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WiiWare Focus - Interview with Medaverse (Gravitronix)

Posted by Darren Calvert

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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User Comments (20)

Boredom_v2_2

#2

Boredom_v2_2 said:

A battle game huh? This sounds more surprising than Brusier and Scratch being a puzzle game. What i mean is i guess Wiiware can mean only one word. "Unexpected" or "Surprising."

JNoodles

#3

JNoodles said:

Seems.. great, surprisingly. I'll pick Gravitronix up and support Medaverse's cause. The way things are going right now... are they going to be my favorite lesser-known Indie developer?

I don't care what you say, two anthromorph detectives who solve 'riddles and puzzles' in no way can beat shooting shapes of death. :P

KhaoShar

#4

KhaoShar said:

I feel somewhat reminded to this radio commercial for 'Degenatron' in GTA-ViceCity: "Steer your red square in the blue square to shoot evil green-square dots, bring real live arcade realism to your home"! Anyone remeber that 8-) ?

Clayfrd

#5

Clayfrd said:

This game looks great from what I could gather. I hope it's not too much of a party game; I'd look forward to a good single player mode.

agent_lime

#6

agent_lime said:

500 points?
Its a definate buy for me unless it ends up completely sucking (which i highly doubt)

Viral

#7

Viral said:

The WiiWare channel will launch in 2009 at this rate. You'd think the service was up and running already with all the hype and news about it. That means Japan will have it by Summer, America by Fall, Europe by 2009.

tnk4god

#8

tnk4god said:

makes me think about the grav gun in half life, and if other players had a grav gun too and you could fight with each other using the grav guns only...limited power guns at least.

My take anyway

Kelvin

#10

Kelvin said:

This is a good pick for WiiWare. Released to stores, it would probably die a death among the endless FPS and racing games, but through WiiWare, interesting games like these have a better chance of success.

Starwolf_UK

#11

Starwolf_UK said:

"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."
I don't blame them or anything but anyone else find it funny how Nintendo seem to allowed to release games entirely in Japanese (Marios Super Picross) but Wii Ware devs can't release a game in Europe until the've translated it in German, French, Spanish and Italian. Hopfully it won't be too difficult for them.

Kelvin

#12

Kelvin said:

Starwolf, it's a good point, as some games really don't require much translation!

And surely if the thing is being digitally distributed anyway, they can release language versions as and when they're ready, or update the language support via patches, instead of waiting until they've got one version that supports English, German, Spanish, French, etc all at once.

Also, presumably the NA launch will include Spanish (for Mexico, Latin America, and the large Spanish-speaking population in the US) and French (for Canada) in addition to English anyway, so that's half the work done.

Valien

#13

Valien said:

Is WiiConnect 24 that hard to program for? Course I'm not a developer but it seems that a lot of folk drop that out. I imagine network coding on the basic level is pretty easy. Guess the server management, 'achievments', leaderboards, matching, etc is a lot harder. Hmm, wonder if companies could license things like that to speed up dev time?

500 points though looks pretty good. Go indie devs!

Kelvin

#14

Kelvin said:

Valien, I know that Nintendo were late to release the online developers' kits, which is why none of the first wave of shop-bought Wii titles had any sort of connectivity.

However, I don't know if that has affected WiiWare titles too, and even if it did, shop-bought games are starting to show connectivity now, so I don't know why WiiWare games coming out no earlier than six months from now couldn't have the feature.

ATRUEZELDAFAN

#15

ATRUEZELDAFAN said:

Hmm. This game looks like it could be fun. I still need a solution to my storage problem. Is there a release date for when the first wiiware titles ae coming out over here in the us?

ETSM

#17

ETSM said:

It's not online for time issues. They wanted to offer online features, but they had to axe them for time. Medaverse has a volunteer staff (they mentioned in another interview) so they need income at some point. They also mentioned in another interview that they'll be making sure to keep the size of the game as small as possible because they realize how size-restricted Wii owners are.

As for Wiiware's release, it's not March, that was a rumor that started when some other company suggested that it would be march in their press release. No official date has been announced yet.

Serpent

#18

Serpent said:

I would buy this if my Wii wasnt full already, I hate having to copy and paste from my SD card.

The_shoemaker

#20

The_shoemaker said:

wiiware launches may 12, 2008. That's about two months longer than I wanted but oh well. This game looks interesting. Plus what do I have to lose, it's only 500 points, I love wiiware! But I still don't get this game, what, who, how, another what, are we battleing with?

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