Way, way back in the depths of the past (mid-August to be exact), you may recall Nintendo's Indie World presentation that highlighted a trove of upcoming indie treasures heading to the Switch eShop. In the months since then we've seen many of the announced games released, and one in particular which caught our eye is set for launch on 21st November.
The Touryst is the latest from Shin'en Multimedia, the Munich-based developer behind the excellent FAST RMX, Nano Assault and Art of Balance. Its striking, colourful voxel art style immediately grabs your attention, although the enigmatic announcement trailer (above) doesn't go into details as to what exactly you'll be getting up to in the game. It seems to involve surfing, beach parties and arcade games.
While we're fairly positive it has nothing to do with the 2010 Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie film, we spoke to the team to try and find out a little more about The Touryst ahead of its imminent release...
Nintendo Life: The Touryst caught our eye in August’s Indie World Showcase with its voxel aesthetic and action-adventure puzzle-style gameplay. However, despite getting an Animal Crossing vibe, the initial trailer was light on concrete details – tell us a little about the game and what it entails.
SHin'en: THE TOURYST is an action-adventure game where you start arriving at a beach resort. You realize soon there is not only this happy vacation world, but there is also another secret world hidden beneath. But we don't want to spoil too much. It's your vacation!
Shin’en has some varied games in its back catalogue, from Nano Assault to Fast Racing series and Art of Balance. What inspired the team to branch out further with the action-adventure of The Touryst?
For ages we wanted to do an adventure game. We already had done several prototypes in the past, but we felt like we would need a real fresh setting to deliver something unique and unexpected. One of our prototypes back then was located on a small lush island, and we made jokes how nice it would be to go on vacation there. And that was the perfect idea! Making a game about being on vacation, but a vacation that goes strange.
We understand there’s a story concerning how Nintendo first learned about the game – how did that happen?
we said we want to launch at end of 2017 or early 2018. We quickly noticed that this was not the answer [Nintendo] were looking for
That goes back to early 2016. We got an invitation to visit Nintendo, and show them what we were currently working on. We presented several of our prototypes, and also that lush island demo I mentioned before. They loved the look of the demo and how everything interacted. When we got asked how long we would need for this game we said we want to launch at end of 2017 or early 2018. We quickly noticed that this was not the answer they were looking for, because they wanted a new game that was a little bit closer to launch... to launch in March 2017. Because on that visit we finally got introduced to the brand new Nintendo Switch and got asked if we could deliver an outstanding game for its launch window. And so we decided to fully concentrate on FAST RMX as a launch game and postpone our adventure game to later.
After the launch of FAST RMX Nintendo didn't forget about our adventure game, which in the meantime got named 'THE TOURYST'. They helped us in various ways to develop the game and finally showcased it also at Gamescom this year! Without Nintendo's early support and feedback, we would certainly have a very different game today. So we are quite thankful for all this support.
One of the elements that jumped out at us (and probably many people!) is the micro Arcade you can visit that features a lo-fi version of FAST. We spotted another couple of cabinets, too. Are these games playable?
Some of our play-testers spend hours in the arcade just to have fun or beat the hi-scores. The hi-scores get also saved in the cabinets and you can always come back for more. And like everything in THE TOURYST it will have an influence on your journey.Yeah, all of these small cabinets are fully working. You can toss coins into them and play'em like real arcade machines. These games should feel like being from an alternative 1980's universe, where Shin'en designed arcade titles. It was so much fun to create these games. It was a good reminder why we started creating games as kids in the 80s.
We’ve seen from FAST RMX that Shin’en has a good handle on technical side of the Switch. With The Touryst, you’ve stated it will run at 60fps and 1080p in docked mode. How difficult was it to achieve that?
It was not easy to get everything into a 60fps budget
In docked mode we render in up to 1080p and 720p for mobile mode. And of course we always keep the game at steady 60fps. This was important to us because the game feels and looks so much better at a constant high framerate. It was not easy to get everything into a 60fps budget. We had to multi-thread much more of our code base and create many new post-processing effects that looked gorgeous while still performing fast enough. However, as we are working since 2016 with the Switch we already had a quite solid technical foundation we were able to build on.
The Touryst is listed as a digital-only eShop release, although there’s a passionate group of gamers who are dedicated to boxed, physical games. FAST never received a boxed release (on Switch) either, although there must have been calls from fans. Are there any plans for physical versions of any of your Switch games in the future?
For now we concentrate on the eShop version and then we will see what the future brings.
The Touryst will arrive on a Switch eShop in a very different state to the one FAST RMX launched on alongside the console. With so many games coming to the store each week, how do you go about standing out in the crowd on Switch in 2019 as opposed to 2017?
Of course, the launch window helped, but on the other side FAST RMX is also a great game (according to Nintendo Life's review [smiles]). And that is what we try to focus on: Delivering great games that make the hardware shine.
We think there is nothing out there like THE TOURYST and we are looking forward to November 21, when people finally can get their hands on the game.
Finally, what Switch games has the team been enjoying recently (besides The Touryst, of course)?
Still none the wiser about what exactly The Touryst's about? Keep an eye out for more details on the game if the relaxed premise and lovely screenshots above haven't convinced you yet. In the meantime, be sure to share your thoughts on this voxel vacation below.