Affordable Space Adventures arrives in the eShop today in both North America and Europe, a Wii U exclusive that makes impressive use of the GamePad and suits either solo play or co-op for three players. It's a unique arrival in various ways, and we were full of praise for it in our Affordable Space Adventures review.
Not long ago we invited you to submit questions for a Community Interview with KnapNok Games and Nifflas, and with the release upon us now seems like a good time to share those answers. Those behind the game have pitched in to give you answers from the top - tackling your questions are Dajana Dimovska (CEO), Lau Korsgaard (Creative Director), Nicklas Nygren (Game Director - Nifflas' Games) and Anchel Labena (Project Manager & PR).
Without further ado, below is your interview with KnapNok Games and Nifflas.
Why did you choose to call your game "Affordable Space Adventures" if it's priced in the upper range of indie titles on the eShop? To me, $20 for an indie title constitutes premium pricing. The name created the impression that it would be priced far cheaper and made me extra disappointed when I learned the real price. (@acc)
Lau Korsgaard: The game is called Affordable Space Adventures because the story is about exploring space in a cheap low quality spaceship. I am sorry if that has mislead some people into believing that the game itself is cheap and low quality, that has never been the goal. There are enough cheap games on the eShop, we wanted to try to make a premium high quality game.
The game has a main plot, but it's very simple, clear and minimal. I do however consider the emotional journey of the levels and what happens to the ship to be the main storyline.
Does the game have a storyline, and if so is it presented to the player or more so one that is conveyed subtly within the stages themselves? (@Tops)
Nicklas Nygren: The game has a main plot, but it's very simple, clear and minimal. I do however consider the emotional journey of the levels and what happens to the ship to be the main storyline, even if everyone maybe won't consider that a "real" plot or whatever. There's also a layer of more subtle stuff that we have put a lot of thought into (e.g. what is this place, and how does it work) that we aren't explicitly mentioning, but can be observed through the levels.
What is the replay value of the game like? Are there secrets to be discovered and new areas to explore, or is it more of a linear experience getting through the game's puzzles? (@dprquinn)
Nicklas Nygren: The game isn't designed to have a lot of replay value, but it may actually be really good for speedruns as many puzzles have obscure solutions that are way faster than the ones we intended in the first place.
Games that truly utilise the GamePad to full effect are few and far between, even Nintendo arguably haven't managed to improve on it since Nintendo Land. Was it fun developing a game with the GamePad in mind but do you think you have taken a risk by actually doing so? (@BrizzoUK)
Lau Korsgaard: Yes, this is a massive risk. The game can't really be ported to any other platform without considerable work. But all types of game making are risky; making something that looks like everything else out there is also a risk. So in the end of the day, I think it is actually safer trying to make something that appeals a lot to fewer people than something that tries to please everyone.
Is the GamePad absolutely necessary to the gameplay, and will the game be worthless without it, like ZombiU? Do you think the GamePad is awesome? (@Dumedum)
Lau Korsgaard: Yeah, the GamePad is absolutely necessary for the gameplay. I think, one thing we do, that ZombiU also does, is that the GamePad almost becomes a part of the fiction. In ZombiU, when you look down into your backpack you are mimicking the avatars body movement. It is not quite immersion - that experience of completely getting drawn into the universe forgetting the world around you - the direction goes the other way, the game fiction leaks out and becomes part of the reality around you. The same thing happens in Affordable Space Adventures, when you stress out about keeping an eye on the meters and systems on the GamePad while avoiding evil robots on the TV it very much feels like sitting with the device the pilots in the game are using.
Why did you decide to split the gameplay functions between players instead of having multiple ships? (@Link3710)
Lau Korsgaard: The GamePad is critical to the experience of controlling the spaceship, so as long as Nintendo only supports one GamePad per console we can't really implement multiple ships. Oh man, but imagine how cool it would be if it was possible to play with multiple GamePads…
Absolutely love the trailers, and I got my children looking forward to it as well. Do you think that with 3 players going at it, is one of them a little easier or not as necessary as the others? Not all of my children are incredible players, but I'd still like them to feel like they contribute (6 years old) (@Mikeopferman)
The GamePad is absolutely necessary for the gameplay. I think, one thing we do, that ZombiU also does, is that the GamePad almost becomes a part of the fiction.
Lau Korsgaard: Yes! We very much imagine people on different competence levels playing together. In a three player game, only the engineer with the GamePad really needs to understand all the complexities of the game, the pilot just flies around and the science officer looks around the environment with the flashlight. Experiment a bit, but I think that science officer or pilot should be doable for a 6 year old, maybe swap roles if you get to a tricky situation.
For Nifflas, any obscenities like the "F" bomb in the game? My kids were enjoying Knytt Underground before I banned them from playing it because the one character kept saying things that would get me banned on here if I typed them. (@rjejr)
Nicklas Nygren: Affordable Space Adventures has a much lower age rating and contains no language. That said, I don't think bad language should be such as big of an issue as it is, and that a PEGI-16 rating for the F-bomb is completely inappropriate. There are games with much more harmful content with way lower age ratings.
I would like to know about controller options for the multiplayer modes, and if this is successful will you consider future versions based on the universe but in different genres, for example Steamworld Dig vs Steamworld Heist? (@Gerbwmu)
Anchel Labena: The GamePad is a must no matter the number of players in the game. Someone needs to control and tweak all the different settings of the Small Craft. But when more players join in, they can use either the standard Wii Remote (with or without nunchuck) or the Wii U Pro Controller for the pilot. When there's three players though, the Science Officer needs to use a controller with an analogue stick, so either the Wii Remote with nunchuck or the Wii U Pro Controller will do. As for new games of different genres within the same universe… it's difficult to say at the moment. Let's just see how this game does sales-wise before considering anything else.
Ever considered amiibo support? Maybe via an update later? (@vonseux)
Anchel Labena: When amiibo were officially announced we were already past the stage in which we could implement them. Adding amiibo support to the game now would most likely feel like a tacked on addition, so we will only do this if we feel we can do something that truly adds value to the game.
Will you release a demo? I always love trying before buying. (@Portista)
Lau Korsgaard: We had a pretty good experience making a demo for Bumpie's Party, so it is something we will look into. But we need to figure out the best format. I'm not sure just letting the players play the first five levels will convey the experience of the full game because we are taking our time slowly introducing all the systems to the player.
We recommend people to take their time, read the manual, experiment with all the system and not just rush through it. The Miiverse integration we have done gives some incentives to play again but I really can't talk about it... It has to be experienced.
How tough is the game to beat and also 100%, from a difficulty perspective? (@MasterWario)
Lau Korsgaard: The game takes about 5-10 hours to play. We recommend people to take their time, read the manual, experiment with all the system and not just rush through it. The Miiverse integration we have done gives some incentives to play again but I really can't talk about it... It has to be experienced.
Will you please add collectibles and other useful tricks (time limits, survivor mode, new game+) to add replay value? (@andreoni79)
Lau Korsgaard: We would love to expand the universe and make more content, but it depends on the reception of the game. If people seems to like it we would love to make more, but the form is not yet decided.
If this game is successful, will you be staying with digital-only distribution, or might we see physical releases in the future? (@Captain_Gonru)
Dajana Dimovska: If the game sells well as a digital title we want to do physical release as well. We have already started talking about it with a publisher that can help us make that happen.
I read you were considering bringing this to 3DS. Any updates on that? (@radixxs)
Dajana Dimovska: We have already been considering making Affordable Space Adventures for 3DS with an indie studio experienced in 3DS development. However, the final decision will be made after we launch on April 9th.
Is Nifflas doing the soundtrack? If so, I'm on it day 1. How many tracks are in there, how many hours of music? (@SKTTR)
Nicklas Nygren: Harry Damm (D Fast, dfastmusic.net) is scoring the intro and cutscenes. He makes great music so be sure to check his stuff out! Sidsel Hermansen and I scored the game itself. The game's soundtrack is so minimal that one review says the game doesn't actually have music. However, a lot of the ship sound effects and ambiances follow set musical keys that matche the background music that sometimes appears in the game. It's designed to make the game always feel a bit musical, even when no music is playing. Maybe it'd make sense to make a soundtrack, though it'd be very ambient and much shorter than the soundtrack from a lot of my other games. However, even though there's much less music in Affordable Space Adventures than usual, the focus on sound effects is much greater than in my other games. Just the spaceship itself has more audio layers playing to make the ship engines and systems come alive than my previous games even supported.
How many people were involved with development on a weekly basis? (@Pod)
Dajana Dimovska: The game took 1.5 years from pre-production all the way to release. In the first half of the production the team consisted of 5 developers, and towards the end of the production it grew to 10.
Affordable Space Adventures is both a very KnapNok game and a very Nifflas game, and I think together we created something that neither of our companies could have made without each other.
Do you see KnapNok and Nifflas working together again in the future? Or perhaps are there any other indie studios you'd like to work with as well? (@InterwebUser)
Nicklas Nygren: Of course I want to work with KnapNok again! Affordable Space Adventures is both a very KnapNok game and a very Nifflas game, and I think together we created something that neither of our companies could have made without each other. We also share a similar sense of humor, and are both up for risky projects e.g. designing a game for a specific platform at the expense of cross-platform support just because the hardware excites us.
I can only imagine the time and effort put into this game, from the concept down to the marketing. I commend the risk you're taking with such an abstract idea from gameplay, to presentation. When this game is released, whether the audience is open to originality or not, will you continue to make games as original as this game whether the sales bomb or meet expectations? (@Spectator)
Lau Korsgaard: Haha, yeah. As I have been saying earlier, I think it is a bigger risk not to be original these days. Look at the number of Flappy Birds clones on the eShop. If you want to make a living competing in that market you will be fighting an uphill battle. Your calculation is that as long as everything is risky, we can just as well do something we are excited about that do something boring.
Thanks to all that submitted questions, and to KnapNok Games / Nifflas for their time. Are you planning to pick up Affordable Space Adventures?