Interview: MonkeyPaw Games - BurgerTime World Tour
Posted by Corbie Dillard
Developer talks classic arcade update
With the upcoming release of Burgertime World Tour on the WiiWare service, we thought now might be a good time to get in touch with MonkeyPaw Games and attempt to gain some new information on the title.
John Greiner, president of MonkeyPaw Games, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to sit down and answer some of our pressing questions. You can find out everything he had to tell us in the exclusive Nintendo Life interview below.
Nintendo Life: How did you come up with the idea for BurgerTime World Tour in the first place?
John Greiner: BurgerTime is that quintessential classic that inspired many and emptied a lot of pockets at the arcade. It must have made Data East pretty happy. But since its heyday, not much has been done to make the game better or to revive its success. Basically, it needed a new world to wrap itself around.
When I ran Hudson Entertainment, BurgerTime was our best-selling title on mobile. To think it would out-sell all those great Hudson games said a lot about the brand. So when we made MonkeyPaw Games, our first licensing act was to secure BurgerTime for digital download platforms.
NL: Did you feel a certain amount of pressure creating a new game based on such a timeless arcade classic of the 80s?
JG: We started with the notion that the mechanics and AI shouldn’t change much but that everything else was open to interpretation. So platform elements came to the fore. Now we could create a larger playing field that allowed more freedom to improvise while maintaining that tension of escaping baddies as you negotiate the scaffolding.
The game straddles a few demographics and we were very careful not to upset those who love the classic. The game has bright colors and cartoony characters that will bring in new fans but the mechanic stays the same. So retro fans can still relive the action of their classic but have it playing in today’s graphics and wider worlds. We believe there are many more classic arcade games that deserve this contemporary treatment.
NL: Can you tell us a little bit about the actual gameplay of BurgerTime World Tour?
JG: In order to enlarge the playing field, we created a Rotary Environment System where the action takes place on the circumference of a cylinder. This gives a sense of depth where you can look through the cylinder and locate other players and enemies. It adds a nice layer of complexity while giving the game a tight, competitive multiplayer mechanic as well.
By expanding the playing field, we reduce the limitations of the one-screen, 2D feel. The levels become more complex and require more strategy. This gives the game a more modern feel while adding longevity and value.
NL: Was it difficult to inject a modern spin on a classic game that featured such a simple gameplay premise to begin with?
JG: The game has always been about running your routes, laying your traps and formulating your strategy. The enemies ran calculated patterns so you could memorize their routes and get pretty good at evading them while stealing your slice of burger. That was the magic. Our idea was to take that mechanic and spread it across the cylinder. Enlarging the game canvas means that we can add more features and build in more playability.
NL: Why the decision to go with a more 3D visual style rather than the 2D presentation of the original BurgerTime arcade release?
JG: Some games can’t be brought out of 2D without compromising the gameplay. Think Bomberman. But BurgerTime is different. We needed to get out of the flat, 2D space to achieve the Rotational Environment, which lends itself to 3D. By adding spatial depth, we can give the players vision of a larger playing field. Now you can see the burger you’re working on and where your enemies are. We’ve also added more cinematics and boss characters.
NL: How many levels will the game feature?
JG: The WiiWare version will feature twenty levels and one giant boss at the end to wrap it all together. We chose the best, most fun and fluid levels and made sure they ran on the Wii, and then stitched it all together for a good player experience.
NL: Is the game controlled solely with the Wii Remote or will other controllers be supported?
JG: Just the Wii Remote, but you turn it sideways — old school!
NL: Are there are motion controls in the game?
JG: No, this is pretty much an arcade re-envisioning, so we felt motion controls would distract from that vision. They might almost feel gimicky on a title like this. Better to get the controls right, keep them tight and make the game easy to pick up and play for both the new and hardcore BurgerTime fan.
NL: Will there be online play?
JG: The game will feature two-player local but no online play.
NL: Are there any significant differences between the various platform releases of the game?
JG: Well of course the size limitations of the WiiWare game is the biggest difference, so there was some content that needed to be cut. There are also platform-specific feature differences, like avatars, that will be noticeable.
NL: Did you find it difficult to stay within the WiiWare file size limit?
JG: Not really, but the other versions are very large in size comparison so the only way to truly fit it was to reduce the length of the game. The core gameplay was not changed and we feel that anybody who buys the game, regardless of platform, will enjoy its classic, addictive nature.
NL: Any idea when we might see the game released on the WiiWare service and how much it might cost?
JG: We have not locked down launch specifics but the game will release this summer and will be reasonably priced. To get more information, follow us on our Facebook and Twitter at. We’ll even be giving away copies to the game on our social networks as the summer launch gets closer!
NL: Any chance we might see MonkeyPaw Games developing for 3DS or the upcoming Nintendo console in the future?
JG: We are interested in supporting all Nintendo consoles but don’t have BurgerTime development on the new systems at this point. We look forward to seeing our results and making those decisions later this year.
NL: Is there anything you'd like to tell our Nintendo Life readers in closing?
JG: We think the WiiWare service needs great games to make the development environment more appealing. It’s a chicken or egg conundrum. With BurgerTime World Tour, we’d like to provide the meat and hopefully the chicken and eggs will follow. The point is to bring good games to market. And we believe you’ll enjoy BurgerTime World Tour this summer!