Sci-Fi adventure Morphite is one indie title that has been on our radar ever since it was first confirmed as coming to the Switch, and with good reason - it aims to combine the likes of Metroid Prime and Turok, and has been compared to No Man's Sky for its striking, low-poly visual style.
Those of you with long memories will recall that Morphite was supposed to launch on the Switch earlier this month, but sadly that hasn't been the case. According to Blowfish Studios co-founder Ben Lee, the team have one remaining issue to tackle before the title can pass Lotcheck, but the good news is that we should still get to experience this appealing adventure before the end of the year.
Despite the disappointment of Morphite missing its Switch release, we're still very excited about playing it - and we were lucky enough to sit down with Lee and Crescent Moon Games founder Josh Presseisen to talk about this collaborative effort.
Nintendo Life: First of all, congratulations on the upcoming release of Morphite on Nintendo Switch.
Ben Lee: Thank you! It’s certainly been a rough ride considering it’s our first Switch release.
How has the development process been on Switch?
Ben Lee: Development for the Switch has been enjoyable! Compared to the Wii U we have found the support from Unity for the Switch to be really great. Also, Nintendo’s development tools and platform is much improved. There was one issue we discovered, but Nintendo were very apologetic about it.
When did it start?
Ben Lee: We started porting Morphite and optimising it for the Switch in June 2017.
What attracted you to develop for Switch?
Ben Lee: Everyone has a soft spot for Nintendo and we’d tried to get our previous games on to the Wii U without much luck. We are a registered Nintendo developer, but the porting process for Wii U just had too many issues that we couldn’t resolve. When we heard about the Switch and its hardware specification we knew we had a much better chance to get our games there. The fans of Nintendo also seem a lot more vocal and friendly, so we really wanted to succeed in getting a game released for them, too.
What was your exposure and interest to the rumours of the 'NX'?
Ben Lee: We actually heard about the hardware specs and release estimates back at the end of 2015, so we kind of knew how correct the rumours were.
It must be exciting to launch on a new platform that has huge popularity at the moment, despite its relative infancy?
Ben Lee: Yes, plus the Switch is quite unique with its controls and being able to be played on the go, so it has some special challenges.
Was there a particular aspect of the game that was the focus or did everything come together organically?
Josh Pressesien: When we started out, we had been working on another low-poly styled game, and then this idea sprung up. It seemed to lend itself well to Sci-fi, so we went with it. I think even though low-poly is quite popular now, it still maintains a unique look, somehow.
What were your influences during the transition from playing games to starting on Morphite, and how long has it been in development?
Josh Pressesien: I've been playing games ever since I was 5 years old, but started making games as recently as 2009. Morphite has been in development for roughly a year and a half.
What's the gameplay balance like between exploration, resource management and platforming?
Josh Pressesien: Most of the game is really focused on the main storyline, which does contain a lot of the platforming. There are areas on the random worlds where you can also platform, and use some of the special tools you find during the story. On randomized worlds is where you will find the resources required to upgrade your weapons and scans to sell. The scans will be sold at space stations, where you can upgrade your ship.
How did the look of the game start and develop?
Josh Pressesien: A few years ago we created a game called Paper Monsters that had a low-poly look. It has sort of evolved into a more stylized aesthetic; more colourful, but less textures. It ends up having a more cinematic feel to it.
How did the environments and inhabitants get selected and incorporated?
Josh Pressesien: As far as the random worlds go, we separate everything by temperature range of planets. We decide which types of creatures, plants, trees, and rocks will show up in the various temperature ranges. These entities all have variations, so that if you go to another world in the same temperature range, you'll see a variation of that creature or plant. Some biomes have more content than others, but we are still continuously adding new things to find!
Do the environment or inhabitants affect the gameplay?
Ben Lee: Yes, the environments can be quite harsh and sometimes require certain suit upgrades. Likewise the inhabitants can be aggressive in many circumstances and will require either evasion or combat!
The Nintendo Switch is able to be used as a home console on a big screen as well as portable. How is the transition handled in Morphite?
Ben Lee: For Morphite the transition between home and portable is seamless. The game is also available on iOS and game consoles, so it looks and plays amazing in all configurations.
Do you think the style of the gameplay shown in Morphite caters for both?
Ben Lee: Considering that it's an adventure exploration game, I feel that the pace of means it can be enjoyed in both formats. It is possible for the player to become lost in the world of Morphite at home or out and about.
Have the Switch's other unique features been experimented with?
Ben Lee: We are experimenting with the motion controls. On the Wii U we had implemented them in another game, but on the Switch without the sensor bar it’s a little harder to get it nice.