We recently caught up with Keith Hladik, Associate Producer at High Voltage Games and Nate Fitt, Marketing Manager at YUKE'S Company of America and had the opportunity to speak with them about their new partnership and upcoming WiiWare title Evasive Space. You can check out the full contents of the exclusive WiiWare World interview below to find out what they had to say.
WiiWare World: What prompted the partnership between YUKES of America and High Voltage Software in WiiWare publishing?
Nate Fitt: Our partnership came together quite naturally. First, we’re located within 30 minutes of each other just outside of Chicago. Second, we were well aware of High Voltage’s talents from their 15 years in the industry. When we decided to do Evasive Space for WiiWare and needed to find a developer for it, High Voltage came up as a possible option based on their proximity to us and their experience developing V.I.P. Casino: Blackjack and Gyrostarr for WiiWare. We touched base and shortly thereafter had our first meeting to discuss the concept, after which we left feeling very comfortable that they were the right team for the job.
WW: How did you come up with the idea for Evasive Space?
Keith Hladik: We were given a strong premise by YUKE’S: Make an avoidance-type game within a Sci-Fi setting, in addition to some other concept items. Using some examples of prior games, Irritating Stick for example, we took that and thought “How can we use the Wii’s unique controller to create a fun WiiWare title?” Our designer really took pride in trying to create levels that were both fun and satisfying to complete.
There are a number of fun avoidance-based games on PC. They are usually based on a simple gameplay mechanic such as moving the mouse cursor around a maze without touching the sides. But it is deceptively challenging to make this type of game, as they can easily become frustrating for the player. I believe our team did a fantastic job of avoiding those gameplay pitfalls and successfully created an elegant, challenging, and fun game.
WW: Can you tell us a little bit about the actual gameplay in Evasive Space?
KH: The gameplay in Evasive Space is just that - evade. Players guide Konki’s ship around environments avoiding walls, obstacles, projectiles, and black holes; just to name a few. This is done all while trying to complete the mission objective. When Konki runs out of energy or time, she essentially fails her mission and players have to try again. We wanted to give a sense of urgency where players are lost in a maze and they need to work their way out. We also tried to give players a wide array of environments and mission types. By doing so, I think we are giving players a satisfying and content-rich WiiWare game.
WW: What's it like to have an innovative controller like the Wii Remote at your disposal when it comes to developing a game?
KH: The Wii is the perfect console for these types of games. Using the IR pointer adds fluidity and immersion not possible before. All throughout development, I would catch myself in a Zen state while playing this game; finding gratification in just piloting Konki’s ship through the environment. On past projects I’ve been on, it’s been a slight struggle to get the controls just right so a person off the street who has never played Wii before can pick up the game and be able to play without getting frustrated with the controls. We’re very pleased that new players who have picked up Evasive Space during our previews seem to ‘get’ the controls rather quickly.
WW: Are there any two player modes available?
KH: Indeed. We have a 2-4 player, same-screen, co-op and competitive multiplayer modes. Players can control one of four different colored ships in eight environments which are unlocked through the single player Story Mode. The same game mechanics utilized in the single player mode are applied here. So one example of a co-op multiplayer game is to tow 15 ships to a repair station in a certain amount of time, and if one player dies, the team loses. An example of a competitive game is the first player to collect 30 energy cells wins.
WW: Does Evasive Space feature any type of online gameplay or leaderboards?
KH: While Evasive Space doesn’t support online gameplay, it does have online leaderboards for each of the 20 levels. If you complete a level and get the #1 fastest time on your local leaderboard, you can then upload that score and see how you did compared to the rest of the Evasive Space junkies in North America. We really want to see players upload speed runs to YouTube after the game is released!
WW: When should Evasive space be released and how much will it cost?
NF: We’re currently targeting a mid-to-late January release, and will be downloadable for 1,000 Wii points.
WW: Is there anything else you want to reveal about Evasive Space to our readers?
KH: Evasive Space has been an awesome project to work on. We have a wonderful group of talented people who really worked hard on creating a fun game in a limited amount of time. I am also amazed at the amount of eye candy we were able to put in the game.
We’re really excited about the positive buzz this game is getting and really hope when people decide to fork over those 1000 Wii Points that they’ll have a blast playing the game for an extended period of time. Working with YUKE’S has been great. They really gave us the freedom to make such a unique title possible and have been exceptionally supportive along the way.
WW: With this new found partnership between YUKES and High Voltage can we expect to see lots more WiiWare games in the New Year?
NF: We’re very pleased with the job High Voltage has done with Evasive Space. They have a talented group of developers over there that understood our vision from the beginning, adding their own creative ideas to make a totally unique, fun, and polished experience. We’re definitely interested in building upon this relationship with future titles on WiiWare.
That being said, we definitely see potential in WiiWare for innovative and fun games. We have more WiiWare games in the works so keep an eye out for additional announcements from YUKE’S in the near future.
KH: We sure hope so. We really enjoy working on WiiWare titles, but I suppose it really comes down to sales. So, go buy our games!
WW: We’ve heard rumors that HVS’s Animales de la Muerte may no longer be bound for WiiWare. Is there any truth to this?
KH: Animales de la Muerte has been a pet-project for us at High Voltage Software for quite a while. Its current status is probably the most asked question we get. While I can’t quite reveal what we’re currently doing with the title, please know that we highly cherish the IP and are still considering how to best release it down the road.
WW: To date High Voltage has not published either of its two WiiWare games within Europe or Australia. Is this trend set to change soon?
KH: We hope to change this for our fans overseas at some point in the very near future.