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Interview - Gevo Entertainment

Game Info
Little Tournament Over Yonder

WiiWare | Gevo Entertainment | 1 Player | 1-2 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now | 800 Nintendo Points
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30th May 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

With one DSiWare puzzler and two WiiWare titles in their portfolio, Gevo Entertainment is starting to make itself known on Nintendo's download services. We recently had the chance to pose a few questions to the team to get their input on what their first WiiWare experience was like and how their decisions will impact their approach to future projects.

Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview with us. For starters, can you tell us a bit about the development team?
As a Singapore-based company, our development team had been influenced by both Western and Japanese games. Our studio, of course, is of Japanese lineage, our founder is a Japanese games veteran and the studio has worked with a number of Japanese studios and publishers beforehand. By and large, this experience gathered by our team has helped us on this project.

The team had some experience with the Wii™ platform since they had just seen the completion of their previous Wii™ title. However, it was still a new experience since this was our first WiiWare™ title. 
We are glad for the support from everyone in our studio during this project. It was hard work making our first WiiWare™ game, and it is always hard work to make an original game. While the final game has differed slightly from our original envisioning, the resulting Little Tournament Over Yonder still leaves us many things to be proud of.
How many months of development time were devoted towards Little Tournament Over Yonder?
Because the game was an original creation, it was conceptualized and developed in-house from scratch. It took approximately 4 months of development to reach beta and 1-2 months to master.

When developing the game, what audience were you trying to gear the game towards?
We were aiming for a 10-14 age group audience, while still keeping it enjoyable as family game. 

What motivated you to take a game like Chess and develop it into something more?
When we used Chess as a basis for our game design, we considered how Chess is a game that is recognizable to many people. This familiarity allowed people to immediately have an idea about the rules of our game and how to play it. This is important because we wanted our game to be accessible. Player’s need not go through a complex and lengthy explanation to understand how to play this game.
Another plus, is that while the rules for Chess are simple and concise, Chess is still allows for very deep strategies. But of course we wanted to inject originality into our game idea. 
There were only a few other games which have had a mix of chess-like strategy and fast-fighting action; the experience and challenge that the player gets is not easily found in other games. As a result, there wasn’t much for us to reference from. We felt that in the expanded gaming audience of today, there would be players interested in such a game. 
Of course it was important for us to maintain a balance between familiar and new elements in the game.
Were there any worries that the cutesy style would cause most to ignore the game?
There was definitely such a worry. However, to take it to the other extreme would also mean alienating lots of other players. We considered carefully before deciding to go with the current art direction. We are satisfied with how it turned out and the cheerful art style works well for the identity of the game.
Since we were all children once, I’m sure there is a part of everyone that is able to appreciate the cute, toy inspired visuals of the game.
How did you feel about the complaints about the game? How would you have fixed them?
On hindsight, there are certainly things that we would have done differently. One thing we felt we could have done better was to distinguish what our younger audience and older challenge-driven players wanted.
For this game, we ended up taking the middle ground, and this might not have been the best decision. Many people requested for a higher level of strategy in the game.
Given the chance, there are a few changes I would like to make in a revision to Little Tournament Over Yonder. Firstly, I would have added the option for shorter matches. I would have also liked to add more advanced strategy elements further in the game. Players should not feel pressured to have to use these mechanics but it would unlock many new gameplay options for seasoned players. Finally, more unlockable characters would have been nice.

Do you feel that Little Tournament Over Yonder would've benefited from a demo?
Yes definitely. Since it was developed independently, the game did not have the marketing muscle behind it like games from bigger publishers. Having an available demo would give us a better chance of competing fairly for the audiences’ attention.
Do you think we can expect more WiiWare™ titles from you guys in the near future?
We are not planning on Wiiware titles for the moment. We will surely update you if there are plans on new titles.

Games like Little Tournament Over Yonder could've definitely benefited from greater marketing. Although it had its share of flaws, we thought it was still a good game. However, I was worried that the game would get overlooked, and that seems to have been the case. If you have points to spare and have tried some of WiiWare's other great titles, why not give this game a try? It's carries a level of depth and it's quite fun for strategy fans. Many thanks to the team for making this possible, and we look forward to more projects in the future.

Little Tournament Over Yonder
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Chad Alaksandus 
was talking to KnucklesSonic8
For more information on this title or the developers, click here.

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