This week there are certainly some high profile arrivals due on the eShop, one of which is the NEO Future Pack DLC for Wii U exclusive FAST Racing NEO. It looks set to be a good deal, too, confirmed with a price tag of $4.99 / €4.99 / £4.20; as the racer is fondly regarded by many, the opportunity to jump into eight tracks and more content besides will be tough to resist.
That's not the only landmark of note for Shin'en Multimedia this week, as the title will head to retail stores in Europe through Nintendo's eShop Selects range, with disc copies including the DLC. Though there's no equivalent in North America, it seems this European initiative has played a key role in the extra content happening, too.
Ahead of this week's releases we caught up with the studio's Managing Director, Manfred Linzner, to learn a little more about the NEO Future Pack and that retail version heading to stores in Europe; we were also given some flashy screenshots from the added content.
FAST Racing NEO has now been available on the Wii U for a little while, so have you been happy with its reception, the number of players online and so on?
We have been very happy with the reception. Sales have been pretty good and we get a lot of feedback that people love the game. We don't have numbers for online players but we felt that FRN did fairly well when compared to other 3rd party games.
With respect to NDAs, confidential data and so on, are you willing to comment on how happy or otherwise you have been with the game's sales?
We worked for three years on the game. It was a major investment for us but it worked out perfectly in the end. The game still sells nicely and when we showcase the game on occasions like Gamescom we see there is still a lot of interest out there.
For those unaware, can you break down the included content in the upcoming NEO Future Pack DLC?
The DLC has quite a lot of content:
- 8 exciting new race tracks
- 10 brand-new vehicle profiles
- 18 new audio tracks
- 2 new cups
How did you decide on the pricing for this DLC?
The DLC wasn't planned from start. We always design our games to be 'complete' without later add-ons. When the chance for a bigger retail version came along we wanted to give everyone the chance to enjoy the newly made content too. Therefore we made the pricing very affordable. We see it as a fan service.
How long was the team working on this DLC?
We worked on it for around half a year. Now after the main game was out we had all our tools and code in perfect shape. So we were able to create very special tracks that would have been out of scope when we did the main game.
Were many track and vehicle designs left unused when you picked the final line-up for the NEO Future Pack?
None at all. We had a schedule to work on the DLC and created as much content as possible in this time. At the end it was amazing how much new high quality stuff we were able to do.
What are some of your personal favourite tracks and vehicles in the DLC?
I think 'New Zendling' as one of the coolest tracks in the game. It's located in a great-looking futuristic city and has one of the most insane jumps in the game. Also the 'Iceland' track has breathtaking natural vistas and new gameplay elements like driving on tubes. Most people we showed the game said the 'Kuiper Belt' track was unbelievable. There you play in front of a big star in space and need to take care of asteroids and solar flares crossing your way.
Is the DLC unlocked immediately after purchase, or will players need to unlock it through beating certain cups or difficulty levels?
The DLC is immediately playable after purchase. We think this is what most people would like to see.
Will DLC tracks be playable in online multiplayer, and will there be any restrictions on access (such as only for lobbies where every player has the DLC)?
You decide if you want to play the original tracks only or also the DLC tracks. Of course the lobbies are then only filled with people that actually have the DLC. It will also be possible to play against people that own the retail version.
We'd like to ask about the disc version coming to Europe through the eShop Selects brand. Can you talk about how that came about? Did Nintendo of Europe approach you about it, or was it the other way around?
You can fully thank Nintendo. Without them there would have been no retail version and perhaps not even the new DLC.
How does the team feel about that disc release? Is it considered a big landmark moment, or are you perhaps more relaxed about it?
We did a lot of boxed games in our past, so it's not that unusual for us. However, being picked up by Nintendo due to the quality of your game is surely a very nice thing to happen.
Are there plans to bring the retail version to North America?
Are you surprised that the eShop Selects range is only in Europe so far, with no equivalent (yet) from Nintendo of America?
I know a lot of people would love to see the eShop Selects in the US as well. Same of course on our side.
Overall, how important is the disc release for building the FAST Racing / Shin'en brand?
We think it especially gives our FAST brand more exposure. It certainly will influence our future decisions for the game.
Have you finished with FAST Racing NEO now, or is there more DLC planned?
We have nothing to announce yet.
What's next for Shin'en Multimedia, is there anything you want to tease us with?
We would love to do that but you will have to wait a couple of months to hear what's next from us.
We'd like to thank Manfred Linzner for his time.