After conquering the iOS, DSiWare and even PlayStation Move platforms, Firemint's addictive air traffic control-based Flight Control is landing today on WiiWare in Europe and North America. We sat down with Writer and Media Liaison Logan Booker to talk about the high-flying title.
Nintendo Life: Flight Control has very much "taken off" in terms of success, but for the uninformed, can you say a few words to introduce the game?
Logan Booker: Flight Control puts you in the shoes of an air traffic controller, intent clearing the airways of chaos landing jets, helicopters and seaplanes safely. This is done by selecting aircraft and “dragging” a path for them to their appropriate landing zone. It pioneered the line-drawing (or pathing) genre on iOS, and since its release back in 2009 has hit the #1 position in over 20 countries, with over 4.5 million downloads as of August 2011. Flight Control is now considered a bit of an iPhone “classic”... even though it’s only a few years old!
NL: How will the WiiWare version of Flight Control compare to its PS Move and DSiWare outings?
LB: As with all our releases of Flight Control, we’ve made sure to maximise everything about the game for the platform. Probably the standout is the work we’ve done to make the Wii Remote as precise and intuitive as possible, given the need for accuracy to guide aircraft home quickly and effectively. We also took the opportunity to create a party game feel, with drop-in / drop-out multiplayer for up to four players. Unique to the WiiWare version is the ability for players to sign their names on a Cabin Crew Certificate when they achieve a high score. Nothing quite like seeing your signature rendered in a variety of bright colours to fill you with pride!
NL: What factors led to your decision to bring the game to WiiWare at this point?
LB: For Firemint, it’s really about identifying platforms for our games where we feel we can improve or do something new – we don’t just release for the sake of it. We’ve been keen on getting Flight Control on WiiWare for a while, and everything has come together to make that happen. It’s a perfect fit – Flight Control on PlayStation 3 is almost a completely different experience to that of iPhone or iPad, and we feel it’s the same again with WiiWare.
NL: When we interviewed your company about the DSiWare version of Flight Control, you said that you were happy with Nintendo's distribution model and found it generous despite others' criticisms. After over a year since that version's release, how do you feel now?
LB: Our opinion hasn’t changed, we still feel WiiWare and DSiWare have a lot to offer, especially for games like Flight Control that have a wide appeal. As always, we’ll keep our eyes open for opportunities to take our games to the next level – if that happens to be on WiiWare or DSiWare, then great!
NL: Nintendo has said recently that with the 3DS and Wii U stores, it aims to clean up its online act and provide a better service for consumers and game studios. What direction do you think it should take? What aspects should it focus on?
LB: With online becoming a larger part of the picture, especially for games, we’re looking forward to what Nintendo has in store for its platforms. While we do have an iOS focus, the quality and fun of our games comes first and whatever platform is able to deliver that will always receive our undivided attention.
NL: It seems like not so long ago when Flight Control was a simple iPhone game, and now it's rocketed to a great many other platforms. What's next? A 3DS eShop version?
LB: Actually, Flight Control is already available on the 3DS eShop in Europe, North America and Australia and New Zealand! We don’t have any immediate plans to take advantage of 3DS specific features, but we haven’t ruled anything out.
NL: Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
LB: If you have an iPhone, be sure to check out SPY mouse when it comes out later this month… or even just check out the gameplay trailer. When we previewed it to the press at GDC earlier this year, it drew a few comparisons to Mario, Zelda and even Metal Gear. Yes, we were surprised (and delighted) by these comments too! We think it’s great SPY mouse’s gameplay invokes these names – we worked hard, over two years, to make it the game we’ve always wanted to play. And we think we’ve succeeded.
We thank Logan for taking the time to answer our questions.