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Interview - Exkee

Game Info

WiiWare | Exkee | 1-3 Players co-operative | Out Now | 700 Wii Points
Controller Compatability: Wii Remote and Nunchuck
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12th October 2009; By KnucklesSonic8

ColorZ has had a nice amount of time sitting amongst the other games on the WiiWare service now, but sadly hasn't become as popular as many of the other recent games on the service, which is a real shame - especially since it's an addictive game that offers a real challenge for a relatively cheap price. We decided to get in touch with developer Exkee and ask them their opinions on the game, as well as uncover facts on how and why they developed this new IP for WiiWare.

Would you take a moment to introduce yourself? What's your role at Exkee?

I am Romain Streichemberger, production director at Exkee, and I am also the creator of ColorZ. It was my own concept; I did all the Game Design, Level Design and also some coding.


What motivated you to bring this puzzle game to the WiiWare service? How did the idea first take root?

First I would like to add that ColorZ is more action based with some puzzle aspects rather than a fully puzzle game.We think that downloadable platforms on home consoles like WiiWare are a great opportunity for small studios like us. We remain independent, so we can express our gameplay ideas and release original games.


What kinds of risks did you foresee going into this project?

The risk is economic, for ColorZ we do not have publisher. It is a self financed game, so if the sales are low, we lose money and vice versa ^^


How difficult was it to adhere to the standards imposed by this platform?

It wasn’t difficult because WiiWare is exactly the same as programming for a regular Wii title. The only limitation is the size limit, 40 Mb, so for ColorZ it was difficult towards 2D animations.

What were some of the key decisions you had to make when developing this game?

One key decision was toward graphics. We did an original version of ColorZ but we were not happy, it was too “16 bit”-like. So we decided to move to a more “purified” style, more abstract. Now, we are quite happy with the result, even on HD tv ColorZ is looking great.


Did you have a hard time deciding on how the controls would be mapped?

No, the original idea of controller mapping has not changed. The idea of controlling the first UFO with WiiMote pointer, the second one with the Nunchuk and the last one with the + Control Pad was there from the beginning of the project. But some aspects of Gameplay have been modified during the development, some fusion mechanism, the use of the C button and other minor aspects.


How did you ensure that the level of challenge present within the game wouldn't become a turn-off to some?

You know ColorZ take some old school “rules”, like losing!

In many modern games we do not lose anymore, you play, you play, and then you finish the game.

In ColorZ you have to play in order to apprehend the gameplay, and you discover that each time you try to finish a level you become better, and then when you manage to finish the level you are very happy and the next level is then a new challenge. By practicing, you discover some tips, like the use of the C Button to lock your main ship while you’re moving the second one, or you can also use fusion in order to control only one ship instead of two. There are loads of other small tricks to help you.


In some levels, the camera zooms in, creating more challenge or, adversely, it pans out at times to allow more freedom. Why did you decide to do this?

It’s to break the monotony of the simple side scrolling. We did not want to do a traditional horizontal scrolling or vertical scrolling game. Here you can go in every direction and the panning adds more dynamic in levels. For example, in one level there’s a close up where you have to revolve around a big enemy while avoiding smaller ones. It’s a kind of like a boss!


If you could compare ColorZ's style of gameplay to any other game, what would it be?

We often make 2 comparisons. The first is Guitar Hero with the two hands synchronization. The second and most obvious one is Ikaruga for the colored bullet absorption system. But we’re going deeper in ColorZ with the merging gameplay element, especially in multiplayer mode. You can’t finish the level without your partners’ help and synchronization.


What are your thoughts on the service thus far? How do you think it could be improved?

One point many developers asked for is to allow making demos for our games on WiiWare. People's opinions are good, but are nothing compared when you try a game by yourself.


In your opinion, what are some of the more challenging games on WiiWare that you've observed to handle the difficulty aspect well?

If you take Mega Man 9 for example, people won’t finish it by the first time they play it. They have to retry but they are used to this kind of difficulty. In ColorZ it's a bit different, because people aren’t accustomed to control more than one entity, but once you know how the game is meant to be played you really enjoy it and it’s very rewarding.


Have you given thought to what you'd like to do in the future on the WiiWare service?

Absolutely, we’re working on it, but we can’t say more.


Are you looking into utilizing the Nintendo WFC service in future titles? Do you think ColorZ could've benefited from it if you were given more development time?

ColorZ isn’t meant to be played online because the fun in multiplayer comes from your friends next to you and the way you’ll manage the effort of the team, but indeed an online ranking could have been fun to implement.


In conclusion, is there anything you'd like to say to our readers?

I hope they are going to enjoy ColorZ as much as we were passionate to create it.

Thanks for the great answers, Romain - we're looking forwards to seeing where you go with the WiiWare service in future, even if we have absolutely no idea what you're planning! We also hope ColorZ does well on the service, and that you'll have some great ideas on how to develop this puzzler further as time goes on.

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Romain Streichemberger was talking to KnucklesSonic8

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