Toki Tori 2 was one of the first titles confirmed for the Wii U eShop, even before it was officially confirmed to be called the eShop. Though it arrived outside of the launch window, that was due to the development team opting to improve key elements that weren't up to the studio's standards ahead of a planned December release.
It's a title far removed from the original, as it opens up into much larger stages within a wider world, while items make way to interactions with wildlife throughout each area. It's also a title that resolutely refuses to guide the player, encouraging experimentation and observation,
Though a successful experiment, the hands-off approach was divisive enough to prompt Two Tribes to work on an update, tweaking the mechanics and visual cues to help players along. As the title took 18 months to deliver, with more still to come in a major second update, we caught up with Martijn Reuvers to get his views on the title's reception now that it's had a bit of a run at the Wii U eShop, and to find out about the studio's future plans for Nintendo systems.
Nintendo Life: First of all, what was your overriding emotion when Toki Tori 2 was finally released?
Martijn Reuvers: Happiness and relief! We celebrated its release with a big party over here at the office, consuming way too much alcohol!
NL: From a business standpoint, how has it performed on the Wii U eShop?
MR: It's been okay.
NL: How about gamer's reactions? How would you categorise them so far?
MR: Positive! A lot of people embrace the things that we tried to accomplish (no text; no handholding, explore and be creative!).
NL: On that topic, a bit of a focus in some reviews, including ours, was on the hands-off approach of the game's structure. How happy have you been with feedback on that design approach?
MR: Some players, including yourself(!), felt we took that design philosophy a bit too far. So they ended up asking themselves what to do next. Of course we don't want people to wander around aimlessly, so we listened to you, Miiverse and various other reviews and tweaked the game a bit in a small update which has just been released.
Immediately when we announced the tweaks, there were a lot of people on Miiverse and our website that begged us not to change anything about the design; they absolutely loved it the way it was. So it's funny to see the difference in how people approach a game like this. And it's this difference that we see in various reviews as well.
NL: Has feedback on those areas changed since the tweaks in the recent update?
MR: I'd say yes! We see far less requests for help on those puzzles we tweaked. And luckily we didn't see any complaints about those tweaks either.
NL: Has Miiverse played a useful role in gauging gamer opinion?
MR: Most definitely. Especially during the first few weeks there was a lot going on on Miiverse, which helped us enormously to get valuable feedback from the people playing the game. What did they understand? What didn't they understand? Where did they get stuck? What did they like/dislike? Knowledge like that is extremely valuable. And what is also a brilliant move from Nintendo is the fact that it is so easy to attach a screenshot. Got stuck? Simply post a screenshot on Miiverse and ask for help, and voila there is always someone that's giving you a helping hand.
So summing up, Miiverse is awesome! I'm on Miiverse every day! So if you have a question/suggestion, don't hesitate to ask me! My Nintendo ID is "mreuvers".
NL: We know that another big update is in the works, can you confirm how that's progressing and what it'll include? We suspect many are wondering about the level editor...
MR: The next update will contain more gameplay tweaks, a LOT more awesome graphics, musical additions and the biggest one: a level editor! Levels will most probably be shared through Miiverse. We're also investigating another way to share levels, but that is still highly top secret stuff.
And the best news is: the update is free!
Potentially the update will also feature additional controller support. But we could also decide to save that for yet another update.
So that's a lot to chew on. I guess your next question would be: WHEN? Unfortunately I can't disclose any dates now, simply because I don't know that at the moment. But... it will most probably be end of Q3 2013, early Q4. We need to ship the Steam (PC) version first.
NL: You've previously spoken to us in positive terms about working with Nintendo, but how have you found the update process on the eShop?
MR: Perfect! Nintendo took the time to properly test it, which is a good thing as they want to make sure no game full of bugs (see App Store) is released on their platform. I think the whole process took two weeks, which is perfectly acceptable for us.
NL: We know that Toki Tori 2 is also coming to PC, but are you keen to continue working on Nintendo systems?
MR: We have been working on Nintendo systems for over a decade, so yes we will definitely continue to work with them.
NL: Are you able to discuss what's coming next to 3DS or Wii U, either new projects or potentially ports of other games from your library?
MR: For now, we'll remain focused on Toki Tori 2 for at least this year. We need to release and support a Steam version and update the Wii U version as well. This will probably consume a big chunk of this year.
Apart from Toki Tori 2, we're also planning on bringing our vintage titles, Toki Tori, EDGE and RUSH to the Wii U as well. And we're in the talks with another developer to bring EDGE to the 3DS as well. But nothing is solid at this point.
As a side project we're also exploring the possibilities to release Toki Tori plushies. Throughout the years, we've received numerous requests for that, so it would be nice if we could finally find a way to do that. More on that soon!
NL: And finally, what are your hopes for Toki Tori 2 over the rest of the year?
MR: Sell a million! That would be nice of course, but to be more realistic: I hope that by the end of the year, a lot of people will at least know the game and will hopefully appreciate what we've made.
We'd like to thank Martijn Reuvers for his time. Two Tribes has also just published a blog post detailing the amount of work that went into the Toki Tori 2 launch trailer, so you can check that out here.