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Interview: Enjoy Gaming - Pyramids (3DS eShop)

Posted by Zach Kaplan

We talk about the eShop's first 3D puzzler-platformer

We at Nintendo Life love a good puzzle, and Pyramids looks to provide just that. It originally caught our eye as one of the first announced third-party eShop titles, and it's still only one of less than ten in the running so far. We sat down with Enjoy Gaming's Production Manager, Janice Spencer, who told us about what we could expect from the puzzler, scanning QR codes for bonus levels and what we can look forward to down the line from the studio, including its next eShop title Block Factory. You heard it here first!

Nintendo Life: Could you tell us a bit about Pyramids?

Janice Spencer: Pyramids is a platform-puzzle game where an explorer needs to find the key to open an exit in each pyramid room. The main character has the ability to destroy or create bricks when moving about and there are all sorts of traps to avoid – a proven gameplay basis.

One of my lead programmers demanded that we should make the game, and we let him and his favourite lead artist and game designer come up with a design, good graphics and a complete, full-on fun game. As a result we have Pyramids.

It has been so much fun working on the game that, actually, other teams wanted to be part of the creation and helped in improving the game and the marketing materials.

NL: Cool, it's always nice to see a team's enthusiasm shine through. Will Pyramids take advantage of the system's 3D effect, and how large of a role will it play?

JS: As with most games, the 3D is just a visual effect, but it does increase the “eye candy” in the game.

NL: How will Pyramids utilise QR code scanning?

JS: Pyramids has 54 basic levels divided into six different worlds. Under the QR Code scanning section of the game, you will find nine additional free slots which you can use to store extra levels, imported into your game through QR Code scanning. You will be able to delete the games in the slots to replace them with newer levels and keep your favourite collection.

NL: How often do you plan to make these new QR code levels available?

JS: The timing of release of new QR Code levels will not be on a regular basis. We will hand out some of these extra levels to the press and keep track of all QR Code images on our game's Facebook page. Press and players will have to come and check the page now and then to get the new goodies, or contact us. We also are willing to create specific levels with specific demands.

NL: You mean you'd take fan suggestions for custom bonus levels?

JS: We will set up a part of the website dedicated to extra levels, where people will be able to discuss. Here we will allow ideas to float around which we can pick up and realise. This counts for press, events and fans of course. Keeping in mind we are planning the game on other platforms and are planning a follow up... all feedback will be taken into account.

NL: Will Pyramids take advantage of any the 3DS's other features, like StreetPass or SpotPass?

JS: No. The extra levels could have been distributed by SpotPass but we have chosen the internet and press as the distribution channel of the free content.

NL: Why did you choose to go with free extra content instead of DLC with a price tag?

JS: This game is all about fun. The development team enjoyed making the game, we enjoy publishing it… and we want the players to enjoy the game. What's more enjoyable than free content? Micro-payments is a good financial plan, but good value for money is what we aim for.

NL: Why choose the 3DS eShop as the initial platform for Pyramids?

"The team is very happy with what they have created, and we have promised them we will release the game worldwide."

JS: We no longer create DSiWare titles, so 3DS and the eShop is the way to go. Also, the Nintendo eShop pricing policy is a lot more flexible. We could have released the game on other platforms, but we have chosen to have it Nintendo 3DS exclusive for a while. Pyramids is just one of those games that plays well and will deliver hours of fun to a very wide audience.

For retail we have created three launch titles with specific content, game types and licenses, but on the eShop we wanted some creative input from our development teams.

NL: What are some elements of Pyramids that your team is especially proud of?

JS: I am very proud of the team itself. When playing, you will notice that they managed to keep it very close to the original and addictive gameplay. The team has been competing for high scores all along the development of the game and the construction of the levels… playing more than working actually. They really like the main character as well, which has been designed after a lead programmer of another team. The guy is going to be famous soon!

The team is very happy with what they have created, and we have promised them we will release the game worldwide.

NL: We're sure our international readers will be happy to hear that. Nintendo has pledged to continue improving its online scheme, currently with the eShop and moving ahead with the Wii U. As a company that's released several games for DSiWare and WiiWare as well, what area are you happiest that the company has altered, and what do you think that it still needs to focus on in the future?

JS: The Nintendo platforms have not been the strongest online platforms. On the other hand, the Nintendo policy avoids the market price-race downwards.

We believe, with the eShop, Nintendo has it right now and will continue to improve the digital distribution. We intend to continue with eShop and take advantage of what can now be achieved through eShop over DSiWare, and already have more titles in development.

There are some parts that are not yet in place and we look forward to the full spectrum of eShop coming live going forward.

NL: More 3DS titles in development? Could you tell us a bit about those?

JS: The second title will be a falling block puzzle game. It’s called Block Factory and is a Do-It-Yourself creation kit for falling block puzzles. It will use the QR Code images in a different way from Pyramids and will enable players to share their creations over StreetPass and through QR Code images. The two other titles, planned later on this year are still in an early stage but we will inform you as soon as we have the material ready.

NL: We look forward to hearing more about those. Is there anything you'd like to tell our readers in closing?

JS: I hope they will like Pyramids and visit our Facebook page often to get new free levels. We will be happy to receive any comments and even ideas for new levels or future titles they would like to see available on the eShop.

We thank Janice for taking the time to answer our questions. Stay tuned for release date and pricing information soon, as well as a Nintendo Life exclusive QR code bonus level when the game launches!

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User Comments (11)

Geonjaha

#1

Geonjaha said:

One of the few announced eShop updates. Cant say I'm looking forward to it much though; doesnt look like its making much of a jump from DSiWare.

warioswoods

#2

warioswoods said:

QR codes are a useful idea for adding levels and content. That could easily also allow for users to design levels in another app, online or elsewhere, and then distribute their own generated QR codes to friends. That doesn't seem to be the plan here, but would be easy enough to implement (in fact, they might want to watch out for unofficial QR code hacks that are sure to show up eventually).

Anyhow, it keeps the distribution of levels out of the game itself (and potentially private like Friend Codes), which surely allows for some flexibility. I only wish Wario Ware DIY had allowed for users to generate QR codes of their levels or collections of levels, so you could come to a site, scan one, and start playing. The sharing mechanism in place for that game is fun but limited.

Lastly, my dream: Nintendo needs to release Super Mario Advance 4 on the 3DS VC and use QR codes to distribute the eReader levels, maybe even creating new ones every now and then.

Portista

#3

Portista said:

Wow, the team seems really excited about this game. Maybe I'll get it depending on the price. ;)

Supremeist

#4

Supremeist said:

I'm definitely gonna get this one. Looks awesome. But I hope the price is right.. I have $5 in eShop and I'm gonna hope that is enough (Probably won't be, with $8 for Lets Golf.) But a kid can dream.

BulbasaurusRex

#7

BulbasaurusRex said:

Why is that none of these interviewed developers ever directly answer the question about what aspect of its online service Nintendo has improved and where they still need to improve? They always sound like politicians who are too afraid of ticking off Nintendo to directly give them any negative criticism.

What aspects, people? We want specific examples here! Someone needs to have the guts to answer the question something like this: "Their online service has improved by providing a more streamlined shop with a Wishlist, user reviews, and gameplay videos directly available. However, they need to improve further by providing a full list of the games available, releasing more demos, and allowing for developers to have temporary sales on their games."

Ren

#10

Ren said:

Reminds me a little of Chips Challenge on the lynx. That was a keeper. This should be a fun download.

RaylaxStaff

#11

Raylax said:

@8: Because when you're a little company reliant on a big one in order to sell your product, doing things that would damage relations is a bit of a bad idea. Unscheduled-cancellation-oh-my

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