Interview met Image & Form’s Brjann Sigurgeirsson

Daily Nintendo had de kans om Image & Form’s Brjann Sigurgeirsson te interviewen. De ontwikkelaar is onder andere bekend van SteamWorld Dig.

Het interview, welke in het Engels is, kun je hieronder terugvinden. Sigurgeirsson sprak onder andere over het moment wanneer hij de Switch voor het eerst ‘echt’ zag. Dat was precies op het moment dat Nintendo deze voor het eerst toonde aan consumenten via een video. Ook sprak hij over SteamWorld Dig 2. Zo liet hij weten dat de game langer zal zijn dan het origineel én dat je deel 1 niet gespeeld hoeft te hebben om volop van het tweede deel te genieten. Het ontwikkelen voor de Switch is voor Image & Form bovendien aanzienlijk makkelijker dan dat dit voor de Wii U was. Het gehele interview lees je hieronder.

Earlier this year, you asked fans which game they would like to see on the Switch. When did you first see the Switch and what where your first impressions?
Well, there are two parts to it. We got to visit Nintendo of Europe in Frankfurt in April 2016 for a “disclosure” of the NX. We didn’t imagine that we would see a end-consumer version of it then, and we were right – we got to see a presentation of what the NX was and the tech specs for it, but not one single picture. Therefore, when there were multiple leaks to the press last year, we were quietly confident and relaxed about the fact that we had revealed nothing.

The first time I really SAW it was exactly the same instant you saw it, that is, when they released the three-minute teaser on October 20, 2016. Ironically, that was the same day we released SteamWorld Heist on Wii U. So Nintendo practically killed the Wii U on the day the Wii U got its best game ever. 🙂

I was very, very happy when I first learned about the NX (that it was going to be a console/handheld hybrid), and I was very, very happy when I saw that video. Of course those first impressions don’t matter if the console is going to be shit, but it isn’t. It’s really very cool. And of course THAT doesn’t matter if there aren’t going to be any good games for it, but that’s also not true – the lineup so far is superb, I think.

 

You made multiple SteamWorld games. Why are you now making SteamWorld Dig 2 instead of SteamWorld Heist 2?
You can also see my answer to the next question, but the main reason was that we couldn’t afford to make the original SteamWorld Dig any bigger than it was – we simply ran out of money, so we had to release it the way it was. Don’t get me wrong, I still think SteamWorld Dig is a very good game, but we had a lot of ideas that didn’t make it – and so we’ve wanted to make SWD2 for a long time.

Maybe we’ll make SWH2 later? Who knows? 🙂 I think SteamWorld Heist is a unique and great game, and I really want us to revisit the characters. They’re so much fun.

SteamWorld Dig was a bit short. Will the sequel be much longer?
Yes.

What new feature in the game are you most excited for?
That’s a good question – there are many things that I’m excited about, because SWD2 is a fantastic game. And I should tell you that we Swedes really DON’T say things like that, we’re always too humble about what we do. I guess you could call us the Japanese of Europe that way. Therefore it’s a big thing for me to tell you that SWD2 is fantastic. 🙂

If I have to pick one thing… the level design, I guess. The world in SWD1 was procedurally generated to save time, whereas we’ve spent thousands of hours to hand-design SWD2. And the music is awesome, we have a big reveal coming about the music in the near future. And the animations, they’re absolutely top notch. And the upgrade curve is really sweet. And the graphics – our artists have really outdone themselves this time… yeah, I can’t pick one feature – it’s a remarkably tight and great game as a whole.

It’s also good to point out that you don’t have to have played SWD1 to enjoy SWD2 – it’s very much a standalone sequel.

Dorothy is the new main character. Why did you choose for a new main character and what about Rusty?
Dorothy (or Dot as we like to call her) is the new main character, but she was already around in SWD1. Those who have completed SWD1 know that Dot vows to find Rusty, and SWD2 is her story – I don’t think we could have gone for a more natural choice.

As for Rusty… well, the end of SWD1 was pretty cataclysmic. It must’ve been hard to survive, even for a robot. And the underground is vast. We can only hope that Dot gets lucky. 😉

What is it like to develop for the Switch and how does it compare to the Wii U?
It’s way, way, WAY easier to develop for the Switch. The Wii U was a bit cumbersome, since the gamepad was quite unique – every game needed to work in two different modes, and it was evident that some games couldn’t make very good use of the gamepad.

But another big difference is only visible to us as a publisher: the regionality is gone, so now we only have to submit one build to both Europe and America. That’s a very big step for Nintendo in the direction of becoming a modern platform owner. If they hadn’t been a Japanese company, I think it already would have been in place a long time ago.

Moreover, if you want to compare the Switch to Playstation instead of Wii U, with the console/handheld Switch you could say that we get a PS4 and a Vita build at the same time. And Sony is still regional, so PS4 and Vita for US and EU means 4 builds / approval processes – compared to the single one for the Switch. That is a HUGE advantage.

Were there things you weren’t able to do on the Wii U that you are able to do now on the Switch? Besides playing it anywhere you want.
I think that last addition to the question is the only reason I need. I want to be able to play where I want. In fact, I MUST be ready to play where I want, because I have so many kids and live in a fairly small house – I can never expect to “own” the only TV we have, which is in the living room. There’s always somebody that wants to use the TV for something else.

The Switch is completely awesome for that. Most people talk about the Switch as a great multiplayer setup, which makes it perfect for families. For me it’s the ultimate multi- AND single-player solution, which in my case really makes it perfect for families. Sometime I have to play in order to test, to learn from another game, etc – and to keep the peace at home I can’t really take over both the console and the TV. One is more than enough.

Which playstyle on the switch do you prefer in the new SteamWorld?
Well, although I mentioned that I can take it out of the living room to play alone, I really prefer playing on a TV with the Pro Controller. Although the Joy-Con controllers are a fantastic piece of application and engineering – turning them so that they function as left- and right-side button sets is just ingenious, and the multiplayer aspect of the Joy-Cons simply WORKS – the Pro Controller is just MUCH better for accurate input: better buttons, more ergonomic, nothing über-fancy, no compromise.

For our Dutch readers, do you have some new secret information you’d like to share with us?
Yes, well, I have a surprise for you: Robin van Persie actually does one of the robot voices in SteamWorld Dig 2! We managed to get hold of him just before he returned to Turkey, as he was vacationing in Sweden. He called us up and asked if he could participate somehow, and since I’m a big Manchester United fan I thought, “Sure, what the hell…”

…no, I’m actually making that up. I WISH we could have van Persie in the game somehow, but I’m sure he’s too busy. 🙂 For our Dutch friends I have the same message as for all other gamers: play more games, take regular breaks and go out, and don’t be afraid to try something new. Some of my best game memories come from games I didn’t know I would like.

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