UK-based Curve Studios is the name behind the Hyrdroventure / Fluidity series and the recent Wii U exclusive Stealth Inc 2, and has also broadened its business by moving into publishing -- Thomas Was Alone , The Swapper and Last Survior were all published by the firm on the Wii U eShop.
The company has a long tradition of working with Nintendo, and in the latest issue of EDGE magazine, Curve's Design Director Jonathan Biddle and Technical Director Richie Turner spoke about what it's like working with the Japanese veteran, as well as chances for future instalments in the Hydroventure franchise.
Biddle explains that the origin of the series came from a very simple concept, but the initial meeting with Nintendo didn't exactly fill him with confidence:
We had this idea for a game about water. We sat down with [Nintendo] and pitched a few things, and we didn't think they'd liked any of them; they were quite po-faced about it, probably because they'd been
sat in a room for a week listening to pitch after pitch.
However, Biddle reveals that Nintendo did in fact get back in touch, and were keen to create a prototype for the title -- or "experiment" as the company called it. Biddle would later find out that this was a very rare event, at least as far as Nintendo was concerned:
Not very many things get through that wringer. So we were amazed to get that, and we spent six months looking at the tech and the water physics to see if Wii could run it, if the motion-control system could work, and whether the idea actually had any legs.
Turner reveals that working with Nintendo on the WiiWare title was an incredible valuable experience:
The criticisms they give you on the whole process are like gold dust. When they say less of this or more of this, you pay attention. All the platform holders have got their game evangelists and design guys who give very valid feedback, but when you're talking to Nintendo, you're only a couple of steps removed from the likes of Miyamoto.
Other feedback wasn't quite as positive, but as Biddle explains, it did contribute to making the game better:
Iwata couldn't stand to watch the WiiWare demo because it made him really ill. He suffered from simulation sickness, so he literally couldn't watch the game that he was signing off on.
Due to Iwata's problem, Curve tinkered with the game's camera to avoid the issue, thereby saving other players from similar queasiness.
Despite this fine-tuning, Hydroventure was not a commercial success -- hardly a shock given the torrid state of WiiWare -- but Nintendo nevertheless commissioned a sequel on the 3DS. Another critical success, Hydroventure: Spin Cycle sold well by Curve's standards -- according to Turner -- but not Nintendo's. Biddle explains that while Curve is keen to work on the brand again, the ball is very much in Nintendo's court, as it own the IP:
We'd love to go back, but the budget would be significantly more for Wii U. We've had discussions, but the last pitch was a while ago now.
We'd personally love to see another entry in this underrated series -- what about you? Post a comment to tell us.