We've been keeping a keen eye trained on Animales de la Muerte for some time now; this gloriously bloodthursty comic shooter certainly has what it takes to catch the eye, but what's the story behind its development?
We demanded answers, and we got them. The awesomely named Chad Kent - Executive Producer for High Voltage Software - is the guy who supplied us with the information we so desired. Read on...
WiiWare World: How long has Animales da la Muerte been in development?
Chad Kent: The concept has been in our library for quite some time, it is the brain child of our creative crew here at HVS. Actual work began on it a little over a year ago and we did some behind closed doors viewings at GDC.
WW: We've read that Animales de la Muerte makes use of a modified version of the Quantum3 engine that's being used in The Conduit. How does the engine used in Animales de la Muerte differ from the one used in The Conduit?
CK: Essentially it doesn’t, the same core engine is powering Animales that is behind the Conduit. Some of the early work on Animales was done prior to our recently announced technology push on the Wii, but really the core engine for both projects is identical.
WW: As far as developing games, what are some of the advantages the Quantum3 engine brings to the table from a development standpoint?
CK: By far its greatest advantage is versatility of use and uniformity of development pipeline for our developers. Quantum 3 has evolved over time into an engine that allows us to very quickly implement new art, content, and game play ideas. This in turn lets our developers iterate several times through out the course of a project to get the best possible results in the end product.
WW: Are you anticipating any uproar from the usual anti-violence groups due to the high level of violent content the game contains? Do you think this will actually help or hurt the game's overall success?
CK: I can assume we will hear the usual buzz but that is to be expected. I don’t know if that particular type of press really helps or hurts in any huge way. The violence in this product is clearly aimed at being over the top and comedic so I expect that our customer will be well aware of that and not find it offensive taking it in the vein in which it was intended. Then again I grew up on the ‘uncensored” Bugs Bunny cartoons so I have probably been tainted for life.
WW: Where in the world did the idea for a Mexican-themed shooter set inside of a zoo originate?
CK: In the sick and twisted…sorry I mean in the radically creative minds of our creative crew. A lot of us are zombie movie junkies around office but I don’t think any of us were really prepared for it when the creative staff hit us with Animales. The combination of comedy and solid game mechanics was great and we became determined to bring this hilarious and slightly twisted vision to life.
WW: Even from the title Animales do la Muerte you can tell that the game obviously has a great sense of humor to it. Was the humor aspect something you tried to place a lot of focus on during development?
CK: Definitely it was the hook for all of us at the office at the start, the comedy was the frosting on the cake. It is what makes it more than just a zombie shooter.
WW: What are some of the unique aspects of Animales do la Muerte that set it apart from other typical run-n-gun shooters out there?
CK: Well as soon as the creative team’s dirty little secret was out there in the open we had an “intervention”, otherwise known as design brainstorming meeting. The guys really wanted to focus on fast paced game play, a wide assortment of weapons and enemies, and tie it all together with the comedic setting and storyline. This created a face paced, challenging, visually attractive shooter, that you need to try to keep up with while giggling you’re a$$ off.
WW: What are some of the challenges you've faced as a developer in having to deal with the file size limitations of the WiiWare service?
CK: Economy of content is an issue with the file size limitations, we just need to focus our mindset on the “bigger is not necessarily better” approach. This is not a problem exclusive to downloadable games, no matter what platform we always want to put more in than we have space for. Hazard of the creative nature I guess, so we are used to having to solve that kind of problem.
WW: Will there be any online play support in Animales de la Muerte or possibly some additional content made available for download?
CK: It is hard to say at this point, but demand certainly controls supply in the downloadable game space. So I suppose I’m saying “if they come, we will build it”.
WW: There's a consensus that the Wiimote might just be the best controller ever made for shooter-style games. Are you impressed with what the Wiimote offers up in terms of playability in the shooter genre?
CK: Extremely, it is the perfect set of tools for shooter developers and players. Wii controls added to shooters could very easily lead to the bridging of the gap between casual gamers and shooter games, especially FPS’s.
WW: What are some of the key advantages for you as a developer in creating games for the WiiWare service as opposed to creating an actual retail release?
CK: Well cost is lower and we have a bit more creative and business control than most of our work for hire games. However we are then bearing a bigger brunt of the risk as well. I have to say I have been a surprised reading some of the reviews and feedback posted about downloadable titles recently. It kind of makes me cringe when I hear things like, “that game isn’t worth $7.00”, or “a bit pricy at $7.00”, I don’t know about these folks but I can’t get out of Starbucks for less than $7.00, and I used to drop $5.00 in quarters in the local arcade in about an hour (and that was in 1980)
WW: Has there been a release date or price point finalized for Animales de la Muerte?
CK: Not at present, stay tuned though as soon as the decisions are made one of us will blab about it.
WW: Gyrostarr seems to have been a big hit with the WiiWare community. What feedback have you received Gyrostarr from your customers?
CK: Overall the feedback has been really positive, the biggest complaint we have heard is that it is a bit on the easy side. The feedback we get is great for us, especially on downloadable titles. Here is the up side of the rant I started a few questions ago, the great thing about downloadable games is that they are cheaper and faster to make, if they sell well you can expect to see a sequel, expansion, or improvement hit the market much faster than other console titles. Also the online community has been great for us; believe it or not we are listening so keep buying downloadable games and keep telling us how you think we can improve on them.
WW: Many people seemed pleasantly surprised that the game was priced at only 700 Wii Points. What was the thinking behind pricing the game at such a low price point?
CK: We feel that $7 is great price, even if you don’t fall in love with a game it is a pretty safe bet that you will get $7 worth of entertainment out of it.
Also we would love to see downloadable games take off on the Wii, we enjoy making them, so I guess the logic was keep them affordable and enjoyable and we will get to make more of them.
WW: If you were creating the perfect sequel to Gyrostarr, what would you change or add to the game?
CK: Ahh see this is where you got bunked by getting the executive producer rather than the lead designer. There are far more talented designers here than me, but since they are not here at the moment…”hey look over there, it’s the Goodyear Blimp!”
Didn’t work did it?…sorry.
WW: Do you have any other WiiWare projects in the works which you can tell us about?
CK: Actually we have a couple more currently in the works but those are still pretty hush hush, but don’t worry we will keep you posted.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk to you guys and for your interest in what we are doing here at HVS, certainly hope you all enjoy it!