A few months ago Xander Davis, an independent developer and the man behind studio Astrogun, published a blog entry where he did a u-turn and became a Wii U believer; his hands-on experience after buying the system changed his opinion, after he'd harshly dismissed its credentials in 2012. It was a victory for the hardware's concept and also for the Wii U eShop publishing model, as he also praised the supportive, open nature of the platform.
Shortly after professing his positive feelings for the Wii U Davis confirmed that Astrogun's next major project, codenamed CIDER will be brought to the Wii U eShop as well as other platforms. Early footage and a description of "Zelda on crack" set the tone in terms of its sources of inspiration, and in a detailed interview to be published in full later today on Nintendo Life, Davis confirms the main sources of inspiration and, importantly, the feeling he seeks to recreate with his own game.
Project CIDER is in many ways my next-gen cover song and remix of Chrono Trigger and Zelda: A Link to the Past. It was important for me to capture that childhood sense of wonder I had when playing those games growing up. I played my heart out of A Link to the Past during a summer between school years, and have kept playing it ever since. When I saw Chrono Trigger in Nintendo Power for the first time, it immediately captured me. There was the picture of Crono in a flying time machine with a girlfriend and his anthropomorphic frog pal. I mean, what's not to get here?! It was immediately awesome.
We were cancelled from school that month due to massive snow up in the Midwest, where I grew up. Instead of staying in, I grabbed my snow suit and a shovel and I trudged door to door asking to shovel driveways. By sundown, I came back with my face half-frozen, frost in my eye brows, my mitten fist clenching enough cash to ask my parents to drive me to the store so I could buy Chrono Trigger. It's that. That's what I'm trying to hone in on and infuse into Project CIDER. What was it about those games that got me so into their worlds and their sense of adventure? How did it capture wonder so well? Why is it that, years and years later, these are still my favorite games of all time? I realize it's incredibly ambitious to try to make my own kind of Chrono Trigger or A Link to the Past, foolish even, but game development takes so much time and dedication, it might as well have a foundation in something you have that much passion for.
Davis also highlighted to us that, though the positive publishing policies of the Wii U eShop were often lost in a lot of noise in 2012, he believes that Nintendo showed a keen insight with its supportive platform.
I don't see it as a coincidence that both Microsoft and Sony have seemed to match what Nintendo has offered to indies, and Nintendo deserves a lot of credit here for extending such an olive branch, to have that kind of insight. Nintendo's terms and programs are phenomenal. The only thing that's missing is that all consumer consoles should be firmware-updatable to become devkits for free. I actually tweeted that Microsoft has to do this after a damning Edge cover over the Xbox One vs. the PS4 was unveiled earlier this year. After Mattrick left, they did exactly that. Not that they're listening to us, or maybe they finally are. Maybe they now see how listening is actually important. But it's so obvious a thing to do, since iOS, I think all console holders should be doing it.
In the end, the fact that all three major console holders have open arms to indies now is really a correct identification of where the industry is moving anyway, that it's turning inside out. After E3, it seems Microsoft especially did an about-face on their indie policies, full-stop. Sony perhaps best set the tone for how important indies are going to be in the new generation at E3 this year, and now it seems all three of them have begun to generally offer the same kinds of programs and terms. To me, it always seemed inevitable, but to be honest, I'm a little surprised it happened so quickly with enormous companies like these. It's a good sign these kinds of things are happening.
Let us know what you think of Davis' comments below, and be sure to check back for the full interview later today where we discuss broader ambitions for Astrogun, the increasing role of Indie developers and more.