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Interview - Digital Leisure

Since Digital Leisure surprised us with the release of The Incredible Maze on WiiWare, the developer has developed two other games Sudoku Challenge and Texas Hold'em Tournament. Now Digital Leisure is looking towards the future with the upcoming release of their next WiiWare project, Copter Crisis. We thought we'd take this opportunity to have a chat with them and talk about their past projects as well as their outlook towards the future!

Wiiloveit: Would you care to take a moment to introduce yourself? What do you do at Digital Leisure?

Digital Leisure: Sure! My name is Paul Gold and my primary function is that of Supervising Producer for our game titles. However, as with any indie developer, we all wear a lot of hats!

How many were part of the development team for your three games? How long did it take to develop each game?

Regarding development time, each title has its own unique characteristics which vary. Texas Hold'em took about six months, where Sudoku Challenge was only two -- so it's really a matter of how feature laden a title may be. 

Let's discuss a bit about each of your games! What motivated you to develop The Incredible Maze as your first WiiWare game?

For our first title we really wanted to put out something that utilized the Wii Remote's motion sensors, and after some brainstorming we thought it would be good fun to take the classic wooden labyrinth game a create something with a new twist for WiiWare.

Since the release of The Incredible Maze, Equilibrio, another marble-maze game, has also released the service. Did you consider risks involved (such as competition) when developing your games?

Certainly most developers will look at what has been released or upcoming when considering what to develop. However, each game has its own unique characteristics and gamers will look for something that satisfies each individual taste.

Value seems to be very important to you when creating games for this platform. For example, Sudoku Challenge featured over 100,000,000 puzzles. Why do you feel such emphasis should be placed on value and replayability?

Well, we're all gamers too and there is nothing worse than picking up a game that is not only pricey, but is over quickly and not very satisfying. We decided early on that we would keep our titles at the 500 Wii Point level and try to provide as many modes and functions so you'd want to come back and keep playing again and again.

The addition of Wi-Fi play in Texas Hold'Em Tournament has been well praised. Have you learned a lot from your experience with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection? Do you plan to make use of this service again in the future?

Going through the Wi-Fi process was a great experience and we most certainly plan on using it in the future. We've received many emails from fans that have been playing Hold'em, and they've said time and time again that playing people worldwide and even their friends via Wi-Fi makes the game for them. The positive feedback from gamers on Hold'em has been great and we can't thank everyone enough for their support!

What motivated you to bring a Texas Hold'Em game onto WiiWare as opposed to a different card game? Do you plan on delving into the card/board game genre again?

Me and a couple of the guys at Digital Leisure have always enjoyed playing no limit hold'em poker since the craze started a few years ago, and it just felt like the perfect game for the WiiWare service. There are so many passionate poker players, from the novice to the expert, and a with this worldwide online forum with leaderboards and Mii characters just brings out that competitive edge. As for releasing future card/board games it's certainly a possibility.

Copter Crisis has been confirmed to be your next game in development. Where did you first get the idea to develop this game?

We again wanted to go back to using the motion sensor on the Wii Remote and using it as a control stick for a helicopter just felt like a really fun choice.

Can you tell us a bit about the game and how it's shaping up so far?

Sure! The game has been coming together really well over the last few months since our initial announcement when 'Hold'em' was released. We believe we've created a fun arcade style flight game experience, and we think your readers will feel the same when it's released in the coming weeks. For those who missed the previous announcement, 'Copter Crisis' puts you in the pilots seat as a member of the elite Helicopter Rescue Squadron! There are over thirty missions you're assigned to respond to, anywhere at anytime. Your Wii Remote becomes the control stick as you guide your copter along the canyons while avoiding falling rocks, severe weather conditions and even anti-aircraft fire! We think you'll have a great time!

Overall, how has your experience been with the WiiWare service thus far? Will you continue to support the service in the future?

We've had a great experience with WiiWare and couldn't be more pleased! We're just in the final stages with 'Copter Crisis' and we have many more titles in the queue!

Given that there was talk about Dragon's Lair coming to the DS platform, do you think the series could ever see the light of day on the Wii?

Dragon's Lair for the Wii is certainly a possibility. We've heard from countless Dragon's Lair fans in the last year who desperately want to see this arcade classic on the Wii and it's something that could happen. Should anything be decided, there would definitely be a major announcement.

What are your thoughts so far on how the DSiWare service is shaping up? Do you think your games would be well-suited for the DSiWare platform, particularly Sudoku Challenge?

DSiWare is shaping up nicely and I think we'll start seeing more and more titles arrive just as we did with WiiWare.  I think Sudoku would make perfect sense for the DSi system and who knows, it might be available sooner than you think!

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview! It's always great talking to a Canadian developer. In conclusion, do you have anything else to add?

You're welcome! Thanks for your support!

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Digital Leisure for taking time out of their busy schedule for us to conduct this Interview with them! We wish them all the best with their upcoming release of Copter Crisis and of course with other WiiWare games they plan to release in the future.

Paul Gold was talking to KnucklesSonic8