The legacy of the Wii U will likely be rather complicated and hotly disputed in years to come, yet a notable positive has been its eShop. After the structural limitations of the Wii and DSi stores, and then the hardware restrictions of the 3DS, the current-gen home console's support of Unity and web codes (through Nintendo Web Framework) have opened up the eShop market to a broad range of experiences. We've had exclusives from relatively experienced developers, to a whole raft of ports, and then a number of development newcomers that have cut their teeth and made their starts on the store.

RCMADIAX - the studio created by Michael Aschenbrener - is certainly in the latter category. The first out of the gate on Nintendo Web Framework with BLOK DROP U in March 2014, Aschenbrener has released 15 titles on the Wii U, many of which are low-budget and arcade-like score chasers. Some have been solid efforts, while we'd argue a few have been rather poor, yet the games have kept coming and - evidently - performed well enough for Aschenbrener to continue his work on more ambitious projects.

Targeting an April release, SUPER ROBO MOUSE has been the studio's most ambitious project to date, and could be the start of an entirely different approach and strategy. We asked Aschenbrener about that project, and lessons learnt so far in nearly two years of Wii U development, to get an updated perspective on RCMADIAX and its future.


You've been a particularly active developer on the Wii U eShop, but can you introduce yourself and RCMADIAX to those that may be unfamiliar with your work?

Sure! My name is Michael Aschenbrener, and I founded RCMADIAX in 2013 to create content for Nintendo's Wii U game system. To date, RCMADIAX has published 15 titles in North America, 3 in Europe, and in partnership with Rainy Frog for Japan, an additional 2 - all on Wii U.

You were notably first to release a Nintendo Web Framework title (BLOK DROP U) back in Spring 2014. How quickly did you work on that title, or how long did you have between access to the development tools and release?

I started working with the Nintendo Web Framework in September of 2013, a month later BLOK DROP U started development. The game was released in March 2014 in North America and June 2014 in Europe.

Since that time you've released plenty of titles in North America, all utilising the Nintendo Web Framework. What is it about that platform that suits quickfire development projects, in your experience?

I wouldn't say there is anything specific about Nintendo Web Framework that sparks "quickfire" development, but rather Nintendo's openness to allow creators to choose what titles they want to publish.

Many of my titles are concepts that have no competition on the Wii U, whereas on smart devices they would just be lost in the pile of thousands of apps.

For the most part we think it's a fair assessment that you've targeted short, budget score-chasing experiences, though you have explored multiple genres. Can you talk a little about that as a development plan, and why it's your focus?

Up to this point it has been my focus to explore as many genres as possible, experimenting with different ideas and techniques. This has allowed me to release multiple titles in a short time frame. However this has led to quality being sacrificed in exchange for quantity in some cases, something I hope to change in the future.

Your games are typically GamePad based, too - can you talk about that development choice and why, for example, these projects have targeted the Wii U eShop rather than smart devices?

I targeted Wii U for these projects because these particular games would get noticed. Many of my titles are concepts that have no competition on the Wii U, whereas on smart devices they would just be lost in the pile of thousands of apps.

In late March 2015 you briefly stepped away from Wii U development, citing a "stigma" attached to you on the eShop. Can you talk about that moment, and expand on the reasoning given at the time?

Short and honest answer was - I was suffering burnout. At the time I had become overwhelmed by the current workload of projects and took comments I read on the internet to heart. It became too much at one point and decided I just needed to step away.

By late May you were announcing another run of games on Wii U; what drove that turnaround and return to the Wii U?

At the time the intention was to step away from development all together - but after taking a bit of time I realized that I truly do enjoy doing what I do, and I needed to ignore all the hateful things that hateful people say and just focus on the content at hand.

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While Super Robo Mouse is clearly a long-term passion project you're stepping up regular budget releases. Though I appreciate figures are locked by an NDA, can you talk about whether these frequent releases pay off financially?

It may seem like I have been ramping up production - but it has simply been the case of finishing up projects that I started. Although I can't announce sales figures, it has been enough to continue developing the small titles.

Are you now developing full-time on Wii U, or do you have other work away from the RCMADIAX releases?

I am developing full time now, and hopefully can continue far into the future.

Last year you announced plans to bring your full library of games to Europe and Australia, thanks to the benefits of the IARC system - can you provide an update on this?

That has been on hold until SUPER ROBO MOUSE could be completed. Now that the game has been sent off to testing, I will begin working on bringing my back catalogue over as time permits.

Everyone has to start somewhere. When I began I had no experience, but now I consider myself a bit more aware of what is expected and what goes into making a game.

What's the long-term outlook for RCMADIAX, in terms of your development plans? Is it your intention to continue to combine short and frequent arcade-like experiences with occasional bigger releases?

Ideally I would love to develop just a single project at a time - releasing maybe once per year or two. This is the goal starting with SUPER ROBO MOUSE, and should it prove successful, you would likely not see my next release until 2018/2019.

There's a notable 'scene' of relatively new developers on the Wii U eShop that focus on budget releases ($4 and under, for example), and it's occasionally led to some interesting debates on various topics. Do you agree with the assertion there's a 'scene', and what are your thoughts on where it's at on the eShop?

Everyone has to start somewhere. When I began I had no experience, but now I consider myself a bit more aware of what is expected and what goes into making a game.

As you reflect on your development history so far, are you happy overall with the reception to your work within the Wii U community?

Of course if I had to do it over again there are certain things I would change - but that's not how life works! I'm happy overall and I've learned to just ignore the negative and embrace the positive.

Which project, so far, are you most proud of?

BLOK DROP U for sure, as that was my first original IP. I'm also really proud of SUPER ROBO MOUSE and think people are really going to enjoy it.

Finally, do you have a message for your fans?

Thank you for all your support over the past few years, it really means a lot. I think going forward you are really going to enjoy what comes out of RCMADIAX and hope I become one of your favourite developers.

We'd like to thank Michael Aschenbrener for his time.