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Interview - Abylight

Game Info
Music on: Electronic Keyboard

DSiWare | Abylight | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points

27th June 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

When Abylight first positioned itself onto the digital map, they started out with a modest arcade game. After which point, they moved onto an interesting concept for a stress relief game that turned out to be quite flawed in its execution. Since then, things have been pretty quiet for the company in terms of prospective projects. And then all of a sudden spurts up the new 'Music on' series for DSiWare! We thought it would be a great opportunity to chat with the team for a bit and gain some insight on what they have to say about their current and upcoming projects.

To begin with, please tell us a little bit about the minds of the Abylight team!
The 4 founders started its professional path developing video games some time ago, around 1988. Since then, we have developed a lot of games, mostly for for Nintendo platforms. 
When we first founded Abylight in 2003, we started developing for cellulars because the console market was complicated at the time. 
Finally, on 2007, we started back again with consoles with a project for Nintendo DS. 
Now we are focused on digital distribution.
So you guys have just released Music On: Electronic Keyboard on DSiWare. What were your expectations with this going into final release?
“Electronic Keyboard” is the first title of a software collection of musical applications and small musical games. We are doing our best to bring users the highest quality applications at the smallest possible price.
It would suggest that additional titles are planned for the "Music On" series. Are you able to disclose details on what your future plans are?
We have a bunch of titles in development but we'd rather keep things quiet until their development is mature enough.
What are your thoughts on the DSiWare service overall? Do you have any other plans with it at this time?
DSiWare has a big development potential, and we have other projects besides the “Music on” series.

Looking back on earlier releases, the approach towards Stop Stress: A Day of Fury was definitely unique. What was it like developing this title?
It is a quite strange video game! The gameplay is experimental. You see the world through the eyes of a highly stressed man, so everything is distorted. 
The development was also quite stressful, as it is not easy to fit a 3D game inside the limited capacity of a WiiWare product.
Beyond the stresses of everyday life, what motivated you to develop this game in the first place?
The main idea was: “Grab your Wii Remote controller as if it is a baseball bat and destroy everything”. This sounded very funny so we started working around the concept.
The game also has a sense of surprise to it. An example of this is when a creepy monster appears randomly on-screen from time to time. Why did you feel that such an element would enhance gameplay?
That enemy is your own conscience floating over your head. It is part of the schizophrenic atmosphere.
Do you have any comments in response to the reception the game has been getting from both critics and general gamers?
We didn't receive any direct communication from gamers, but we have read almost all the reviews and users comments of the Internet. There is a wide range of opinions about this game, or any product for that matter.
We listen to everyone, but in the end, decisions are made based on our own experience and expertise.
What's the strongest aspect about the game that you're most proud of? What's one thing you would've liked to fix?
There is some experimental aspects in the gameplay very useful to develop FPS games using the Wii's controllers.
All through the development process and since the beginning, we worried about the limited memory available for a WiiWare game.
If the game had more time, what other locations might you have taken players to?
It was not a matter of time, but capacity of the hardware resources. We developed a level set in a supermarket and other features that we had to cut off because of this.
Were you pleased with the response towards your first project, Fish 'em all?
Fish'em All! is a well polished arcade game for whom we received a good response from public and press.
Fish'em All! was the first project of Abylight playing a double role: developer and publisher. So, we had to assume a lot of challenges that were never faced before, even with more than 20 years of professional experience in the industry.
The hardest was the marketing approach. On the Wii Shop, there is little information given and one has to choose really carefully its words.
How would you describe your experience in WiiWare development so far?
From the technical point of view, all Nintendo platforms are very programmer-friendly. In terms of commercialization, we think that WiiWare is still immature and needs a serious redesign of the Wii Shop Channel. 
We hope that Nintendo will improve it in future updates.
Do you think you might develop another stress-relieving game in the near future?
We don't have any stress-relieving game planned, but who knows.
Keep up the good work in developing original WiiWare concepts. In conclusion, do you have anything you'd like to say to our readers?
Abylight is a small company and we like to be near the gamers. We want to invite everyone to tell us what they think and what they would like to play. Our profile on Facebook is a good forum for that, and we have an eye on it everyday!

We look forward to seeing how the 'Music on' series plays out and hearing about what the company is currently developing for WiiWare and DSiWare. In the meantime, check out our review of Music on: Electronic Keyboard.

Music on: Electronic Keyboard
Review | 
Feature | Trailer | Preview

Eva Gasper 
was talking to KnucklesSonic8
For more information on this title or the developers, click here.

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