Developer Interview: keen games Talk About TNT Racers: Nitro Machines Edition And The eShop Difference
Posted by Andy Green
Start your engines
TNT Racers: Nitro Machines Edition is a high octane battle racing game developed by German studio keen games. It draws on inspiration from classic titles like Micro Machines and features an isometric viewpoint with all drivers competing on the same screen.
Previously released on WiiWare, this updated version on Wii U crams in plenty of extra content and now boasts 26 race tracks, 75 challenges, 16 cars types and seven game modes for people to play through.
Naturally, multiplayer is a big feature and should drivers lag behind too much they will be eliminated from the race, although they can still influence proceedings in shadow mode by setting up traps and harassing other players.
TNT Racers: Nitro Machines Edition has drifted onto the Wii U eShop in Europe today and is scheduled to appear on the starting grid on 26th September in North America.
We spoke to Thorsten Röpke, producer at keen games, about what it's been like to develop for Wii U compared to WiiWare, the features you'll find in the game and the possibility of a 3DS adaptation.
Nintendo Life: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. TNT Racers: Nitro Machines Edition is a self published title, how have you found the process? Has Nintendo offered its support during the project?
Thorsten Röpke: It was exciting for us to learn about the publishing process from a developer's point of view. Nintendo gave us a lot of help and support throughout the whole process.
NL: How has it been developing for the Wii U eShop, compared to how WiiWare was for the original?
Thorsten Röpke: When we were developing for WiiWare we sometimes got the feeling that the platform was not really finished. It offered only basic support for developers. But it seems that Nintendo has really listened to developers and publishers to create a system that is fun to work with.
It seems that Nintendo has really listened to developers and publishers to create a system that is fun to work with.
NL: What have been the main influences for TNT Racers? It carries a Micro Machines vibe but are there any other inspirations?
Thorsten Röpke: Beginning from R.C. Pro AM, Micro Machines, Rock 'n’ Roll Racing, Twisted Metal, Mashed and Mario Kart we were influenced by all kinds of fun racers – it's just a genre that we all love to play. It was kind of inevitable that someday we would create our own fun-racing game.
NL: In terms of the vehicles on offer, will all cars drive differently?
Thorsten Röpke: Cars have the same physics and basic settings. This is because of the game rules – the camera view defines who gets kicked out of the race. If, for example, the bigger cars had a slower acceleration than the smaller ones, they would be at a disadvantage and always get kicked out first. However, playing the game with a UFO will still feel completely different. In testing, we found all players tend to have a preferred car.
NL: TNT Racers is arguably at its most fun when being played with more than one person, has the focus for Nitro Machines Edition been on the multiplayer aspect?
Thorsten Röpke: Well, yes and no. The game has a strong focus on multiplayer, so there are some new features like different multiplayer tournaments, but there are a lot of cool single player challenges too – so even if you have no one to join you for a race, you can enjoy the game by progressing through the single player challenges and compare your online rankings with other players worldwide.
NL: Does online multiplayer feature in this iteration?
Thorsten Röpke: TNT Racers is really strong when it comes to local multiplayer. You will have so much fun playing together with three friends together in one room. We wanted to strengthen this feature, so during the development we focused completely on the local multiplayer.
NL: In the first game players could influence the action even when they were eliminated using Shadow Mode, does this play in the same style in the new version or has it been tweaked?
Thorsten Röpke: The Shadow Mode was a feature that fans really liked, so we obviously kept it within the game. Players who prefer the "sudden death" style can still deactivate it if they want to.
NL: Nitro Machines Edition has really ramped up the challenges in the game, with 75 now available. What sort of challenges have been added?
Thorsten Röpke: The new challenges include two speed classes – "Drift" and "Formula TNT". While drift challenges focus on handling the cars with extreme drift-behaviour the formula TNT challenges are for the speed freaks. Every challenge has its own leader board, so we hope that lots of players will be trying to create new high scores in the online rankings.
NL: What elements can be customized when playing in Custom Mode?
Thorsten Röpke: Nearly everything - winning conditions, speed classes, weather types, AI difficulty, car colours, control schemes, etc. If players just want to have one sort of pick up in the whole race, they just can adjust that in the configuration settings.
NL: Which controller methods will be available? Will the Wii Remote and Pro Controller be supported?
Thorsten Röpke: Yes. The game supports four different controls/control schemes: the GamePad, the Pro Controller, the Wii Remote (plus) and Wii remote + Nunchuck.
NL: What are your thoughts on the Wii U GamePad, what has it been like to work with?
Thorsten Röpke: We love the Wii U GamePad and its possibilities. Nintendo Land especially showed us various possibilities of using the GamePad in so many innovative ways. One of the first things we decided was to create a completely new touch-input interface for the game, so even browsing through all the game menus is kind of fun and much more intuitive.
NL: Does the game support off-TV play?
Thorsten Röpke: Yes. When playing single player you have a complete mirror image of the TV on the Gamepad. So you can play the whole game just on the Wii U GamePad.
The 3DS is a great console, if TNT Racers is successful on Wii U we certainly will evaluate the possibility to bring the game to 3DS.
NL: TNT Racers on WiiWare had some additional downloadable content that could be purchased, will Nitro Machines Edition have any, or will everything already be included?
Thorsten Röpke: When we started to develop TNT Racers for Wii U we decided that we wanted to create the biggest and best version so far. Everyone should have the full experience directly after the download, without having to purchase extra packages.
As a side-effect this also smoothed the development process for us, and we had a little extra time to polish and to implement a new game mode. In short, yes, everything is included in the initial package.
NL: And finally, you have created a few titles for the Nintendo DS in the past, do you have any plans to support 3DS in the future?
Thorsten Röpke: The 3DS is a great console, if TNT Racers is successful on Wii U we certainly will evaluate the possibility to bring the game to 3DS.
We'd like to thank Thorsten Röpke for taking the time to talk to us. TNT Racers: Nitro Machines Edition is available to download right now from the Wii U eShop in Europe for €7.99/ £6.99. North America will be able to take to the track on 26th September.