Runbow still stands as one of the most fun and frantic multiplayer games on the Wii U eShop, so it made plenty of sense when 13AM Games announced they'd be doing a portable variant with Runbow Pocket. The game will be coming to the New 3DS and seems to have translated the Runbow experience to the weaker console quite smoothly, though many were disappointed to hear that the game will have no Local Multiplayer or StreetPass. We reached out to the developers for comment on this, and they explained the reasoning behind the decision in greater depth.
To start, Runbow Pocket is one of the first Unity games to show up on the New 3DS, so getting the game to work properly on the platform has been challenging for the team. Beyond that, adding in the additional code for local multiplayer on top of the existent netcode could have unpredictable results, which could then potentially result in large delays. Here's what they had to say:
The way multiplayer options work on the 3DS and New 3DS can go one of two ways... "local multiplayer features" and "online multiplayer." Local multiplayer features like StreetPass and Local Play use Nintendo's NEX servers and API and online multiplayer servers work the way we have things in Runbow.
We're one of the first teams to bring a Unity title to New 3DS. We already faced a few challenges scaling down the game to fit the full Runbow experience, single player and all, into a smaller machine, and on top of that adding different types of networking to our already complex netcode was a risk that we were not comfortable taking. We were left with a choice: Use the online system we already have in place, something that we know works and is fun, or uproot the code and build it for local features instead, while these features were still being added to the Unity engine. The latter option produced an unknowable: how long would this take us? Will it work? How many New 3DS owners are friends with New 3DS owners in the same square mile? Unity has done a great job in helping us with whatever direction we wanted to go, but at the end of the day we thought it was of greater value to our players to give them an online experience where they can play with anyone, anywhere in the world, just like the original Runbow.
Instead of having to find other New 3DS owners, you and your friends can jump into an online game of Runbow anywhere there is a wi-fi connection. Because of this, we also had to forgo the StreetPass features. We know this comes as a bit of a bummer to our fans, but at the end of the day it was important to us to preserve as much of the original Runbow experience as possible. From our massive single player campaign to those wild online matches with anyone in the world.
As stated above, Local Play is still technically doable, but with the caveat that you must be connected to wi-fi.
What do you think? Will you be picking up Runbow Pocket? Share your thoughts in the comments below.