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Interviews: Renegade Kid - Mutant Mudds

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Developer talks platforming

When developer Renegade Kid first showed off some early footage of its Maximillian and the Rise of the Mutant Mudds 3D platform title, many gamers were a bit shocked at the radical departure from many of its previous efforts like Moon and Dementium: The Ward. The game's cartoon looks and light-hearted theme were a far cry from the death and destruction of the first-person shooter titles on Nintendo DS.

Now, Renegade Kid has instituted another radical change, this time taking the 3D platformer idea and transforming it into an old-school 2D presentation for the 3DS eShop. With development already well underway, we thought it might be a good time to catch up with Jools Watsham, CEO and Creative Director of Renegade Kid, to get the lowdown on the game. You can find out what he had to say to us in the exclusive Nintendo Life interview below.

Nintendo Life: After spending much of your development time over the years pushing the 3D limits of Nintendo's handheld systems, why the decision to go 2D for Mutant Mudds?

Jools Watsham: In my mind, 2D is still king. However, 3D games, such as Dementium and Moon, are typically sexier to publishers, and therefore have a higher chance of getting funded and published.

Our debut game, Dementium, was geared towards being noticed on the DS, so going 3D was the right thing to do there. But, I have always had a great appreciation for 2D games, especially the SNES era. It has been a life-long dream of mine to develop a 2D platform game, so it is thrilling to finally be doing that with Mutant Mudds. The 3DS is the perfect platform for it.

NL: What have been some of the challenges of taking a game that was originally created as a 3D adventure and weaving it into more of a classic 2D platformer?

JW: I didn't limit myself to strictly adapting what we created with the original 3D platformer into the 2D rendition of Max's muddy adventure. I looked at what could be transferred and discarded the rest. The hover mechanic works very well in 2D, and was really the only unique aspect of the 3D platformer that was adapted directly over to the 2D Mutant Mudds. The jump, shoot, walk speed, and jumping between layers were all specifically tailored to the 3DS format. In the end, Mutant Mudds is a very different game than the original 3D platformer, and in my opinion, much better thanks to the 2D adaptation.

NL: You've obviously chosen to use a more 16-bit style of visuals for the game. Was that more due to the file size restrictions or a feeling of it fitting the game you wanted to make?

JW: I knew that I was going to create the majority of the artwork for the game, so I wanted to go with a style that I could naturally produce without too much extra research, etc. When I started creating artwork for the game I went with more of an 8-bit style, but it looked more basic than I’d imagined, so I added more colors to everything. The result is somewhere between 8-bit and 16-bit; 12-bit if you like. :)

NL: How has developing Mutant Mudds differed from your the more ambitious projects your studio has undertaken in the past?

JW: Well, the team is certainly a lot smaller. Right now, it is just me, Matthew, and Troupe. Smaller teams can require more work from each person, but it can also mean less hassle and management in many regards. However, I wouldn't say it is any less ambitious than any of our previous titles. Trying to make a good game is a difficult task, no matter what.

NL: Can you tell us a bit about the basic play controls of Mutant Mudds and what players can expect from a gameplay standpoint?

JW: Your fundamental abilities are walk, jump, shoot, crouch, and hover. These enable you to traverse a multitude of platform scenarios while taking out Mutant Mudds with your Water Cannon along the way. This is a two button game, so it keeps the controls fairly simple to execute. Later in the game you'll have the ability to gain access to some power-ups, which enable you to access areas that are otherwise out-of-reach.

NL: What has the unique 3D display of Nintendo's 3DS system brought to the table from a development standpoint and what does it add to the overall experience of Mutant Mudds?

JW: For me, and Mutant Mudds in particular, the unique 3D display of the 3DS made me look back fondly on the Virtual Boy and remember the inspired fun I had playing it. Wario Land in particular. Jumping between the gameplay layers is a natural fit for the 3D display. Even though this is possible and effective on 2D platforms as well, the sense of depth that the 3D display provides is something very special. You feel like you're physically moving further away from the screen; truly bringing the effect to life.

Now, even though this effect is pretty awesome, and something that I embrace wholeheartedly, it makes the creation of levels a lot more challenging from a development standpoint. Each playable layer is set to a different scale than the others. The background layer could be considered to be rendering at 100% scale, where 1 pixel equals one pixel. I know this sounds a little odd, but bear with me. The middle layer, which is typically the default starting layer for the player, is rendered at 200%, where 1 pixel equals 2x2 pixels. And, finally the foreground layer is at 300%, where 1 pixel equals 3x3 pixels. Even though that may not make much sense, the result is that these layers cannot easily be designed on paper as it is difficult to judge exactly where they connect with each other due to the scale differences between them.

I have found that the level creation for this title is largely trial and error. I iterate on each level/layer until it is right. Once a level is synced up in harmony, the end result is something that I believe is very special. It’s a simple concept that really delivers, and makes your journey through the game a little different than traditional platformers.

NL: Will there be any motion controls or does the game feature a more traditional button control scheme?

JW: There are no motion controls.

NL: How many levels can players expect in the game and will there be any hidden goodies to give the game some added replay value?

JW: The game starts with four worlds. Each world has four levels in it. That is a total of 16 levels. Each level is behind a door, which has a number on it that represents how many Water Sprites must be collected to gain access to it. Each of those levels also provides access to a secret level; a door is hidden somewhere inside each level. Once you have collected all 32 Water Sprites from those levels (16 regular / 16 secret), a fifth world is revealed. To access a level in the fifth world, you must collect all of the Golden Diamonds from one world to unlock one level. The fifth world has 4 regular levels, and four secret levels. So, that’s 40 levels altogether.

NL: Is there any time frame for when we might expect Mutant Mudds to be released on the 3DS eShop?

JW: I am hoping it will be released before the end of 2011. But, we’re not going to rush the game out before we feel it is ready. We have only one chance to release a respectable 2D platform game, if players are to trust us with future 2D platform games.

NL: Is there anything you'd like to tell our readers in closing?

JW: We plan on developing many titles for the eShop. We’re excited about it. Mutant Mudds marks our first step into many things, including our dedication to Nintendo’s digital service. I am confident that the eShop service and 3DS hardware are more than capable of delivering incredible gaming experiences. All that’s left is for the player’s to climb aboard to make it the success it inevitably will be.

We'd like to thank Jools Watsham for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.

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User Comments (39)

FonistofCruxis

#4

FonistofCruxis said:

I didn't like the look of the original version but this looks really good and I will definitely be picking this up.
You mentioned file size restrictions in the interview, do you know what the file size limit for 3DSware is? Also, he said there it was a two-button game, so does that mean you hold the jump button to hover?

CorbsAdmin

#5

Corbs said:

The version I played at E3 had you pressing the jump button to jump and then pressing it again in mid-air to hover. It felt very intuitive and really was one of the best parts of the game. :D

suburban_sensei

#8

suburban_sensei said:

I can't wait for this. When I saw the 3D screenshots way back when, I wasn't very interested, but the change to a 2D sidescroller was the perfect idea. The art looks beautiful and it seems like it will be pretty fun.

accc

#9

accc said:

I'm still kind of sad that they didn't keep it 3D, I love 3D platformers and there's barely any more of them coming out these days. Having said that, I'm still interested in picking this up.

PokeNas

#11

PokeNas said:

I can see that alot of elements here are taken from mario games like the water canon and numbers on doors. But it still looks good.

Vinsanity

#12

Vinsanity said:

I dig their "12-bit" art:) I was going to say that it seemed to lack ...the detail, I guess of 16-bit greats like Chrono Trigger. The sprites are more simple. But theyr'e definitely more colorful than NES games. I really like the term they coined there:)

I also am totally on board with their decision to make a 2D game now too. Haven't given two sh**s about their games in the past. FPS on the DS is practically broken in my opinion; feigning mouselook controls with the touchscreen is a recipe for awful, hand-cramping controls. So I can't even begin to look at the game design if the controls are full of sh**. Guys like Renegade Kid make me sad because I'm relatively sure they're talented and that I should be supporting them, but just couldn't get behind what they were doing. Whether or not publishers think their 3D games were "sexy". Screw what publishers think; just make a great game. Heck, a classic Doom-style FPS (with a fair degree of autoaim; not having to look up or down, y'know) would probably have worked better on the DS than faking mouselook controls.

Can't wait for this:) The eShop needs some killer games. Just like the 3DS library in general. But I know that, between this and Mighty Switch Force, we'll be getting something before the year is out. Keep up the great work, Renegade Kid! The game looks way more fun in 2D than it did in 3D!

Xkhaoz

#14

Xkhaoz said:

I agree with pixelman. 2D platformers are great and all, but I want an FPS.

GammaGames

#17

GammaGames said:

I knew this was the DSiWare that nobody voted they wanted XD But It's good to see it's coming!

bboy2970

#18

bboy2970 said:

Sounds excellent! I can't wait for this to hit the eShop! Definite purchase from me. Let's try to keep the price reasonable though. On the issue of file limit, I don't know the limit exactly but I know that Let's Golf 3D is about 1500 blocks. Assuming the blocks in use are the same size as what DSiWare takes up, that would make Let's Golf about 11.5 times larger than a maximum sized DSiWare game. DSiWare games can be a max of 20MB so that would make 3DS downloads about 230MB at the very least. So yeah, developers have a considerable amount of space to work with here.

Supremeist

#19

Supremeist said:

I'm definitely going to be getting this when it comes to NA. It looks really fun and I'm craving a platformer.

Tare

#20

Tare said:

Read about in Nintendo power, hopefully the price tag is acceptable.

@ 12. I concur. I always thought those controls would feel more natural on a hand held. It would have been great if we could have gotten a port of Doom or quake onto the DS. Insane multiplayer potential there.

WolfRamHeart

#23

WolfRamHeart said:

I probably would never have picked this game up in it's original form but I love the way it looks in 2D. This is now a day-one purchase for me(assuming that I own a 3DS by that time of course).;)

littlebigplanet

#24

littlebigplanet said:

Looks like a mix of Super Mario Sunshine and Yoshi's island. Cant wait to get my hands on this. I already have a $20 download card to buy this and Rollling Western. All in all, I have 22 games coming to the eShop that Imma get. (the 20 free ones, and the 2 previously mentioned ones)

TheGreenSpiny

#25

TheGreenSpiny said:

@22 waveboy: I loved Dementium besides it's one fatal flaw, the fact that enemies respawn every time you leave a room which made the game harder than hell. I have Dementium 2 but never really got into it.

@12 & 21: I have to disagree here. Dementium had silky smooth controls, second only to a Wii Remote Nunchuk combo. Once you get used to playing a game the hand cramps subside. I got over my hand cramps with MPH.

Pj1

#26

Pj1 said:

I don't normally download Wii-ware games but I will download this, it looks good...

Squiggle55

#29

Squiggle55 said:

I will definitely be downloading this if only to encourage more games that look like this to be made. I love that style.

NiaLovesNinty

#31

NiaLovesNinty said:

Do want! I'm happy they went with 2D! It looks great! Switching from the foreground to the background looks interesting!

Lobster

#32

Lobster said:

I am absolutely getting this when it comes out, and this is from someone who is generally "meh" on platformers.

DivineDope

#33

DivineDope said:

This game looks so Bomb! Truly gets me excited! It's funny he should mention being inspired by Wario Land for Virtual Boy, because this games style very well reminds me of Wario Land 4.

Thanks for the interview!

eviLaTtenDant

#34

eviLaTtenDant said:

Very interesting interview ! It seems that Mr. Watsham is really passionate about the game and very smart when it comes to judging the attention his games will get. Makes me wonder if they will "delay" it so it doesn't get overshadowed by Nintendo's free games. A lot of trial and error in development should be good for the game's quality too.
It all makes me very hopeful that this game will turn out to be a great download.

The only question i miss is if there are specific games that influenced it (like Paper Mario or Donkey Kong Country Returns).

@Vinsanity (12.): And you even waited to make your comment the 12th post. Massive props to you, man ! ;) I really like that "12 bit" style too. :)

nano43

#35

nano43 said:

Aww. I was really looking forward to having this game as a 3D platformer. It reminds me of Super Mario Sunshine.:) But I guess it's pretty good as a 2D game.

jediknight

#37

jediknight said:

That looks pretty cool. Reminds me of Mario the way it's set up though, with various monsters and power-ups for the main character. I'll think about it.

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