Lost Wing has been in early access on Steam for over two years, but soon, it launches in full for everyone to enjoy. A game that’s all about speed and getting the high score in challenging, fast-paced courses, Lost Wing has inherent appeal. With its full launch not too far away now, we recently reached out to its developers at BoxFrog Games to get the lowdown on what we can expect from it. Read our conversation below.
"Early access has been very useful for us, we established a small but keen userbase who have provided us with detailed feedback on every aspect of the game."
Lost Wing has been in early access for a while. How important has this period been to the game and its development? What’s the most important bit of feedback you’ve received from players in this early access period?
Early access has been very useful for us, we established a small but keen userbase who have provided us with detailed feedback on every aspect of the game. For example, a large change we implemented was an unlock progression system to keep the harder tracks and difficulties unavailable until players had reached an appropriate skill level. We added this as players initially found the game far too difficult, as there was no soft introduction to the mechanics. Early Access also gives you a good chance to test your marketing assets such as trailers, logos and banners as a game branding ‘soft launch’. Our materials have changed a huge amount during Early Access and are going to change again before our final launch.
Why did you go with procedural generation for tracks in Lost Wing? Was replayability something that played a role in this design choice?
Actually only a couple of the courses have procedural generation. The final release of Lost Wing has 9 tracks which are completely preset, so players can master them, these tracks offer unique challenges such as ultimate speed (as you can guess, these tracks are all about speed!) and precision mode (pass through every gate on a track as you get faster and faster).
We then have 3 much longer courses which feature checkpoints and an end of level boss. These courses are constructed with a mix of set areas and procedurally spawning obstacles, so although each playthrough is subtly different, they are still very much designed rather than procedurally generated. The intention for these was replayability, especially when combined with the online leaderboards. We wanted to have the mix of tracks players can memorize and master, and tracks where players need to rely on both fast reactions and muscle memory.
Can you talk us through the upgrade system for ships in Lost Wing and how extensive it is?
We do have an extensive XP based progression system were players unlock new tracks, speeds, ships and ships skins. You gain XP from the points you build up each time you play, so going for a high score has more benefits than just getting you on the leaderboards!
Does damage play much of a role in Lost Wing’s gameplay? How deep does that mechanic go?
Damage is a key mechanic in Lost Wing, players can have wings destroyed on their ship, and this can affect handling and weapons. Wings can also be respawned with a pickup, so all is not lost if you are damaged. However losing wings can also offer a benefit as the ships width is significantly reduced meaning you can fit through tighter gaps and collect hard to reach bonuses. Obstacles and enemies also have varying levels of damage.
"Our competitive feature runs through every track in Lost Wing, and that is via online highscore based leaderboards."
How many different ships does Lost Wing have? How much of an incentive does the game offer to players for experimenting with all the ships in the game?
There are 3 ships in the game, each with different handling and weapons, along with multiple skins. We are going to add achievements related to using these ships in game. Since each ship has a unique play style, players will enjoy learning and mastering the feel of each one, while also trying to figure out which ship is the most suitable for climbing the leaderboards on each track.
Do you have any plans to add competitive modes to the game down the line- maybe 1v1 races, or something along those lines?
Our competitive feature runs through every track in Lost Wing, and that is via online highscore based leaderboards. The top players are displayed on the main menu screen for additional kudos, and there is a high score progress bar displayed on the HUD as you play.
It’s clear that challenge and speed are both aspects that Lost Wing places a lot of emphasis on- how do you strike a balance between both those elements?
Balancing the different mechanics has been an ongoing process since day one, it has taken us an incredible amount of tweaking and refinement to get this right, and we have often relied on our player base to help us with that (thank you!). Keeping the game a challenge without it ever feeling unfair was a key design element for us.
Additionally, we have also included tracks which have a focus on one aspect, such as speed, or shooting, so we can really focus design on that mechanic.
Will the game will feature Xbox One X specific enhancements? What can players expect if they are playing the game on Xbox One X? Is 4K/60fps on the cards?
We are definitely going for 4k 60FPS on Xbox One X, based on how well we have the game running on a mid range PC, we are very confident we can hit that target. It is important for a game like Lost Wing to run at 60FPS so that players have the best experience possible.
And how will the PS4 Pro version turn out in terms of resolution and frame rate?
The aim for PS4 is also 4k 60FPS, and again we are very confident we can hit that target, based off our analysis in Unity, and how well the game runs on mid to lower end PCs.
"Lost Wing will definitely run at 60fps on the original Xbox One and PS4, we really feel this is an important target for us so players get the best experience on these platforms."
How is the game running on the original Xbox One and PS4, frame rate and resolution wise?
Lost Wing will definitely run at 60fps on the original Xbox One and PS4, we really feel this is an important target for us so players get the best experience on these platforms.
What is the resolution and frame rate of the Switch version in docked and undocked modes?
720p undocked and we are aiming for 60FPS, I believe we will hit that target. Docked will probably be 900p
The PS5 is confirmed to have SSD. From a development perspective, how will this help you to improve game performance in the future?
Lost Wing has a lot of respawning (Well, when I play it does…), and hence reloading – thankfully we’re very prompt on load times after the initial load, but the advent of having high performance SSDs on PS5 is a bigger deal for general performance and immersion than I think a lot of people realise.
The PS5 will have a Zen 2 CPU processor which is a major leap over the CPUs found in the PS4 and Xbox One. From a development perspective, how will this help you in developing games of the future?
It will be a huge step up, it gets rid of so many restrictions with how many calculations we can do on the fly, we have so many ideas which are very hard, or even impossible to implement in the current generation of consoles. Also it actually reduces development time significantly as less time needs to be spent on optimisation.
Xbox Scarlett features GDDR6 memory. How will this increase in memory bandwidth help you in the future?
Additional faster memory is going to be a big boost to development, and we are really looking forward to working with Xbox Scarlett.
"We are hugely supportive of backwards compatibility, it allows us to keep expanding the audience for our games. We put so much passion and effort into each of our titles, the more people that can play them the better!"
Backwards compatibility is a big feature on PS5. How will it help your past library to evolve and grow?
We are hugely supportive of backwards compatibility, it allows us to keep expanding the audience for our games. We put so much passion and effort into each of our titles, the more people that can play them the better!