WiiWare | Medaverse | 1-8 Players (local multiplayer play) / 2 Players (co-operative play) | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote / Nunchuck
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After seeing the unique, long-awaited WiiWare party game Gravitronix in action, we were intrigued as to what exactly made the developers choose to go ahead with their innovative idea, and what they thought of it's poor reception after such a long development process, so we go in touch with Medaverse to find out exactly what it was that motivated them to create their game, and why it took so long to release, and along the way learned about the tasking processes and hard work that come with developing such a frantic downloadable title for the Wii, as you can find all about in this two page interview.
Hello, it's a pleasure to catch up with you guys! Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your role at Medaverse?
My name is Jesse Lowther, lead designer and CEO of Medaverse Studios. I perform a range of functions from design to PR to janitorial services.
Can you give us some details of your early beginnings as a rising developer?
It was a time filled with idealism and naivety. We basically set out to develop a game with no idea how to do so and a very low chance of ever bringing anything to market, yet we somehow managed to pull through and release a game.
We had seven people working regularly on Gravitronix, all on a part-time basis. We actually can't afford to expand the team, but we might look for some more volunteers if we can find them.
Has anything you've done before prepared you for what you're doing now?
Not especially. I've worked with some of these guys in the past on projects, but game development is a completely different ball game. We weren't prepared for any of it.
Where did the idea for the game spring from? What led you to deciding on the name for the game?
Both came from a single night where I imagined paddles on a circular arena with gravity beams. I came up with "Gravitronix" on the spot, before I pitched the game idea to anyone else, actually. It all stemmed from trying to figure out a method of using the Wii's motion controls in a simple game.
Groups of friends were our target demographic, really. Though, I'm quite serious when I say that pretty much ANYONE can pick up the controller and be playing the game in seconds. I've had a 76 year old woman play the game without issue. If she can do it, anyone can.
What in particular about WiiWare encouraged you to pursue such a route?
We looked at WiiWare as the chance to develop for the Wii's incredibly unique controller more than anything. I wanted to develop a game for the Wii the moment I first saw the controller.
The Q&A sessions were like a dream come true for us. We didn't expect reactions as positive as the ones we got. There were a number of things we felt we had to change based upon the Q&A sessions, however. We added a cooldown to the repel beam to prevent button mashing and we changed the menu system to make it more apparent when there were too many players on a team for the game to start. Other than that, the only real complaint we had that we were never able to address was that the background in the game was too static. We had planned to have it change colors as territories won or lost, but there just wasn't time to include it.
Other than that, players loved the game. We fully believed that we were shipping a game that would be very well received and enjoyed by many. We're still left scratching our heads over how the results from Q&A sessions differed so greatly from reactions we're hearing from some reviewers. The only conclusion we can draw is that Gravitronix is a love it or hate it game. Either it clicks with you or it doesn't. I'm hoping WiiWare demos work out for this reason because I'm sure there are a lot of people who would enjoy Gravitronix if they gave it a try.
Our AI programmer actually started taking everything in the game that we had tweaked as a value and made it into an option that players could change for themselves. It eventually resulted in a long list of options that allows you to customize the game in a huge number of ways. (continued on next page)
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