Over The Top Games Interview - Icarian: Kindred Spirits
Posted by Darren Calvert
One of the most promising WiiWare games due later this year has to be Icarian: Kindred Spirits which is being developed by the newly formed independent studio ‘Over The Top Games’ based in Madrid, Spain.
The screenshots we have seen of the game so far look really nice, even LostWinds quality. If the gameplay is also as good we will have a winner on our hands here.
Intrigued by this stunning game we got in touch with the guys at Over The Top to find out more. Roberto Alvarez de Lara was only too happy to spare us the time to answer our questions:
WiiWare World: Can you tell us a bit about Over The Top Games studio?
Roberto Alvarez de Lara: Our studio was born with the intention to produce games that we would like to play ourselves. It’s great to be able to create games with total creative freedom. Currently based in Madrid, Spain, we are a small team of four people, all with several years of experience in different areas of game dev.
WW: What is the storyline in Icarian: Kindred Spirits about?
RL: In Icarian we’re telling the story of Nyx and Icarus.
Icarus, with his wings made of wax and feathers, flew so high that he reached a realm in the skies. There, he met a very special being…her name was Nyx.
Nyx, a young mysterious girl, automatically became fascinated by Icarus: he was the only human being she has ever met… and he had wings, just as her! From there a beautiful friendship starts. One day the earth mysteriously collapsed and Icarus disappears, leaving her alone. Nyx, worried about her friend, departs from her realm and goes in search of Icarus.
From there Nyx will have to fight in a hostile world, guided by Gods that will help in her quest to find what happened to Icarus.
WW: Would you say the similarities to Nintendo’s Kid Icarus are only superficial?
RL: Both Icarian and Kid Icarus are games inspired by the same source: the story of Icarus. When it comes to gameplay, our game takes full advantage of the Wii to present the player with very fun and challenging situations. Surely, fans of Kid Icarus will greatly enjoy our game.
WW: How do the controls work in Icarian? Is the flying action anything like that in LostWinds?
RL: With Nyx you can move and jump (in our case fly) as other platforms game. For this you use the Nunchuk + Wii Remote controls. The great thing about our game is that you can fly and stay in air a lot more time. You will be able to travel long distances just by flying. But be careful, you have limited flight endurance. Additionally, with brief movements of the Wii Remote the player is able to cast special movements to attack and defend from enemies. These are done using the Wii Remote.
Some Gods decide to help Nyx in her quest. So at the start of the game Nyx is very fragile. As the adventure proceeds the player receives powers to use while aiming at the screen. These powers let Nyx move obstacles, build stairs with rocks, impulse herself, shoot, etc.
WW: Can you tell us more about the power of the Gods you can summon and how this affects the gameplay?
RL: Most of the gameplay is designed around the God powers. When you start the adventure you receive one power by Zeus that let you move some objects in the scenery. With the help of this power you will be able to move rocks, columns and other obstacles.
You can do a lot with this power. Let me show you an example. You are facing a Hydra. This foe is a fierce big enemy that shoots fireballs at Nyx and is too powerful to be defeated by her. Well, if you have the powers of Zeus, you can use these fireballs to your advantage. Grab some of these with the Wii Remote and impact them to harm and beat the Hydra. This is a brief example of the kind of gameplay you will find in the game.
WW: How will the 2 player cooperative gameplay work in Icarian?
RL: One of the players will control the movements of Nyx. He will be able to run, jump and fly. The other player can play just with the Wii Remote (the Nunchuk is not required for the second player). He will be the one casting the powers and helping the first player. The fun part is that sometimes you need to be strongly coordinated, so you need to talk and synchronize with your buddy.
WW: The screenshots we have seen so far look no less than stunning. Can you tell us more about the artwork design and game engine you have developed?
RL: It’s a 3D engine developed entirely with custom technology. It’s specially designed to take the full advantage of the Wii, and, at the same time, be easily portable to other platforms. This will make things easier for us for the next projects.
Although the Wii graphics are not as powerful as other 'current-gen' consoles, we have paid special attention to develop and incorporate tools that let artists accomplish beautiful and very detailed sceneries. Most of the limitations have been corrected paying attention to shadows and lighting. Our goal was to create a very attractive game for the standards of this console.
For the graphics we were highly motivated by paintings by Dalí and Giorgio de Chirico. The environment and feeling we want to transmit are inspired in several of their works.
WW: How long will the game take an average gamer to complete?
RL: It will greatly depend of the type of player. Our game features levels that are more similar to old school platforms games and there are some places were you have to take your time and find the solution of a puzzle. We’re working hard to create a good balance between gameplay, number of levels and game length.
WW: Do you plan to launch in both Europe and North America? When do you expect the launch date to be roughly?
RL: Yes. Europe and North America are both targets. We want to be sure to release a highly polished game, so we won’t launch anything that we feel is incomplete in some aspect. The team is working hard, but our guesses are that you won’t need to wait very long
WW: How many Wii points will this retail for do you think?
RL: We still have to wait to what Nintendo has to say. They have the last word.
WW: What are some of Over the Top Games favourite WiiWare games so far and why?
RL: I’ve to say World of Goo. It’s a beautiful game with PERFECT gameplay and very polished graphics. Fun fun fun! It’s amazing how the initial concept grew into what today is known as World of Goo. Please tell them I applaud them!