For over a decade, if you knew about Object Vision Software, it was likely because your business needed custom, or bespoke, software or consultation. Now the B2B firm has stepped into the world of video game development with the innovative WiiWare puzzler Aya and the Cubes of Light, which we awarded an impressive 7/10 in our review. The game just released in North America yesterday, so we decided to sit down with CEO Jacob Rosendorfer to discuss the title, the evolution from B2B firm to game studio and how Nintendo can continue to improve its downloadable platforms in the future.
Nintendo Life: Can you give a brief description of Aya and the Cubes of Light for the uninitiated?
Jacob Rosendorfer: Aya and the Cubes of Light is primarily a puzzle game where players have to find their way through a labyrinth on a 3D cube. The special feature is the gravity on the cube – Aya always walks upright, even when she’s upside down, which makes the routes both unusual and surprising. Of course, an array of devices and obstacles have been placed on the cubes which the player has to use imaginatively or negotiate carefully, so we also have incorporated the jump 'n run aspect.
The puzzles become more difficult as you go from cube to cube. It can also become really difficult if a player wants to collect all the bonus items on one cube, and certain bonus items have been cleverly concealed.
NL: What was the inspiration behind the title's unique gameplay?
"When the Wii was launched on the market we wanted to publish a title for that device merely because we were amazed by the totally new control concept"
JR: When the Wii was launched on the market we wanted to publish a title for that device merely because we were amazed by the totally new control concept, and the WiiWare distribution channel provided the opportunity to publish a title. We then systematically compiled a number of ideas and decided on the implementation of the cube puzzle, which seemed the most appealing and innovative concept to us.
NL: What accomplishments are you most proud of in the development of Aya and the Cubes of Light?
JR: We spent a lot of time on the various puzzles and involved many different people during the design process, and I think we created some brilliant and astonishing puzzles. I was particularly pleased that Andreas Fabritius was involved, because he provided some incredible game sound and perfect music!
NL: Could you tell us a bit about Object Vision Software?
JR: Our core business is the development of bespoke software systems and consultancy on software projects. We have been in the market for almost 14 years now.
NL: If we're not mistaken, game development and publishing is a relatively new venture for Object Vision. Why make the leap from creating B2B focused software to this?
JR: Software developers have a great affinity with computer games, and it is standard procedure at Object Vision to evaluate new software architectures and development methods in reference conditions; that brought us to the idea of looking more closely at game consoles.
NL: What made you want to choose the WiiWare platform for Aya and the Cubes of Light?
JR: This game is aimed at casual gamers who are more interested in game content than sophisticated and spectacular graphics. I think we have the biggest overlap here with the Wii platform.
NL: Nintendo has pledged to improve its online stores, currently with the 3DS and in the future with the Wii U. What do you think the company’s most important focus should be?
JR: Sure, there are a couple of things Nintendo should think about. E.g. the Wii-Shop-Channel: the ability to convey an game impression is very limited. I suppose people mostly visit the Nintendo web pages and may follow the links to the game homepages if any to obtain sufficient game info. But how many players here use the Wii Internet Channel would be worthwhile to know.
The Nintendo Channel should be slightly revised too. The features are arranged confusingly and sometimes carelessly made. At least, the gameplay video snippet of our game at the NoE weekly downloads trailer was a disaster. Last of all I would like to have direct control over setting the game price. Other platforms allow publishers change prices directly e.g. to react on seasonal effects or to support promotion activities.
NL: Do you have any plans to develop more WiiWare titles in the future?
JR: Sure! The story actually has an open ending, and we can envisage a sequel to Aya where Cseom is captured. From a technical development point of view we have not only published a title, but have also devised some specific tools and processes that we would like to use again. For example, we programmed our own editor to create the labyrinths. Of course we also want to use our title to generally knock on the doors of publishers as a development studio.
NL: What about Nintendo's other platforms, like DSiWare and the 3DS eShop, or Wii U?
JR: We haven’t explored all the possibilities of the Wii U console in great detail yet, but the concepts look really interesting. We don’t have anything definite in the pipeline at the moment; unfortunately the other platforms don’t have enough computing power for our underlying 3D engine.
NL: Is there anything you'd like to tell our readers in closing?
JR: Just download Aya and have fun playing the game!
We thank Jacob for taking the time to answer our queries.