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Exclusive: Opposable Games On Bringing Second-Screen Tactical Action To The Wii U With Salvaged

Posted by Damien McFerran

"Wii U is the perfect fit for the game"

UK-based indie studio Opposable Games has just confirmed that it is planning to bring its unique real time, second-screen strategy title Salvaged to the Wii U eShop, should the game successfully reach its Kickstarter goal of $125,000.

We caught up with Design Director James Parker to chat about the influences behind the game, the potential of Wii U and how the studio is pushing the concept of second-screen gaming in exciting new directions.

Nintendo Life: Can you give us a little information on the talent behind Opposable Games?

James Parker: Opposable Games is a combination of experienced console and mobile game developers. On the art side we have 3D artists, illustrators, and UI/UX experts all rubbing shoulders, so it’s a really great mix. In a lot of ways it’s the perfect blend for making a game like Salvaged which requires so many different skills to come together.

Nintendo Life: James Cameron's Aliens is clearly a big influence on the game's setting; what key moments, situations or emotions from the movie are you hoping to emulate here?

James Parker: The big moment for us has always been the scene where Gorman is leading the marines from the safety of the command vehicle and they first encounter the xenomorphs. The tension created by Gorman’s lack of control, the instinct and composure that Ripley brings to the situation and the limited information that everyone gets from the helmet cams all combine to allow the viewer to experience that dichotomy of control and chaos that runs through the scene.

Nintendo Life: Have you been influenced by other things, be they books, games or films?

James Parker: Gameplay wise, our big influences are classic '90s Amiga and PC games: obvious things like Captive, Space Hulk and Hired Guns right through to things like Syndicate, the original XCOM and Rainbow 6. But then we’re also huge fans of games like Frozen Synapse and the up-to-date XCOM; structurally things like FTL: Faster Than Light and Spelunky are big influences. Visually, we're going with classic sci-fi: grimy corridors, gleaning space marines and vicious looking aliens.

Nintendo Life: Can you give us a rundown of the story behind Salvaged? What's the premise behind your team boarding these massive, wrecked space ships?

James Parker: In the game you play as the commander of a Remote Interstellar Salvage Crew – you are hired by corporations to discover how and why their ships became lost out in space. You're responsible for getting the black boxes of those ships back and in return you can keep whatever else you can salvage from the ship while you're in there. The idea is that you're one of many rival salvage crews all operating in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, and with a randomly selected crew and procedurally generated wrecks to explore, the story of the game is very much your own.

Nintendo Life: What will be your main responsibilities as the commander of the squad?

James Parker: You’re responsible for making all the strategic decision between missions, what you spend you salvage money on, which crew you take into a mission and how you equip them. Then when you go into game, you’re the tactical one; you tell your team members where to go and explore and how to work together.

Nintendo Life: Although the game is presented in real time, you have no direct control over your team. Are you worried that this might put shooter fans off?

James Parker: I think pure shooter fans are already quite well serviced by the games industry! What we're hoping to do is pull some of those people over to a more tactical game by using similar shared visual language to an FPS and a really clear and streamlined interface. We think we can give a deep and strategic experience to all players but show it off in a new way that makes it really exciting, and actually is built around doing something that no particular genre has ever really done before.

Nintendo Life: How smart are the squad members? Will you have to constantly monitor them, or are they clever enough to know how to react in certain situations?

James Parker: They will do a certain amount on their own; unless told otherwise, they will pick targets and shoot and they will try not to get killed. But it’s your job to make sure you don't put them in situations where they will get in trouble, and the more you interact the more effective they will be.

Nintendo Life: Can you tell us a little about "Focus Time"?

James Parker: Focus time is a way to give the player a little bit of breathing space. As you play you'll build up focus time, which you can use to slow down all the action so you can issue orders and check out the situation if things get hectic. You'll only have a certain amount so you'll need to use it wisely.

Nintendo Life: You've mentioned that the game will feature randomly generated levels and teams — how will you maintain the narrative given these random elements?

James Parker: There will be particular story strands that you can pick up as you play through the game — these will be in the form of text or audio downloads which give you information about where to go next to discover more about that particular strand. These are kind of optional side missions though, you can chose to ignore them and make the whole story about you and your actions.

Nintendo Life: Aliens present one threat, but will you also be facing off against other salvage teams in the game? Will we see multiplayer modes, with two players pitting their own teams against one another?

James Parker: There is always the possibility that you'll encounter another RISC team looking for the exact same black box as you, and they will be as organised and well equipped as you so will prove a dangerous threat. Multiplayer is something that we're really keen on adding, but it might have to wait until a future update.

Nintendo Life: The unique dual-screen play is perfectly suited for the Wii U. Are you excited about working with a console which has this type of second-screen functionality built-in, rather than having to rely on additional hardware, such as a phone or tablet?

James Parker: Absolutely, the Wii U is the perfect fit for the game — not only in terms of having the hardware capability to deal with the game but also having an audience who already understand second-screen gameplay.

Nintendo Life: What has it been like coding the game in Unity? What advantages does it offer?

James Parker: Unity is a really great development environment for a team like ours — it means everyone can work together using the same tools, and we can be really flexible in how we develop the game. It also deals with most of the heavy lifting when it comes to creating multi-platform (and indeed cross-platform) games like ours.

Nintendo Life: The second-screen powers of the Wii U have arguably been underused by many developers, Nintendo included. As a team which is working with this type of play, do you have any thoughts on why this is the case? Is it hard to fit second-screen play into a lot of games?

James Parker: I think there’s two things: firstly multi-screen play really has got to be designed in from the ground up rather than an afterthought, because otherwise it’s never going to be an integral part of the experience. And secondly it’s actually quite a difficult thing to design for; you need to understand how the player is going to be reacting and interacting with both screens and you need to make sure both really need to be contributing to making the game better. I think we're in early days with these types of games and both developers and customers are finding their way a bit.

Nintendo Life: Have you had chance to mess about with the Wii U from a developer's perspective yet? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

James Parker: Unfortunately under the terms of the Nintendo NDA, we're not allowed to talk about what it’s like to develop on the Wii U or specifics about the hardware or performance. Sorry!

Nintendo Life: Finally, when Salvaged is complete will you be looking to create more second-screen experiences?

James Parker: Absolutely, second-screen and multi-screen play is very much what Opposable Games does, and we're learning new lessons every day that we will be putting into Salvaged and indeed whatever comes next.


Thanks to James Parker for taking the time to speak with us, and to Natalie Griffith of Press Space PR for arranging this interview.

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User Comments (49)

ToniK

#2

ToniK said:

Awesome idea! Hope it happens. That is exactly something I'd want to play.

FX102A

#3

FX102A said:

Finally someone sees the potential to use the Gamepad for tactical input in games. This was one of the first things that came to mind, especially since these days it isn't uncommon to see Infantry squads in several militaries using tablets and similar devices in the fields. I'll check out the Kickstarter tonight and if I like what I see, I'll put the cash down.

Nintenjoe64

#5

Nintenjoe64 said:

Don't want to get carried away but this is exactly what I was hoping people would make for Wii U.

Does the Nintendo NDA prevent developers from saying 'it's good to develop on Wii U'?

arkady77

#6

arkady77 said:

i thought i must have had false memories of Hired Guns but here someone else says they played it too. this is going to be grand

Razzle

#7

Razzle said:

I just backed this (it's $25 for the the WiiU potion) And am hoping heaps of other WiiU owners get behind this. It sounds unique and cool.

smikey

#8

smikey said:

wasn't planning on backing anymore kickstarters for a while but i'm definitely backing this one looks great to me.

Gerbwmu

#9

Gerbwmu said:

Sounds like an interesting idea. I'm going to keep on eye on the kickstarter. Maybe I'll back it if it is just under the goal going into the final hours.

XCWarrior

#10

XCWarrior said:

6-digit target Kickstarter goal. Going to be a long shot, just ask the guys over at Renegade Kid. Sounds like a fun game concept though.

rjejr

#12

rjejr said:

"Exclusive: Opposable Games On Bringing Second-Screen Tactical Action To The Wii U With Salvaged"

"Absolutely, the Wii U is the perfect fit for the game"
"should the game successfully reach its Kickstarter goal of $125,000"

I understand doing this interview is good advertisement for reaching it's goal, we all know Wii U could use a few more games, but I'll come back and read the rest of the interview if and when it reaches its goal.

OK, I feel the title was a bit misleading, they aren't bringing the game to Wii U, despite it being perfect for it, they are bringing it to Kickstarter in the hopes of bringing it to Wii U. Maybe:

""Exclusive: Opposable Games On Trying to Bring another Kickstarter Game To The Wii U With Salvaged""

Gerbwmu

#14

Gerbwmu said:

@rjejr - I agree with your thoughts on this one. I would have read the article anyway, but the headline made me think this was a done deal.

Emblem

#15

Emblem said:

Only 16days left and we are only hearing about it now? I don't think they are going make their goal considering how little they have now.

I really want this game to be made but they need a lot more visibility and exposure to reach such a high goal.

Nintenjoe64

#16

Nintenjoe64 said:

@rjejr @MoonKnight7 @Gerbwmu
Salvage did tweet "BIG NEWS NINTENDO FANS! We're bringing Salvaged to the Wii U, woop! Here's James talking about it to Nintendolife"

So hopefully their confidence it will happen isn't misguided

Kaze_Memaryu

#17

Kaze_Memaryu said:

Judging from the artwork and samples, this could become one awesome RTS with huge online potential! These guys know their stuff, and I really wanna see it come over!

Captain_Gonru

#19

Captain_Gonru said:

Probably not only a day one buy, but maybe the first game I actually fund. Where's the Battalion Wars like this, Nintendo?

DamoAdmin

#20

Damo said:

@rjejr Just because a game doesn't get funded on KS doesn't mean it won't ever happen.

rjejr

#21

rjejr said:

@Damo - Sorry Damo, didn't mean to get your Knickers in a bunch. I think I'm suffering from a combination of the Wii U drought (which finally ends w/ CoL and the arrival of May and the indies and MK8) and Kickstarter fatigue.

Any word from NOA on an MK8 bundle? I know that's off topic but TOP STORIES has the UK bundle story directly in my line of sight. TW updated for the Aussies getting it but not NA.

rjejr

#22

rjejr said:

@Nintenjoe64 - Thanks joe. Was that Tweet linked in the article somewhere, it does make all the difference when the company Tweets something like that. Wait, I'm guessing they tweeted that after Damo posted the article since its linked to the 3 hour old article and it's a 1 hour old tweet. I'm having a Spaceballs moment.

rjejr

#24

rjejr said:

@Gerbwmu @MoonKnight7 - I'm blaming you two for Damo being mad at me ;-)

I'ld like to take this opportunity to point out that this isn't a "Stretch" kickstarter goal like some Wii U goals, some high number that is never going to be reached, but Opposable Games seems to have only 1 goal that includes Wii U among the other platforms, so that's nice.

Gerbwmu

#25

Gerbwmu said:

@rjejr - apparently he never read the Terms of Service for Kickstarter that state all non funded projects are required to be buried and forgotten in a land fill in New Mexico next to E.T.

Gerbwmu

#26

Gerbwmu said:

@rjejr - I also like that you can get an eShop code for the Wii U version as one of the rewards.......There have been a few other kickstarter projects I didn't back because it didn't have a Wii U option for the game reward tier.

Sean_Aaron

#27

Sean_Aaron said:

I'm still hooked on XCOM for iOS so no question this kind of thing appeals. Just bring it on over!

Kroisos

#28

Kroisos said:

Now that they've officially announced that Wii U is part of the initial target, I'll have to take a closer look at this project. Sadly, I've got a Kickstarter closing in a few days that will be about $500k short, so I'll have the money.

Dark-Link73

#29

Dark-Link73 said:

"Unfortunately under the terms of the Nintendo NDA, we're not allowed to talk about what it’s like to develop on the Wii U or specifics about the hardware or performance. Sorry!"

Ok, I understand Nintendo wanting to keep a secret the official performance specs in order to show that higher raw power is not always positively correlated to better graphics, but also putting a gag order in effect on the experience of developing for the U? This makes me think that, developing wise, the Wii U is the N64 all over again.

TheRealThanos

#31

TheRealThanos said:

@FX102A Actually, Ubisoft was the first, but they cancelled the game. Remember Ghost Recon Online from E3 2011?
trailer:

and show floor gameplay:

maneauleau

#32

maneauleau said:

I wanted to keep my adblock disabled for your site but then I get a sex pop-up (in the netherlands) and it's only happening with your site so no it's not my computer.

markybbop

#35

markybbop said:

just wish if they get the green light they give the game better detailing graphics as this could in my eyes be potentially big

sinalefa

#36

sinalefa said:

@rjejr

So I reckon you did not pick up NES Remix 2? And actually the drought ended with SMB3, apparently an event more important than the second coming of Christ.

(hoping I don't pull a Lennon with that comment)

midnafanboy

#37

midnafanboy said:

@TheRealThanos Woah they cancelled that game? I though it was put off for watch dogs that's sad even sadder than ubisoft cancelling brothers in arms furious 4.

JaxonH

#38

JaxonH said:

@rjejr

I'm pledging! You should help spread the word to others who will pledge! I really, really want to see this project backed, but it's gonna take a united fanbase behind it to make it happen.

EDIT: Backed! $25 for the home team... let's see this game through to the end! People say they want cool games like this on Wii U- this is how we get them. I encourage anyone remotely interested in Salvaged to pledge. If the goal isn't hit then you're not charged, so it's win-win really. Only 15 days left to raise 109k. Let's do this!

JaxonH

#39

JaxonH said:

@Dark-Link73

Devs can talk about their experience during development all they want. However, divulging specifics breaches their contract. This goes for all platforms, not just Wii U or Nintendo. It's proprietary information. It's not just to keep a secret about power. There are thousands of copycat manufacturers in China and Hong Kong that would LOVE to learn the intricacies of a major platform so they can build a knockoff version that runs official games. It happens all the time. Even now, knock-off Wii's are rampant in the east. It's very important to Nintendo (and Sony/MS) to keep their specs under confidentiality.

brandonbwii

#40

brandonbwii said:

Looking at the first trailer I thought of it as an early and ugly build of a traditional FPS, or at least one of the Borderlands variety. Once I watched the video it all became clear though. This game is unlike anything I've seen or heard of before.

Action51

#41

Action51 said:

I like the idea of a second screen tactical shooter...I just wish the battles were in some kind of turn based or quasi-turn based mode.

Real time battles in a front perspective view with four commandos might feel rushed and messy.

Still, looks very ambitious and very interesting...Nintendo should just fund this thing to get it on the system or publish it themselves. They could use more games that really take advantage of the gamepad's unique features and make this into a franchise.

rjejr

#42

rjejr said:

@sinalefa - "So I reckon you did not pick up NES Remix 2?"

You reckon correctly. I'm not much of a retro gamer - though I am sooo addicted to Advance Wars. They really should release a tablet version for $4.99. Or better yet a Wii U version. And why doesn't 3DS have a new Advance Wars game?

I don't like 2D Mario games. I'm still stuck at the 1st castle in SMW. I might buy an updated HD Sunshine $20. That game was so purty for it's time.

rjejr

#43

rjejr said:

@JaxonH - If I start pledging money to fund vdeogame development my wife's going to kick me out and I'm going to have to come live w/ you, and neither of us wants that. ;-)

And to be quit honest, I have ZERO interest in this game. Way too brown for my liking, hearkens me back to Quake 2 and the like.

JaxonH

#44

JaxonH said:

@rjejr

hahaha... I told myself Mighty No 9 was the only game I'd ever fund, but I find myself backing more and more games nowadays. I tell myself "Well, there's a slim chance it'll hit it's goal, so I'll give $15 on the off chance it makes it". And if it does, well, I got a free copy of the game coming, which I probably would have bought anyways since I was interested enough to back it ya know? Guess it all just boils down to making sure it's a game you know you want.

sinalefa

#45

sinalefa said:

@rjejr

I see. I do enjoy some of them. Not a fan of Kid Icarus, but I still got Remix 2.

About Mario games, I prefer 3D games too, but 3 and World are still masterpieces and I love them to bits. And I hope AW makes it to a modern system, as it is overdue and I have no idea what Intelligent Systems is working on now anyway.

sinalefa

#46

sinalefa said:

@JaxonH

I like to fund games if they are feasible. Hex Heroes was a nice surprise, but deep down inside I see things like this or Cult County don't stand a chance to reach their goals.

All of the games I have supported have made it (Mighty No. 9, Shantae, Hex and Lobodestroyo) and I plan to get others that made it without me (Shovel Knight, Cosmochoria, Twisted Fusion), so there is a balance to what my wallet can take at a time.

TheRealThanos

#47

TheRealThanos said:

@midnafanboy Yep, unfortunately they did. I'm still pissed off about it because the show floor demo looked really intriguing which is why I also posted that clip. Just imagine using the GamePad to control drones and rain hell on your unsuspecting enemies...

midnafanboy

#48

midnafanboy said:

@TheRealThanos I know so many possibilities with the game pad you know im just going to say i would rather have that game then the so called work in progress wiiu version of watch dogs.

TheRealThanos

#49

TheRealThanos said:

@midnafanboy Tell me about it. And you only have to watch the two clips to see what kind of Game Pad controls they had already been experimenting with for this game. It seemed like it was well on it's way to be a completed game, which is why it irritated me so much that they still canned it in the end.

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