Nintendo Everything recently caught up with Ronimo’s Jasper Koning via email. Of course, we asked several questions about the studio’s recently-announced Wii U exclusive Swords & Soldiers II. Koning also commented on whether Ronimo considered going the Kickstarter route with its game, the possibility of Awesomenauts on Wii U, future support for the system, and more.
You can find our full interview with Ronimo after the break!
It’s been a long while since Ronimo last produced a game for a Nintendo console. Why did you feel now was the right time to jump in with Wii U and make an exclusive?
Swords & Soldiers has always been very Nintendo-y in vibe and style, so to us it makes perfect sense to do the sequel on the Wii U. There’s also a very big hunger for quality games amongst Wii U owners, with very few games trying to fill that gap.
Swords & Soldiers first launched nearly five years ago. When/why did you decide that it was time to make a sequel? Also, how long has the project been in development?
We always wanted to revisit the Swords & Soldiers universe, right from the moment we launched the original. Even during the development we had lots of ideas for new units and spells that would work great with the format of the game. Actual development of the game started about 1.5 years ago.
Has your relationship with Nintendo been any different this time around? The company is now much more open to smaller developers, which is quite different compared to the days of WiiWare. Has Nintendo’s open stance towards indies been beneficial to Ronimo in any particular way(s)?
They’re definitely a lot more approachable nowadays, although Nintendo of Europe has always been very nice and supportive. I also think that they appreciate the fact that the original was one of the highest rated WiiWare releases. Something of which I’m still very proud.
We’ve heard about two factions in Swords & Soldier II – Vikings and Demons. What can you say/tease about the third one?
In contrast to the Vikings and Demons the third faction is less about brute force or sheer numbers. Can’t say more than that unfortunately.
Swords & Soldiers was limited to local multiplayer. Are there any plans to implement online play this time around?
Nope. We spent a lot of work building online multiplayer for the HD versions of the original, but very few people actually used it. So we’ll be focusing our efforts on local multiplayer, which suits the Wii U way better anyway.
Will Swords & Soldiers II take advantage of the Wii U GamePad in any particular way(s)?
It continually mirrors the main screen, while offering a touch friendly interface. Our main control scheme is based around the twin stick scheme we developed for the PS3. But if players prefer touch control, they can switch at any time. It’s a fully fleshed out and polished alternative control scheme that even comes with it’s own swipe gestures during quick time events. This also allows players to play the game completely on the GamePad and it gives each player their own screen when playing local multiplayer.
Given that Swords & Soldiers II is Ronimo’s first title on Wii U, how has it been developing for the console? Have you encountered any particular difficulties while making the game?
Not really, as each console it has its quirks, but it’s generally nice to work with. Especially the larger amount RAM is a nice change compared to the previous generation of consoles.
Both Swords & Soldiers and Awesomenauts were designed as primarily multiplayer games. Why did you choose to make games based around competitive play and what challenges have you discovered in developing them (issues with balance, designing unique characters etc.)?
We want to build games that offer a lot of replayability. And since humans are the most interesting opponents that can help keep the experience fresh, multiplayer is a logical addition for us. It does limit the design here and there however. Whereas you could easily have a screen shaking megablast in single player games, in multiplayer these skills need to be balanced in some way.
The original Swords & Soldiers started out as a Wii-exclusive, but eventually made its way to additional platforms. Can you see something similar happening with Swords & Soldiers II?
No comment, sorry.
You achieved massive success with the Kickstarter campaign for Awesomenauts’ Starstorm update. Did you ever consider going with a Kickstarter to fund development of Swords & Soldiers II?
We though about it, but we felt Awesomenauts was the better brand to do it with. Kickstarting new or relatively unknown ip’s is very hard.
Speaking of Awesomenauts, have you ever thought about bringing the game to the eShop?
We have. However, we haven’t been able to find a good partner to help us out with the port like we did for PS4.
Two Tribes recently announced Swords & Soldiers HD for Wii U. How did this collaboration with the studio come about?
They approached us to do the port, because they already had experience with both the Wii U and Swords & Soldiers. They previously created Toki Tori 2 for Wii U and ported the original Swords & Soldiers to iOS and Android.
Although it was ported by another studio, Swords & Soldiers did make its way to the 3DS eShop last year in the form of “Swords & Soldiers 3D”. How do you feel about this version of the game? Some felt that it suffered from a few different issues, such as frame rate slowdown. Would similar problems arise if you attempted to develop Swords & Soldiers II for the 3DS?
The 3DS version was done by our partner Circle. In our opinion they released it a bit early. However, they’re still working to improve the framerate and they’re also looking into bringing the DLC expansion ‘Super Saucy Sausage Fest’ to the 3DS.
Going forward, does Ronimo have plans to support Wii U in the future? Do you hope to bring more games to the eShop?
Obviously we love working with Nintendo and their platforms. And we have the theory that the game could do well based on the lack of competition, but it remains a gamble. So before we decide anything else we’ll be looking at the sales Swords & Soldiers II.
What should gamers know about Swords & Soldiers II? Is there anything in particular you’d like to share about the title?
We changed a lot of things, so it’s hard to pick any one thing. We’re really excited about the leap in graphic quality, this game was obviously built for HD from the ground up. Another cool thing is the campaign. It’s no longer three separate campaigns but a single campaign during which your army will evolve in a big way. This allows us to Mix and matching units and spells in really interesting combo’s.
A huge thanks goes out to Jasper Koning for taking the time to answer our questions!