Trine 2 Wii U: Exclusive Interview With Frozenbyte

Frozenbyte share their experience on developing Trine 2 on the Wii U.

Trine 2 is one of those rare games that has been published on almost every major platform out there and have managed to deliver uncompromising quality. We recently got in touch with the developers of Trine 2 and had a long chat about the development of the game on the Wii U, their experience on working on  different platforms and more.

Check out the full interview below.

George Reith: What happened to the Magic Mayhem party mode mentioned for the Director’s Cut of Trine 2, and can we expect it in a future update?

Magic Mayhem was something we intended to do and still is a possibility, but not a likelyhood. The idea was to have small mini games that would really make use of the Wii U Gamepad.
In the end we had a lot of work with bringing the DLC up to the level of quality that we intended, so scrapping the Magic Mayhem for the launch window made sense.

George Reith: The Goblin Menace DLC was a great expansion. Any word on other DLC campaigns for Trine 2?

Goblin Menace took about a year to create, so quite a massive DLC in todays standards. We would really like to bring more DLC and maybe the Magic Mayhem later on, but currently we are contemplating if it would be better to put in another long development cycle to get out high quality DLC or if we should just turn our focus over to a third Trine game.

George Reith: Is there likely to be a Trine 3 in the future, or will Frozenbyte be moving onto another intellectual property or perhaps a next generation game?

We will be moving on to other IP as we feel this is the best way for us to grow as a company. 2013 will be quite a year for us and we aim to please with some cool announcements.
As for the Trine franchise, it is clearly our most succesful so far making a third installment a no brainer. Having said that, we don’t want it to feel like Trine 2.5, but rather a large leap and something even more awe insipiring. So that might take a while.

George Reith: Nintendo are apparently going out of their way to treat indie developers well through eShop distribution. Did you find this in your experience of distributing through the Wii U eShop?

They were treating us very nicely. This being our first launch title we guessed there would’ve been a lot more problems, but everything went quite well in the end. Not much can be said yet for the future of the indie scene on the Wii U, but according to our experience so far, it is the console to beat. Hopefully other indies gets similar vibes and next holiday season we will have a thriving community of the small guys on the Nintendo side.

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George Reith: Some developers have been critical of the Wii U’s slow CPU. Did you have any trouble porting Trine 2 to Wii U because of this?

None whatsoever. The whole architecture is running very well and we were able to ramp the T2 art to a higher degree than with the other consoles. So for porting no issues at all and there is a nice base for future original development too. Maybe some were looking for a larger leap in terms of pure power, but in the end I believe most developers will be quite comfortable with the system.

George Reith: The Trine games seem to take influence from a variety of genres. Are there any games or game genres in particular that you think have vastly influenced Trine and Trine 2?

We always get the “Lost Vikings” reference, but funny enough not primarily from the original designer of Trine. I believe there has been a lot of influence in each stage of development of the original Trine, meaning from the days when it was a one man project to the time when it was completed by a 20 man team. For the genres the clear directions come from puzzle and platforming. What made Trine quite unique compared to a lot of previous platformers was the free physics aspect in puzzle solving. Almost everything else can be attributed to a variety of games from the past and there are so many that it would not make sense to mention one or two in particular.
Still, other forms of art have had a huge effect on the Trine franchise, from the Tolkien books to all high-fantasy in general.

George Reith: The director’s cut of Trine 2 is meant to be the first title Frozenbyte have distributed themselves. How have you found this experience, and would you want to return to working with a publisher for future titles?

Actually we have always been self-publishing on Steam so this is not that new to us. The only exception being of course the other console versions (Atlus) and the PC/Mac retail space. Both of which was just simply impossible to get into without a partner. Our aim is to always be as independent as possible, not meaning that we don’t want to work with partners, but rather that we aim to work with companies that can provide us with things that we could never do ourselves.

Publishers have had a purpose in the past, but now with digital publishing we can do almost everything with ease. Marketing is becoming the biggest expenditure for some companies, sometimes even more costly than actual development. Our view on this is that as long as we are making great quality products, we will likely find very cost effective marketing methods to reach an audience.

George Reith: Some commentators remain cynical of some of the Wii U’s features. Do you share similar concerns that the Wii U is a console based on gimmicks?

The original Wii was called even more of a gimmick by some critics and that console was a huge hit. Taking risks and being a pioneer is something that can be easily criticised, but this is the kind of future for gaming that Frozenbyte can appreciate.

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George Reith: You are one of the few developers this generation that have worked on almost every gaming platform out there. Do you think the Wii U has untapped potential compared to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360?

Absolutely, but again in a very different direction that Nintendo has always been known for. They create their own standards and have huge IPs to fall back on. As for untapping the hidden power of new consoles.. I think Nintendo personifies that in all of their first party titles, regardless of the actual CPU or GPU performance.

George Reith: Some have compared the Wii U’s launch window to the ill-fated mid-generation launch of the Dreamcast. Do you see this as problematic for Nintendo and the Wii U hardware?

If I could foresee this, I’d likely have done some stock market investments, but alas I just stick to predicting my own fate. ;)

George Reith: Having developed for so many consoles with Trine 2, do you have a favourite system to develop for?

I’m sure everyone here at Frozenbyte has a favorite system, ranging from Linux to the Wii U. Same going for the games we play, we’re a really varied bunch.

Bonus question: Which is your favourite video game franchise and why? (Other than Trine 2 ofcourse!)

I think the single thing we do have in common is that we all love playing and making games in general. But if you really want an answer, the last game I played way too much of was “FTL”. :)

George Reith: Thanks a ton for your time!


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