Interviews: WayForward - Mighty Milky Way
Posted by Corbie Dillard
Sean Velasco talks Mighty Milky Way
We've already seen WayForward release some of the best DSiWare titles the service has seen to date, but now the company is getting set to release the pseudo-sequel to their first DSiWare hit Mighty Flip Champs. And while Mighty Milky Way shares many of the traits of its predecessor, it's actually a completely different playing experience altogether.
Sean Velasco, Director of Mighty Milky Way, was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of our questions and you can find out what he had to say to us in the exclusive Nintendo Life interview below.
Nintendo Life: How did you come up with the idea for Mighty Milky Way in the first place?
Sean Velasco (Director): Mighty Milky Way was conceived as an experimental gameplay idea that would be perfect for DSi. We came up with an idea for a game that involved using the gravity of planets to get from place to place. The character would not be controllable by the player; a cybernetic T-Rex would be involved. It would be Mighty! When the swirling existential quandaries concerning aesthetics and game mechanics collided, we experienced the genesis of Mighty Milky Way.
NL: You've said that the game is a pseudo-sequel to 2009's Mighty Flip Champs. What exactly does the game have in common with the aforementioned title, if anything?
SV: Mighty Milky Way and Mighty Flip Champs have distinct similarities: sexy girl leads, loud colors, action puzzle gameplay, friendly monster co-stars, and a whimsically wacky attitude. There was quite a bit of discussion about what makes a Mighty game, and these were agreed upon as the most important. Maybe an enterprising internet person could make a Mighty game description generator; it could be like:
In Mighty (Verb)(Noun), sexy Cutie Pie (insert girl’s name here) is ready for a mighty adventure! Armed with a (insert whimsical weapon), she puzzles through over 40 levels of obnoxiously-paletted awesomeness! Along with her pals (domesticated animal)(hi-tech device) and (monster, dinosaur, or mythical creature), she is unstoppable! Can you overcome the odds and become the greatest (Noun) of them all?
NL: Why the decision to not do a direct sequel to Mighty Flip Champs?
SV: Don’t think for a second that Milky Way’s existence forbids the possibility of a true Flip Champs sequel! I wouldn’t want to live in a world where we never see my favorite characters Alta, Fish Man, and Jetpack Cat again. Mighty Flip Champs: Agito 827/3 Days could be in the works!
NL: Can you tell us a little bit about the actual gameplay of Mighty Milky Way?
SV: In Mighty Milky Way, the player doesn’t control Luna directly! She walks along the surface of planets. The player can adjust her speed, or tap the planet to make her jump. Each planet has realistic gravity; the idea is that you use the gravity of each planet to get her from place to place. You can also tap anywhere on the screen to create a planet. With limited planets and room to move, the player must maneuver Luna through hazards and barriers, eventually reaching the goal at the end of the stage.
NL: The game has been called a puzzle/platformer. What genre would you say is more prevalently represented throughout the game?
SV: The game leans more toward the action side. There is certainly a lot of mental acuity required to figure out how to get to the end of each level, but precise timing and execution of your plans is necessary to succeed!
NL: Will the game be played via the touchscreen or the standard button controls?
SV: It uses both! You tap planets and create planets using the touch screen. The buttons let you adjust Luna’s speed and zoom the playfield in and out.
NL: Is the game a single-player experience or will there be some type of multiplayer mode as well?
SV: Single player only for this one, unfortunately. But, we have the most awesomely ridiculous idea for a multiplayer mode. Please buy a million copies of Mighty Milky Way so we can make the sequel, Mighty Milky Way 64! Totally not joking!
NL: Will there be any hidden surprises for gamers who own other WayForward DSiWare releases, like those found in Shantae: Risky's Revenge?
SV: Yep! There is a little bonus for players of other WayForward games…
NL: If you had to sum up Mighty Milky Way in one word, what would it be and why?
SV: The word would be “Ennui” (pronounced “On Wii”). This is a French term that describes a sort of general boredom towards life. Milky Way’s protagonist, Luna, is filled with ennui, despite her jocose outward appearance. Perhaps we can learn from her general malaise; after all, aren’t we all just walking across the surface of planets as we hurtle through space?
NL: WayForward games have always been well known for their amazing art and sprite work. Do you guys put a lot of focus on that aspect of your games?
SV: Of course! WayForward games will always strive to have the best 2D art in the biz! Milky Way is a special case, because the screen zooms in and out all the time as the characters rotate. This lends the game an interesting pixelated quality that reminds me of the old mode-7 SNES games. Additionally, we have some excellent illustrations of Luna and the T-Rex in slice-of-life vignettes that everyone seems to get a kick out of.
NL: What do you think of Nintendo's upcoming 3DS system and are you excited about what the system brings to the table from a development standpoint?
SV: The 3DS has an incredible sense of depth that must be seen in person to be truly appreciated. The additional power is also much appreciated. And an analog stick; heck yeah! We are already making games for the 3DS and you can rest assured that WayForward will continue to churn out quirky and amazing titles for Nintendo’s handhelds! However, I’m bummed that you can’t touch the 3D, since the only the top screen is 3D and only the bottom screen is touch (of course, having your finger on the 3D would ruin the effect anyway). The separation of the screens is going to be more distinct now than ever.
NL: Any plans to bring A Boy and His Blob to the 3DS? (We know you likely can't answer the question, but we had to ask)
SV: I could fill a page with musings about A Boy and His Blob for 3DS. Needless to say I must stay quiet, but know this: I would love to see the child and his gelatinous companion throwing sugary puzzle-solvers on the platform! (apologies to Martin Sanelli!)
NL: In closing, do you have anything you'd like to tell our readers?
SV: As you avoid the T-Rex’s laser beams and blow up planets one by one, think about how lucky you are to live in a time when such a game exists! Alternately, you could curse the fact of your birth! After all, as Luna would say: "La victoire et la défaite ne se distinguent point."
We'd like to thank Sean and the guys at WayForward for taking the time to do this interview.