WiiWare Focus - Interview with Medaverse (Gravitronix)

Jesse Lowther, lead designer and CEO of Medaverse Studios was kind enough to spill the beans to WiiWare World regarding the latest developments with their upcoming WiiWare title Gravitronix.

Having nailed their colours to the mast and taking the bold step of launching their first game at 500 Wii Points (the price of an NES game) we have to admit to being intrigued by what promises to be an original and unique debut by Medaverse for the Wii.

Here's what Jesse had to say:

WW: Details of Gravitronix have so far been scarce - how much can you tell us at the moment?

JL: If you've been keeping tabs on Gravitronix, you already know it's an action/battle game for 1-8 players, and I recently discussed the four projectiles on our developer blog. I'll give you one piece of info I haven't dropped yet: players manipulate these projectiles through two "gravity beams", one which attracts and the other repels. In addition, these beams draw from the same limited battery and the beams will become weaker as the battery depletes, but the battery will rapidly recharge whenever you aren't using either beam.

We haven't set in stone how well this works in testing yet, but we hope to have a situation where new players can simply twist a controller and press a single button to repel incoming attacks, thus enjoying the basic pretense of the game, while veteran players will have pitched battles involving mind games and reflex where they attempt to trick their opponents into overcompensating, expending too much beam energy, and then being overtaken as the other player launches an attack their beams are too weak to repel. Again, this is what we're aiming for, but we're not at the point where we can say how well it works in practice.

WW: When do you expect the game to launch on WiiWare? Will this be in North America and Europe?

JL: The release date is still up in the air for us. We expect to launch in Europe and Australia shortly after North America, but not out of choice. There are certain fees and language support associated with launching in any given territory and for us that will need to come after our NA launch. We'd launch everywhere first day if we could, but it just isn't panning out that way for Gravitronix.

WW: What price point is the game likely to cost?

JL: Gravitronix will launch at 500 points and out of all the details I can offer, the price point is where I'm the most certain. Since we're a new developer, we wanted to launch at a low price point as a means of meeting potential customers half-way. It's more important to create awareness of Medaverse as a developer than to make more profit right off the starting line.

WW: How many players will Gravitronix support? Will there be any online play?

JL: Gravitronix will feature 8 player play with remote and nunchuk combos, but Gravitronix unfortunately will not have online play.

Our plans for Gravitronix began with some pretty interesting ideas which unfortunately had to be axed for time. This included features through WiiConnect24, and one in particular which I was sad to let go of. You see, Gravitronix features a roster of characters which will appear in future Medaverse games. My idea was that WiiConnect24 would allow you to download bios for the characters on the same day their games were released. I also had an idea for making online play more "interesting", but we'll definitely be using that idea later so I won't spoil it now.

WW: What advantages are there publishing this on WiiWare as opposed to the more established XBLA?

JL: I've said it in the past, but it's all about the controller. Gravitronix could not offer 8 player offline on any current console except the Wii, and the precision you get from twisting with the Wii remote/nunchuk is intrinsic to the gameplay. In fact, most of our ideas revolve around the Wii's control scheme. I honestly never even looked into the logistics of developing anywhere else. It was Wii or bust.

WW: How easy is the WiiWare platform to develop for?

JL: I'm not a programmer so I couldn't answer this question accurately, but my programmers seem happy enough with all of the development tools they've dealt with.

WW: Do you have any other WiiWare projects in developement at the moment?

JL: The only game being actively worked on at this time is Gravitronix. That's our focus until launch. Beyond that, we have at least another 12 game ideas which we hope to develop as Wiiware titles, titles from all genres and some which don't even have genres that I'm aware of. Needless to say, we're looking forward to seeing what we can do with the Wiiware platform.

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