/B or C/Z buttons to play the game. The controls themselves are immensely simple to learn, but mastering them to achieve the highest effectiveness is another story altogether.

4. What kind of graphics style are you using?

The graphics will have a sharp, rendered look to them, but beyond that, while it's not set in stone yet due to time constraints, we hope to allow the players to select characters to represent them on screen.

5. When is the game set, i.e.. in the future, and will the game feature a story?

It doesn't have a storyline or a setting. If we're going to give a game a storyline, we're going to do it properly and Gravitronix didn't present itself as the type of game where it would be plausible. You're fighting for the sake of fighting and that's where we're going to leave it. If you want a setting, consider it a dimension of its own. Don't get me wrong, we have a laundry list of ideas which involve compelling storylines, but if we're going to do it, we're either going do it right or not at all.

6. You say the game features 1-4 players, will the game support online and offline multiplayer?

The game will easily support four player offline, and while we're looking into Wifi support, I wouldn't count on it. We're only even going to look into online play after all of the core game is honed to the point where we're extremely happy with it, and while I'm pushing hard to get eight player into the game, I'm not going to promise it until we're certain it's doable.

7. Will there be any single player to speak of?

Yes, there will be a single player mode, but as for the complexity, we're not yet certain how far we want to go with it. Gravitronix is an unabashedly multiplayer-focused title. The campaign mode will at least consist of a series of successively difficult battles, but we also hope to have multiplayer co-op support for these as well.

8. How many Wii points are you expecting to sell this for?

We'd opt to charge 500 points for Gravitronix even though I think it'll provide far more than that in a dollar to hour entertainment ratio. This is our first game, after all, and we understand that players will be a bit leery on the subject of trusting a developer they've never heard of before. When many people have tight entertainment budgets, we consider having a $5 price tag meeting our potential customers half way. I don't want people to feel burned on the purchase of a Medaverse game, be it for $5 or $50.

9. What design challenges have you had to overcome when developing for the Wii?

The biggest challenge was coming up with an idea worthy of developing but at the same time simple enough that a small dev team like us can pull it off. We went through two other games before deciding on Gravitronix because the first two ideas were far too complex for a team our size. We want to start small and work our way up and finding the idea that could be our start was probably the biggest challenge.

10. What has been your favourite game on the Wii and have you taken any inspiration from it?

I hate to be cliché and say Wii Sports, but I'm going to choose it anyway. Not only is the game the best viral marker I've ever seen (anyone who tries it at a friend/family member's home will want a Wii shortly thereafter), but it demonstrates how a game can have the simplicity to appeal to anyone while at the same time the depth hardcore players crave. There are some insanely good WIi Sports players out there and I'm quite certain that anyone who wants to pass Wii Sports off as a simple tech demo with no depth will have their asses repeatedly handed to them by the veteran players. Wii Sports struck a perfect balance between accessibility and depth. It is my fondest wish that Gravitronix can achieve even a fraction of that same appeal.

11. What stage of development is the game currently in?

We're still in the early stages: the engine is being finalized, the sprites are being made, the character concept art is being drawn up, the music is being mixed, etc. I realize we have only a few short months between now and the launch of WiiWare, but the project is moving at the best pace capable with the team it has. Everyone on "staff" currently works another job and is doing this on the side in the hopes of living out their dream of game development, but the allure of doing this full time is more than enough to keep us chugging away at it late into the night. I'm even answering these interview questions at 10 PM.

12. When do you hope to have this game finished?

We hope to have Gravitronix ready to launch alongside WiiWare in 2008.

Thanks again Medaverse, I look forward to hearing more about this title in the upcoming months.

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