WiiWare | Icon Games | 1 Player / 2 Players (co-operative play) | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
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9th July 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
With two WiiWare releases under their belt and years of experience in working on other platforms (including the Wii's retail space), Icon Games has their sights set towards a positive future. The company itself is undergoing major changes from what it used to be, and they're also working on a number of projects for the WiiWare service. They've recently announced that work is underway on TrainTrax, and Vertigo: Tilt and Roll, two projects that are still quite mysterious in terms of what we can expect. At the same time, much work has already been done on Soccer Bashi and Family Games - Pen & Paper Edition, two promising releases that will be hitting the Wii Shop Channel soon. With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to sit down with the team and discuss their plans in greater detail.
Richard: We’re currently in what can best be described as a transition period, moving from a traditional developer/publisher type of business to a self-publishing led business. It’s very exciting to be honest, and I’m loving every minute of it!
What motivated you to get into WiiWare development in the first place?
We had developed a few Wii games for retail, and it was a natural progression. Plus, it is a very nice system to work with.
So, onto your games!
Soccer Bashi looks and sounds like a great Arkanoid clone for the WiiWare service! But in what ways is your game unique?
Love! We poured a whole love of love and attention into making this the best Arkanoid/Breakout game out there. But if I had to choose one specific feature I’d say the level editor, which allows you to create levels using all of the tools we used to create the game levels.
I love level editors! This was a Day 1 feature - planned from the very beginning. We’d have loved to have included online level sharing, but alas time and (more importantly) development money were against us to include that particular feature. We desperately want to do that in the future, once resources allow.
What other modes will be included? Is a multiplayer and/or co-op component being considered?
We toyed with this, but it is a single-player game. We have additional modes such as Custom Tournaments, whereby the player can effectively create their own game – either using the levels we created, or their own creations. The number of levels/rounds included can all be customised too.
Family Games - Pen & Paper Edition looks like it's shaping up rather nicely. What expectations do you guys have going into final release?
We wanted to do something which offered broad appeal, for the whole family. I liked Extreme Hangman on the DSi, and thought how much cooler it would be to have a whole load of different games in there, and different rule sets and ways to play. It has been a blast to develop too, including getting my children in on the act to provide a few little doodles here and there. A Family Game, created with help from the whole family!
Yes, that is a fair assumption to make...
I truly feel that Family Games (and even Stunt Cars) has potential on the DSiWare service. Have you considered releasing it on this platform?
Most definitely. We’ll have some news on that front soon...
What can you tell us about Train Trax, in its current state?
At its core there is a model train track creation package: design, build and run your own tracks. We have a number of additional games and modes in there too, where you control the railroad. Think Flight Control with Trains (as a fairly crude description).
In your opinion, what was one of the strongest aspects of Stunt Cars, your debut WiiWare game?
Well it has received a mixed reception, and I know we made some mistakes, but we really put a lot of time and effort into the development of Stunt Cars. Personally I really liked the visual style of the game, especially the car designs, which were created by the original ReVolt cars modeller.
Are you pleased with how the final product turned out? Is there anything you would've liked to change?
I was disappointed we got the AI difficulty and challenge wrong, but the main thing I’d like to have changed is the physics system, and I am pleased to say we have now done that for our future race games.
Currently it is on hold.
Can you tell us more about Race Trax? What are your plans with this release and in what ways will this differ from Stunt Cars?
It is a very different game. I guess the main difference is the track design and creation functionality.
What do you think about the WiiWare service as a whole? In what ways do you think it could be improved?
Definitely a bit more promotion of the service, and games, by Nintendo – and I’d really LOVE to see the ability for the developer to change game pricing after release. We have no scope for promotions, price cuts or any of that at the moment. A real shame.
Yes, we will be exploring this in the future.
What do you think of the 3DS so far? Do you plan to release games for this device?
Love it, and very keen to start work on it. We will definitely be developing on 3DS in the future.
And finally, do you have any words of wisdom for those who are considering WiiWare development?
I guess the main one is to organise your cash-flow to cover the time from release until the royalties start to arrive. The developer ‘performance thresholds’ can delay payment, so you really have to prepare for that.
Thanks so much for answering our questions, "Richy"! It's great to hear about how your titles are shaping up so far. We look forward to the upcoming release of your two WiiWare games, and we also will keep our eyes peeled for news on future releases even on DSiWare. 'Til then, check out our review of Arcade Sports, now available for 800 Points.