News Article

Ronimo Games Interview: Swords and Soldiers

Posted by Damien McFerran

The recently announced Swords and Soldiers is shaping up to be one of the more interesting WiiWare titles we've seen.

An unusual mix of RTS and side-scrolling action, the gorgeous 2D visuals should ensure the game stands out from the rest of the WiiWare crowd. In order to learn a little more about the title itself, we got in touch with Fabian Akker of developer Ronimo Games.

Nintendo Life: Can you tell us a little about Ronimo Games? Where might our readers have experienced your work before?

Fabian Akker: Ronimo Games is a small studio in The Netherlands. We started the company last year and have been developing all kinds of games, but with a focus on the Nintendo Wii. Before we started the company the team worked as a group on the original pc version of de Blob.

Nlife: Could you explain the concept behind Swords and Soldiers to us and where the idea came from?

FA: Swords and Soldiers is a 2D side scrolling RTS in which each player has a base on the side of a level. The players build units and cast spells to destroy the opponents army and castle. The graphics for Swords and Soldiers are inspired by the end credits of the animation short 'Super Moine.' We thought it could be a cool game and would make a great combination with the RTS kind of gameplay that we had in mind.

Nlife: You’ve called the game a ‘side scrolling RTS’ – can you explain this concept to us?

FA: The basics of Swords and Soldiers are very simple. You need to gather resources, gold and mana, with which you can buy units and spells respectively. Once a unit is created, it starts out at your base and automatically walks towards the enemy. From simple melee to skeleton summoning necromancers, every unit is quite unique. Spells can be cast on units and allow the player to directly influence the battle, hitting enemies with lightning bolts, freezing them in snowstorms or making your troops go berserk are just some of the examples you can expect.

Deciding when to build what unit and when to use a specific spell is what the strategy of Swords and Soldiers is all about.

Nlife: Today’s gamers seem obsessed with 3D yet Swords and Soldiers is being made in glorious 2D. Why did you decide against taking the 3D route? Do you think creating a game in 2D more time-consuming, as other developers have hinted?

FA: Because the game is inspired on a 2D animation we never thought of going 3D, of course building a 2D engine is way easier than building a 3D one. But the main reason why we went this route is because our art team really fell in love with the 2D style and that shows in the screenshots.

Nlife: The game is controlled just using one Wii Remote. Did you intentionally make the interface as simplistic as possible? Were you ever tempted to make use of additional controllers, such as the Nunchuk or GameCube pad?

FA: Simplicity is absolutely important for us, as a designer I strive to make games that are easy to pick up and that are instantly fun. At the moment you can control the whole game with the pointer of the Wii Remote, but with some buttons to quickly move to specific places in the map. The Wii Remote is all you need.

Nlife: How is the game structured? What play modes will be available?

FA: The game has a set of singleplayer options and multiplayer options. There is a campaign for every faction in the game. A skirmish mode in which the players can set up battles against different kind of AI and multiplayer games.

Beside all this there is a special modes section in the game, with several fun modes which players can unlock during the game.

Nlife: Can you tell us a bit about the different races found in the game?

FA: The factions in the game are the mysterious Aztec with their powers linked to the underworld, the brutal Vikings with their unstoppable force and a third faction which we will reveal in a few weeks. The three factions have their own motivations to move to the homeland of the Aztec, but mostly to find this artefact which holds the powers of the gods. One of these superpowers is Thor's Hammer, which is a giant hammer that falls from the sky, knocking units everywhere and hitting them with deadly lighting bolts.

Nlife: Can you tell us a bit about how the multiplayer aspect of the game will function?

FA: The multiplayer option is definite the most fun feature of Swords and Soldiers. The multiplayer is part of the skirmish, in which two players can set up a battle and fight each other in a split-screen game. Each player has a side of the level, both trying to conquer the other side. It's all about using the right tactics and counters to get close to the opponents castle and destroy it.

Nlife: I know you’ve probably been asked this a million times already but why did you decide against including online multiplayer?

FA: The split-screen multiplayer is a lot of fun and basically totally awesome. As for online multiplayer, that is something we would like to add but don’t have the resources for building such a feature just yet. This is definitely something we would want in a possible sequel though!

Nlife: What made you decide to develop the game for WiiWare?

FA: We really enjoy the Wii platform with its unique controls. Also, there aren't many RTS games for the Wii yet: there is no WiiWare game available at the moment that is an competitive RTS, and we're filling that gap.

Nlife: What has Nintendo’s response been like towards the game?

FA: The guys at Nintendo are very helpful, they help developers where they can and because they see a lot of games coming through they can give good feedback on your designs.

Nlife: If the game is a success, do you have plans for a sequel? If so, are there any features you’d aim to include?

FA: A sequel is definitely a possibility, it all depends on the success. The first thing that we will include is an online multiplayer!

Nlife: When will S&S be released on WiiWare and how much will it cost?
FA: The game will be released somewhere around November / December this year. The price of the game has not been decided yet, but expect a price around 1000 Wii Points or less.

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User Comments (34)

tantrumario

#1

tantrumario said:

Sweet, the only RTS on wiiware. I'm waiting for this along with bomberman blast and mega man 9.

Objection

#2

Objection said:

This game looks awesome. Is it just me or does it always seem like WWW asks: "Why no WI-FI? and the developer says "We are a small company. Maybe next time." That's fine, but it's becoming a cliche.

Ziondood

#3

Ziondood said:

this looks like itz gonna be an awesome game =D
wifi or not im deff. gettin this one =DDD

DazzaAdmin

#4

Dazza said:

@OB - I think the wi-fi question is important. Small devs aren't including it because of the time taken to implement it. Which does beg the question, why aren't Nintendo making resources available to help devs over these hurdles so their games can compete with those on XBLA which have all the online APIs built into the platform? A developers response to this question can be interesting I think.

@Bplus - Nintendo told you it would take you an extra year to add online to Plattchen. What are your thoughts on all this?

WiiBoy

#8

WiiBoy said:

There are of course great Online-Tools from Nintendo but there are hundreds of Error-Messages and Error handling to include and to test! And the Testing period is huge! Only a big developer can do that because they have an extra Team for programming and testing the Online-Features.

I for one prefer a very good offline gaming experience instead of a bad game with online mode.

And I think it is a good thing that this game OFFERS MULTIPAYER. They could also let it out and saving months of development and testing ... like developers do in many other (also disc) games =/

DazzaAdmin

#9

Dazza said:

I wouldn't exactly call Mastiff Games "big" but they did a good job of adding online to Major League Eating. Nevertheless as a platform I don't think the Wii makes developing online games easy from what I keep hearing from developers.

DamoAdmin

#10

Damo said:

Note that we've now added release date and price info to the original interview :)

Wiiloveit

#11

Wiiloveit said:

I don't know much about developing online features for the Wii, but what I do know is that it is probably the best platform on which to play these games. With a child-safe environment, upcoming WiiSpeak (making core gamers happier), DLC being introduced and the fact that it's all free (excl. Pay & Play titles). Plus, with the excellent Mario Kart Wii 5000 point score system now being implemented more (Dr Mario RX, for example), things can only get better.

As for the game: as with RPG's and MMOG's I don't really find RTS games that appealing, though depending on the price (no more than 1000) I may give it a shot since this one is looking pretty good so far.

EDIT: Now the price has (sort of) been announced: I am actually seriously considering this one now, though I'll wait nearer the time for a final decision.

Ricardo91

#13

Ricardo91 said:

@Wiiboy. Hey, you posted something that didn't have the P-word in it! :P

I hope that November/December release date is right. This game looks so awesome! Though no online multiplayer is a bummer. :(

xSJx

#15

xSJx said:

@Objection_Blaster
Not that I disagree, but what can they do? Clearly they would love to have online, but unfortunately it doesn't seem realistic for the smaller developers (as WiiBoy has kindly explained :)). I love the fact that devs post on this site, I assumed it would be a lot of work to add online but I didn't think it would require a whole separate team of testers. All you posters who like to say stuff like "great game but no wifi, no thanks" need to chill lol.

This game looks really awesome! Definitely high up there on my wish list. Hmm... has anyone here played Glory Days 2 for Nintendo DS? It has the same idea, RTS on a 2-d plane, with action elements. You'd fly a helicopter or a plane around and drop reinforcements/rescue civilians/take out enemies. REALLY awesome game, I got it for $20 and it was definitely worth picking up.

MarkyVigoroth

#17

MarkyVigoroth said:

Apparently, every upcoming WiiWare soon-to-be-series originals (Swords + Soldiers; Potpourii; Groovin'Blocks) did not want online play in the originals (to make thing simple, either for the players or the developers), yet they are considering putting such in the sequels.

Rawk_Hawk

#18

Rawk_Hawk said:

Good discussion on why many Wii Ware titles are not adopting multi-player. Hopefully Nintendo will address this issue

yoshifu94

#20

yoshifu94 said:

if its good and it sells very well more developers will make more RTS for wiiware same thing happened to the whole puzzler incident and capcom is making mega man 9 they influenced konami to make a wiiware castlevania so hopefully this all works out

AlexSays

#21

AlexSays said:

they influenced konami to make a wiiware castlevania so hopefully this all works out

Do you know something we don't?

Tides_of_Chaos

#22

Tides_of_Chaos said:

"Do you know something we don't?"
He's probably talking about a rumor that going around because the maker of Castlevania said it would be interesting to make a retro Casltevania game or something to that effect.

Objection

#23

Objection said:

Thansk to Dazza and xSJx for continuing the discussion I thre out there. I think its a big topic that Nintendo is kind of sweeping under their rug. WIFI is not a must for me at all, as mine is pretty crappy, but it would still be cool to see it in more games. That said, I can appreciate the effort it takes, but also noting that its not this much trouble on other platforms.

AlexSays

#24

AlexSays said:

He's probably talking about a rumor that going around

Yeahp, but he made it sound like Konami was DEFINITELY making a Castlevania for WiiWare.
When actually, they just said it'd be interesting, so we might never see a WiiWare Castlevania.

yoshifu94

#26

yoshifu94 said:

their gonna see how the retro megaman 9 sells and if it sells really good which it will by the way then they'll definetly announce it hopefully atleast. it be good for wiiware

CanisWolfred

#27

CanisWolfred said:

@xSJx

Oh yeah, I remember reading about Glory Days 2! It sounded really interesting, though I never got around to buying it. I'll make sure to look out for it the next time I'm at the store.

In any case, my guess is that the third faction is ninjas.

Virus

#28

Virus said:

Sounds an awful lot like a free flash game on Newgrounds...then again, Defend Your Castle was a game on Newgrounds (and elsewhere on the internet), and I bought and enjoyed that on WiiWare. I wonder...

Atlantis1982

#29

Atlantis1982 said:

"if its good and it sells very well more developers will make more RTS for wiiware ..."

Or how about a good RTS for the Wii itself. >.>

On-topic: Sketchy with this game since RTS games aren't my thing. Especially multiplayer so it doesn't bother me that it doesn't have online multiplayer.

Ricardo91

#30

Ricardo91 said:

"How about a good RTS for the wii itself >.>"

What about Batallion Wars 2?

Also, if you don't like RTSs, why do you care if the Wii gets good ones?

xSJx

#31

xSJx said:

@Mickeymac

The single player campaign is pretty nice, and you can play vs bots in multiplayer, but the real fun is when you and a friend or two play multiplayer. The stylus controls are waaay better than I thought they would be, and really enhance the game. I hope you can find it for cheap :). I wish it had sold more, as it makes better use of the stylus controls than most ds games. Anyways, I hope you like it if you do pick it up, wouldn't want to go around reccommending games that people don't like lol. Lol I hadn't really thought about what the third race would be, ninjas would be awesome!

@OB
Totally a subject worth talking about, games like this would benefit incredibly from online play, and it sucks that it's such an overwhelming task for smaller devs. I don't really know anything about adding online features to live arcade or playstation network games, is it that much easier? I just got a new router and my wifi is awesome, the more games with online the better. I DO prefer playing local multiplayer though, except for games with larger amounts of players where it's not reasonable to get a good local game going. The place I live at right now I can't really have people over too often, so the online multiplayer is a sweet bonus. Wii is a great system for local multiplayer though, I love me some mario party (even though it got bad reviews, my and my buddies play that game more than anything when we're all hangin out and having some drinks).

@Atlantis1982
I can't believe there hasn't been a good RTS for Wii yet, the wiimote would be perfect for the type of game. I've played some decent RTS games on my 360 but it really can't compare to having a mouse. I'd settle for a port of starcraft: brood war lol, I'd pay 30 bucks for that in a heartbeat (if it had online!). Anyone remember starcraft 64? That game sucked on n64 lol...

@supermario
The more castlevania games the better :P. I'm trying to get the three gba ones off ebay, I have both the DS games and they are fantastic!

Edit: Holy crap, I just wrote you guys an essay 0_o

Edit two: Mr. Cheez posted while I was typing my essay lol. I think his (Atlantis') point is just that the wii is a good fit for RTS games and there has been a lack of them. I forgot about batallion wars, but that isn't a true RTS like starcraft or command and conquer. Still an awesome game though, I'll have to dig that game out and finish it up. Online is pretty cool but I always lose :(.

Peznaze

#32

Peznaze said:

Ah, looking like a must-download for me. WiiWare was made for glorious 2D! Though I'd be utterly shocked if this comes in under 1000 points, it seems like it will be well worth it.

Ricardo91

#33

Ricardo91 said:

@xSJx. I totally agree that the Wii would be a great system for RTSs. But they would have to be simplified RTSs like Batallion Wars (and soon Pikmin), as the Wii wouldn't be able to handle a real strategy game like Command and Conquer. Those games use about 20 keys, and the Wii has fewer buttons than the 360 or PS3, so they would have to be drastically dumbed down in order to work on Wii. It would be a mess.
Still, the Wii has the potential for great simple Strategy games, as well as so many other kinds of games that aren't mini-game collections, puzzlers, or uncategorizable casual games.

As for your story about how you joined this site, it's the same as mine. I've been a spectator on this site since I discovered it in August '07 (or around that time at least, I've had my Wii for about a month then). I finally decided to join in late June. After reading some of the earlier threads, I wish I joined earlier. :)

As for the GBA castlevanias, try to nail a copy of the double-pack, which has got Aria of Sorrow and Harmony of Dissonance on one cartridge. I got it off amazon, and I must say that both games are amazing! Circle of the Moon is also pretty good.

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