Feature: A Year in Development - Shin'en Multimedia
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Life in the FAST lane
In our third Year in Development feature we have a guest article from Shin'en Multimedia's Manfred Linzner. The eShop developer has, over a number of years, forged a reputation for developing high-quality, polished games on Nintendo's download platforms. In this article Linzner summarises the studio's 2013, including surprise success in Japan and an explanation of the studio's continuing loyalty to Nintendo's platforms.
2013 was a busy year for Shin'en. We released three games on the 3DS eShop.
Namely Nano Assault EX, Art of Balance TOUCH (for Japan) and Jett Rocket 2 just a few weeks back. In the meantime we also worked hard on FAST Racing Neo for Wii U and on another so far unannounced Wii U title.
First of all we were quite happy that people liked Nano Assault EX because we were unsure if such a large game without a big brand name would do well on the eShop. Last week we also released a demo for it. It seems like people really love the demo because sales have had a nice boost since then.
Another surprise was the Art of Balance TOUCH launch in Japan. The game was quite successful in the EU and the US but the exceptional sales in Japan were unexpected. Kudos to Arc System Works, who published the game there!
On Wii U we invested this year quite a lot of time to make sure to get the best possible results for our upcoming games. We had a great start with Nano Assault Neo, but felt there is much more to achieve on Wii U. It was therefore quite interesting to see how the first games on PS4 and Xbox One looked and played in comparison to our current Wii U developments.
The last thing this year we worked on was a patch for Jett Rocket 2. We got a lot of positive feedback on the game but also some comments that the overall pace of the main character was a bit slow. We worked on that and improved a few other things; we hope people will like the update.
Working on Wii U and 3DS at the same time has had its own share of challenges. For more than 20 games we've used the same engine, and that for very different consoles and handhelds like the DS, the Wii or now the 3DS and Wii U. These platforms have not much in common, and we always look at how to maximize a platform's potential. Also our engine is not bound to a specific type of game. So we have to abstract our interfaces on a very high level, while still allowing to dig as deep as possible into the hardware for each game. I don't think there is any other company that supports radically different platforms in a highly optimized engine, and maybe it's a bit mad that we put such a lot of effort into it. However, we feel like many people appreciate that we go that extra mile for our games.
A common question from interviewers and fans is why we've worked for so long exclusively on Nintendo hardware. It simply came naturally because we got inspired by Nintendo's hardware over the years and we love the unrestricted concept of the eShop. However, we are always open to make our games approachable for more people if it makes sense for us. This means if we have freedom in development and a platform that inspires us to create something great.
Thats it from Shin'en for 2013. Thanks for all your loyal support over the year; we are really excited to show you guys our new Wii U games in 2014.
We'd like to thank Manfred Linzner for this article.