In the steadily decreasing list of enticing titles still coming to the Wii U and its eShop, RIVE was among the most anticipated in the download scene. The final game from Two Tribes, it made a favourable impression as one of the demos in the E3 2015 '[email protected]' promotion, and we rather enjoyed playing it during an extended hands on session during EGX in the same year.
Having been confirmed during the Spring for a September release on Wii U, PC, PS4 and Xbox One, there's now some disappointing news for Nintendo fans. Two Tribes has confirmed to us that the Wii U version of RIVE won't be hitting that window, and at this moment of time doesn't have a fixed date. Two Tribes is keen to bring the game to Nintendo hardware and it may transition to NX - depending on what the next-gen system actually is - as the studio wants to ensure that the experience reaches its standards of 60fps performance, a benchmark vital to shooters and bullet-hell titles of this nature.
Two Tribes co-founder Collin van Ginkel has explained the current status in some detail to us, which you can see below.
First of all, can you talk us through the reasons and thoughts behind RIVE being delayed for Wii U, or perhaps being moved to NX instead?
It's very important to us that Nintendo users will get a great version of RIVE, but unfortunately we don't know at this point when or how we'll be able to deliver this. There are two main reasons for this, one technical and one business related.
The Nindies demo in 2015 was specifically optimized to perform well in hand-picked levels and didn't manage 60FPS consistently. We've added a lot of stuff since then and we haven't been able to reach the performance level required yet. We won't release RIVE unless it's a solid 60FPS, and if that means delaying it to a future platform, we will make that call and make sure Nintendo fans get the perfect experience.
The market has also changed. The game was supposed to ship over a year and a half ago, and things are a lot different now. Nintendo is exiting the Wii U market early in favor of the NX which means a long tail in sales is not looking likely. So that is the business part; do you release a game on a platform in its last days or on a new one that's better suited and can reach gamers for years to come?
We won't release RIVE unless it's a solid 60FPS, and if that means delaying it to a future platform, we will make that call and make sure Nintendo fans get the perfect experience.
How long do you think it'll be before RIVE arrives on Nintendo hardware?
At the moment I can't easily answer that. We're going to try one last time to perfect the Wii U version, but if that fails we'll need to focus on the future.
In terms of the prospect of moving the release to NX, what will the key factors be in making that decision?
To be honest, we know very little about Nintendo's next platform, so it's difficult to make solid plans for that. If Nintendo announces more details we might be able to give you a better answer.
In more general terms with other platforms, how is RIVE's development progressing? Is it close to finished?
It's very close! We're putting in translations now, we have full voice-over and some really cool extra game modes included. It's really coming together well, I couldn't be happier about the quality!
How has the reaction been among play testers and fans awaiting the release? Is there a lot of anticipation for its arrival?
It's a bit scary actually, since we have almost exclusively had enormously positive feedback from testers and show floor dwellers. I'm hoping it's not just people trying to please us, so the real test will be when the reviews come in when it's released this September. Fingers crossed!
In avoiding cancellation (at this stage) of the Wii U release, and suggesting the NX alternative as a possibility, does that reflect a particular desire to still share your games with a Nintendo audience in particular?
Totally! We've made games for Nintendo platforms since 2001 and we'd hate for RIVE not to be in Nintendo gamers' hands in some way. It pains us to have to bring this news, but we just can't release a game that's not perfectly playable. We've seen other shoot 'em ups deliver less than stellar framerates recently and it just kills the experience completely.
Are you concerned the delay could cost you many sales from Nintendo gamers, or are you confident that most will wait and still pick it up later on?
We've made games for Nintendo platforms since 2001 and we'd hate for RIVE not to be in Nintendo gamers' hands in some way. It pains us to have to bring this news, but we just can't release a game that's not perfectly playable.
We understand that people will be disappointed, and rightfully so. Hopefully they'll understand where we're coming from and pick it up when it releases in full 60FPS glory, whenever we manage to reach that point on Nintendo hardware.
Is RIVE still the last game that'll be developed by Two Tribes, or could you still change your mind?
It's still the final game. We're putting everything we have into this game. It really is the product of 16 years of experience and a great way to say goodbye.
Do you have a final message for your Nintendo fans?
Sorry to disappoint you guys, we know you've been waiting a long time for it. It's never easy to bring bad news, but I hope you understand a later but better RIVE is preferable to an earlier sub-par RIVE.
We'd like to thank Collin van Ginkel for his time.