Spanish developer Dreambox's first release, Robox, was revealed just last week and has already captured our attention with its lush visual style and interesting concept. We tracked down Dreambox art director Julio Romon to learn a little more about their upcoming platformer, and he was more than happy to spill a few beans on the game and how his studio started.
Nintendo Life: Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers and explain your role in the development of Robox?
Julio Romon: Hello, my name is Julio G. Romon and I am the art director of Dreambox Games. My role in Robox production has been on the one hand the 2D/3D graphics and on the other hand coordination of the art department.
Dreambox Games is a new development studio, and Robox is its first game. Could you tell us a little about how you got started? What other studios have team members worked for, or what games have they helped develop?
My professional development is quite broad, just to comment that I gained extensive experience in video games as well as 3D movie animation; a company to highlight might be CLIMAX Portsmouth. Much of what I learned there we now apply at Dreambox. At Climax I worked as a 3D modeler and texturer for characters and backgrounds, working on titles like Serious Sam: Next Encounter, Sudeki and Crusty Demons among others.
Actually, the team of Dreambox, we met each other working together at another video game company called Shanblue, a more modest studio that targeted portable consoles. We were all really looking forward to develop our own ideas, so we decided to found Dreambox.
Tell us a little about the main character. It’s a robotic box, but where did it come from? Who built it and for what purpose?
It was created to collect large amounts of information by extraterrestrials obsessed with knowledge. Their main desire is to discover the origin of the universe and they created a highly skilled exploration mechanism designed to survive the most hostile corners of the universe. For thousands of years this species has spread these probes throughout the galaxies and analyzed the collected information.
In some of the screenshots Robox’s eyes look kind of dreary, sort of like it’s depressed. Why so glum?
What would you think if a two-ton rock chased you and you had no escape? Seriously though, the appearance of Robox is more comic than sad. You have to see it in motion so you can appreciate the nuances.
What type of platformer is it? Is it more of a linear Mario-type or an exploratory Metroid/Castlevania setup?
The truth is that for Robox we have pushed for one of its principal gaming assets to be the "freedom" of the player when playing. I mean that a person who is not looking for complications can simply play straightforward until the end of the adventure, and players who prefer to explore the entire map will find rewards in the form of new creatures to be introduced into the robot in order to get new features or to be awarded with more resistance force for the player to help them complete the adventure 100%.
We’ve become very fond of Robox’s striking hand-painted visuals; nothing else on WiiWare looks like it. What are some of the artistic influences that helped shape the game’s look?
The environments of the planet are more manga-influenced, while the interiors are more European-styled. At Dreambox we are three illustrators each with a different style; my work has been to unite these three styles.
We emphasized in pre-production seeking a visual style that distinguishes itself somewhat from the usual. Each scenario is very different from the previous one, with details and niceties we hope players will appreciate.
We tried to show the different scenes or enemies as detailed as possible within the space limitations of WiiWare. We are convinced that people will be satisfied with the result, both visual and playable. And as many people have asked concerning this issue: all images published are screenshots.
You plan on developing for not just the Wii but also for Xbox 360 and PS3 as well. What is it about WiiWare that led Dreambox to choose it for the first studio effort?
The fact that the Wii community is a community that likes to get more original ideas. I think Microsoft and Sony should focus more on how Nintendo is doing things.
We try to create original ideas that may not go together very well with the preset ideas on the other platforms.
How does Robox take advantage of the Wii’s unique controls?
During the adventure you mainly use the Wii Remote in a horizontal position with several special features that you will see soon, and in specific situations you will use the Remote pointing directly at the screen. Moreover, the entire interior of the main character will be controlled in this way.
Anyway, we do not want to reveal all the functions and hope that the player discovers them on their own.
How far along is development? What release window are you shooting for?
Robox is being developed within eight months, from the idea's conception until this final stage. Right now we're in the final stretch finishing a couple of details that we hope players will appreciate and it will be completed very soon.
What else are you working on over there? Any hints on future projects?
We are currently finalizing Robox and shortly we will begin our second game for WiiWare. We already know that in this second project the Wii Remote will be used in a more comprehensive way. I think you will enjoy a lot about this new project.
Thank you very much for your time. Is there anything you’d like to share with our readers in closing?
Thank you very much for your interest in Robox and we hope you enjoy playing as much as we did producing this game.