Microids’ Philippe Dessoly and Pierre Adane talk about the remake of the classic platformer.
It started like as a run and gun platformer for Arcade machines in the 1980s, and quickly became a beloved favourite of the masses- Toki, however, has had a weird history nonetheless. It’s been quite a while since a remake of the game was announced- in that period, the development has overcome some hurdles, changed teams, and finally, recently, the remake launched for the Switch, and will soon be launching for PS4, Xbox One, and PC as well. We recently sent across some of our questions about the release to the developers- the following questions were answered by Microids’ Philippe Dessoly and Pierre Adane.
"The most technical challenge [during development] was the time spent. The way that we create video games today has changed"
Can you speak to us a bit about the long development cycle of the game, and what sort of hurdles and challenges it had to face in the time it took to be released following its first announcement?
Philippe Dessoly: When I was asked to work on a Toki remaster, I said yes with no delay! I was a big fan of the arcade game and I’m responsible of the Amiga and Atari ST versions for Ocean Software back then. I think one of the biggest challenges was to remain as faithful as possible to the original game. We want to please both the nostalgic and new players!
Pierre Adane: Philippe was the one that told me about this project and I’ve been incredibly excited from the get go. I was a huge fan of the arcade machine. We were lucky enough to have the arcade cabinet at Ocean Software and we were playing the game every chance we had during the development of the 16-bit versions.
The most technical challenge was the time spent. The way that we create video games today has changed. I had to check that nothing was missing and completely recreate all the characters, as well as the design of environments: a great challenge!
Do the PS4/Xbox One/PC versions sport any major improvements – visual or otherwise – not seen in the Switch version?
Philippe Dessoly: There will have new features on these versions:
Considering that this is a remake of a decades-old game released originally for Arcades, what was the decision making process with regards to what to keep intact and what to change?
Philippe Dessoly: I had the chance to work freely and deal with the creation as I wanted. Back in 1989, it was not possible to create a game this way, we had to work pixel by pixel. With this generation of consoles, I thought the hand drawn look was an absolute necessity. Of course, as you can imagine, it takes way longer than the version done with pixels.
Pierre Adane: At first, we focused on bringing the players an experience that is the closest it can be to the original arcade version, whilst taking full advantage of the modern hardware. We change the visual aspect (which is, in my opinion, the most important evolution of this version), we also add new game modes.
"Retro gaming has come back in force over the last few years, players are eager to discover or rediscover old school games and Toki is of course one of them!"
Do you feel there were any elements in particular that would not have stood the test of time after all these years?
Philippe Dessoly: Retro gaming has come back in force over the last few years, players are eager to discover or rediscover old school games and Toki is of course one of them! We wanted to offer a similar experience to the original version, with the same level of difficulty, but we also wanted to modernize it. That’s why graphics have been reworked, as well as music. There were a few amounts of music in the arcade version and we had to create some new ones.
Pierre Adane: For the music, it felt natural for us to reach out to Raphael Gesqua, whom worked with us on the game Mr. Nutz. He did all the music and the audio design of the game which was not easy especially because the arcade version of the game only features a small amount of musics so he had to compose some brand new tracks.
What led to the decision to working on a remake for Toki in the first place?
Philippe Dessoly: I discovered Toki while I was working at Ocean France. I was already a big fan of arcade games and I had just finished the game Ivanhoé when I started to work on this kind of game. Starting with Toki was a great opportunity. At this time, the only way to gather information about a game (enemies, environment, playability) was to play it and I have spent many hours playing this game!
When I was asked to work on this remake, I said yes immediately because I knew that I will have the chance to improve Toki with my own style. Furthermore, working again with the Mr Nutz team (Pierre Adane and Raphaël Gesqua) was a chance!
Do you have any plans for DLC in the future?
Philippe Dessoly: We are focusing on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC releases, we will of course keep you posted if we add some DLCs.
What resolution and frame rate does the game run on the Switch in handheld and docked mode?
Pierre Adane: 1280×720 / 60 fps in handheld mode and 1920×1080 / 60 fps in docked mode
Will the game will feature Xbox One X or PS4 Pro specific enhancements? What can players expect if they are playing the game on those systems ? Is 4K/60fps on the cards?
Pierre Adane: Toki won’t be available in 4K. The game will be running in 1920×1080 / 60 fps for all devices.
"Cross-play will shake the codes of the industry."
Do you think cross platform will be one of the defining features of next-gen consoles?
Philippe Dessoly: I think this feature will be a great bonus for next-gen consoles. The gaming industry is constantly evolving, with a growing awareness. This feature will allow players to share their experience with even more players. But I will need to see more before giving my final opinion.
Pierre Adane: I agree with Philippe. Cross-play will shake the codes of the industry. Allowing players to live together new experience is positive and give an optimistic image of the industry. Nevertheless, this feature may advantage AAA games at the expense of smaller games. AAA and multiplayer games trust most of the market and cross-play might reinforce this aspect while giving less space to other games.