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Interview - Fugazo (Frobot)

Game Info
Frobot

WiiWare | Fugazo | Out Now (North America)
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Interview
27th January 2009; By KnucklesSonic8

If you haven't already been intrigued by WiiWare-bound project Frobot, then you're about to be. Wiiloveit recently had an opportunity to speak to the minds over at Fugazo and ask them a couple questions about this upcoming game. But really, how could you not get excited by a fro-equipped robot? Especially when he appears to have a lot of love to go around - the dude has many girlfriends! Why? Read on for more details.


It's been a pleasure to grab you guys for this interview. Would you mind taking a moment to introduce yourself?
Sure! My name is Andrew Lum and I’m the Producer on Frobot and the CEO of Fugazo, Inc. I was the game designer on our last eight projects, but as we’ve grown I found that I just don’t have time to do the day-to-day level design anymore. Before starting Fugazo, Inc. I worked at Sandlot Games where I was the Lead Designer of Cake Mania, the best selling casual game of 2006.

How big is your dev team? How long has the game been in development?
We have 1 programmer, 2 artists, 1 level designer, and myself as Producer. We started developing the game in Jan 2009 so it’s been over a year now!

What's your educational background? Have you always been bent on Game Design?
Actually, I majored in Law and Society at the University of California Santa Barbara. I landed my first job as Nintendo Street Team Member by submitting a naked video audition for the Nintendo Street Team Challenge when I was in college. Totally serious; here’s the link to my video. From there, I started working QA in Nintendo and eventually worked my way into Game Design at Sandlot Games. For other non-programmer/non-artist aspiring game designers I recommend working QA at a games company as a way to get your foot in the door.

What made you decide on developing this project for WiiWare?

There were two major reasons: 1. I’m a Nintendo Fanboy. 2. Wii was the perfect choice because of the Wii Remote. Frobot requires pinpoint accuracy that can’t be implemented using a standard Xbox or PS3 controller.

How do you plan to take advantage of the Wii's unique capabilities?
The game takes full advantage of the Wii Remote pointer. It’s used to control where Frobot shoots as well as his orientation when using the Heart Stopper (Mirror Shield). We also use standard features such as Rumble when Frobot blows up.

What inspired you to come up with the idea for the game's central character?
In February, our casual games team was brainstorming tiles for a Match 3 garden game we were working on. We ended up calling the game Flower Paradise. Jonah, our casual games programmer, laughed noting that we had a fixation with the letter F. Fugazo had already developed Fashion Fits, Fishco, and then Flower Paradise. At the time our WiiWare game was fairly generic space game simply titled “Robot” “Let’s add an F and call the game Frobot!” Jonah exclaimed. Everyone burst into laughter at such a ridiculous concept. Naturally, we ran with the idea and redesigned the entire game.

What are your plans with regards to the game's level progression? Are you planning on incorporating a storyline of any sort?

So first there are 25 unique levels and 5 unique areas. In each area you gain a new power which affects how you play the game. Your five powers are: the Dynomine, the Robo Hustle, the Stud Missile, the Heart Stopper (Mirror Shield), and the Jive Stalker (Guidable Bullet). I don’t want to spoil too much but there is a storyline where you must rescue your 5 girlfriends and also defeat a mysterious enemy!

So why/how DOES Frobot have so many girlfriends? Inquiring male minds want to know!
Why does Frobot have so many girlfriends? Answer 1: it’s quite simply because he’s awesome. How does he have so many girlfriends? See Answer 1.

We understand that the Disco theme is only present within the first level of the game. What other themes do you plan to implement for the other stages in the game?
The five environments are: Red Sprocket (Disco), Funky Town Slums (Ghetto), System Restore Yard (Junkyard), RAM Center (Computer), Microshaft Mainframe (Boss HQ)


Can you tell us about the musical stylings in the game?
Each environment has its own funky track matched to the look and feel of the area. In addition, there will also be a special extended Frobot Theme song included with the game.

How much replay value will the game offer to gamers?
Each level has a Speed Medal that you can earn by completing the level quickly. To unlock all the multiplayer maps you’ll need to collect all the Speed Medals.

What can you say about the level of difficulty in the game?

The game starts off fairly easy but the later levels get pretty tough. I love the old SNES games that weren’t afraid to be difficult so don’t be surprised if you spend 30-60 minutes on your first play through some of the later levels.

Are there any co-op or multiplayer aspects to the game?
I’m happy to say that Frobot includes a 4 player battle mode! Battle Mode is crazy fun and feels like a mash-up of Bomberman and Wii Play’s Tanks. We have to limit how much time we play Battle Mode while at the office so we can get some work done.

When is the game slated for release?
We are planning for releasing in the first half of 2010.

Does the DSiWare service appeal to you in any way, from a marketing perspecive? Do you think Frobot would be a good fit for that platform?
If we were to make Frobot for a portable console I think we would do a traditional retail DS release instead of a DSiWare. However, since the tech is so different for DS than Wii, it’s pretty unlikely that Frobot will make it onto Nintendo’s portable console.

Have you given any thoughts to what other project you might undertake next?

We have too many ideas here at Fugazo. If Frobot does well we definitely plan on making another WiiWare game though!

Do you have any pointers for those looking into getting into Game Design or for those looking into developing something for WiiWare?
Like I said earlier, if you wanted to be a Game Designer I recommend doing QA for a games company to get some experience. Or, if you really think you have a good idea and you have programmer and artist friends, then try making an indie game!


In conclusion, do you have anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
Thanks for reading! Check out www.frobot-game.com for the latest info on Frobot!



Thanks very much to Andrew and his team for taking the time to look after this Q&A for us. The game looks like it's shaping up rather nicely, and the multiplayer battle mode sounds really fun as well! Keep your eyes peeled for some new information on Frobot in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Frobot
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Andrew Lum was talking to KnucklesSonic8
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