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Interview - Left Field Productions

Game Info
Battle Poker

WiiWare | Left Field Productions | 1 Player | 1-4 Players Versus | Out Now (NA) | 800 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (Pointer)
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20th August 2009; By KnucklesSonic8

Last month, we took time out to contact Left Field Productions about their very first WiiWare game, Battle Poker. Since the dev team has dabbled in such games as Excitebike 64 and, more recently, Nitrobike, we figured it would be great to speak to them about what type of opportunities WiiWare presents to them.

What's your role at Left Field Productions? How many were part of the team behind Battle Poker and how much development time was involved?

Left Field Productions: I’m the CEO here at LFP.


What were some of the inspirations behind Battle Poker? Where did the idea spring from?

Battle Poker was conceived when we were working on the World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions for Wii. What we tried to create was a multi-player poker game that allowed you to see your opponent’s cards, and yet still remain competitive. From that it became a game of memory and reflex. For the single player experience we introduced a more cerebral experience with our Shuffle mode of play.


What was it like developing Battle Poker as your very first WiiWare game? Have you learned a lot going into this new avenue of digital distribution?

The initial development of Battle Poker was very swift and we had a playable up and running in a matter of a few months however, development was paused at various points as other projects interrupted. At the beginning of this year we had the opportunity to finally bring it to a close.

How do you think Battle Poker fares against some of the other card games on the WiiWare service such as Texas Hold'Em Tournament and Jungle Speed? Do you think the game will do well as other card games come to WiiWare such as UNO and Sexy Poker?

Battle Poker is unique in the space. Battle Poker mixes solid puzzling in the single-player game with fast paced action in the multi-player game.


Do you plan on continuing to support the WiiWare service in the future? Do you have an idea of what you might do next?

Our intention is to continue to support the WiiWare service. We have a couple of concepts in various stages of development. The first that is likely to see the light of day is a spectacular 3D affair with some awesome destruction physics. We had some real fun squeezing it into the size constraints of WiiWare.


Do you see yourself pursuing the card/board game genre again in the future? Do you see a niche for these kinds of games or do you have plans to pursue other genres?

We definitely plan to pursue other genres. Watch this space!


Do you think you'd like to take advantage of online capabilities in future WiiWare titles, either with online play or utilising the Pay & Play DLC service?

We were one of the first developers to take advantage of online on Wii and I believe we developed the first online racing game for Wii – with our Nitrobike. As developers we love playing with new and cool features so online is something we’d look to do again.

Battle Poker was announced over a year ago now. During this time, you've been able to see some of the work of other developers, and what they've been working towards. How does this affect your outlook on future titles?

We have our own strategy for WiiWare, but like any sensible developer we look at what everyone else is doing for inspiration and sometimes just to enjoy the games they created. Our title currently in development is the kind of game that would not look out of place in a box on a retail shelf. It really is quite surprising how much you can squeeze into the file constraints of WiiWare.


Do you see yourself developing games for Nintendo's DSiWare service in the future?

We have some plans, but there is nothing actively in development right now.


Finally, what was it like developing Excitebike 64? How did you react towards the response that both Excitebike 64 and Nitro Bike recieved?

Excitebike was nearing completion when I arrived at LFP and it was obvious immediately that we had something special – and it was great to see that reflected in most of the reviews. What I find interesting is that I felt we had something special with Nitrobike too. Now with Nitrobike we’d gone for something much more out-there, where Excitebike was somewhat grounded. With Nitrobike the controls where challenging and required a decent investment of time – but once mastered you could fly around those tracks like a rocket. I’m not sure most of the reviewers took that time.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Left Field Productions for taking the time out to speak with us, especially with the fact that the representative we spoke to was the CEO of the company! We certainly hope we'll see more titles from you guys in the near future. We're not sure how well Battle Poker is doing at the moment but rest assured that you guys definitely have some unique ideas that you can bring to the service and we'd love to see what you can do. Now that you've had time to explore other ideas and see what what works and what doesn't even amongst the competition, we're confident that their next release will be a more focused one.

Battle Poker
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