Talking with Jools Watsham: Mutant Mudds, Dementium 3D, DLC, more…
Posted on January 20, 2012 by Austin(@NE_Austin) in 3DS, Features, Interviews
It was nearly eight months ago now I first got to sit down- on a bench outside of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), no less- and play Renegade Kid’s upcoming 2D/3D platformer, Maximillion and the Rise of the Mutant Mudds. There wasn’t a fancy playing station, there weren’t any giant LED screens, and not a single booth babe could be seen; in layman’s terms, all of the flash and glamour of E3 was left indoors with the big budget games, alongside the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from them. When I played Mudds, the only thing that could force me into enjoyment was the game itself, and much to my delight, it was every bit as fun as I had hoped.
Which is really quite good because believe me, there really isn’t anything more awkward and difficult than telling a developer to his or her face that you don’t like their game.
Fast forward to now, and the game is finally nearing its release date (January 26th, for those unaware!), garnering some much-needed media attention to drum up the hype required for it to sell. Being the good gaming “journalist” I am, I figured it was time for me to do my part, so I sat down with Renegade Kid CEO and co-founder Jools Watsham and forced him to answer some questions in return for my services of marketing his game. Because we at NintendoEverything are nothing but a bunch of sellouts who make absolutely no money. Hit the break for the interview…
“First off, we’ve gotta talk about Mudds.” I said, staring him down like a cheetah does its prey, “The game has been to development ‘hell’ and back, morphing into something that could be the best eShop game for a long time to come.” I paused for a moment to let him take in the statement, and then prepared to lay on the tough questions.
“Could one say that this has been one of your favorite games to develop?” I knew I had him on the ropes right from the start, and it made me proud.
“Yes, Mutant Mudds might in fact be my most favorite game to have worked on so far.” He answered without missing a beat, “I really enjoyed the development of Dementium and Dementium II as well, but due to the fact that I created all of the art and design for Mutant Mudds I can’t help but hold it nearer my heart.”
He was good. Almost too good, as if he had done interviews before for some ridiculous reason. I would have to up my game and get tougher. Adjusting in my seat, I took a deep breath and shot my next question at him like a cannonball.
“Compared to other Renegade Kid titles, how has the press/public reception of Mutant Mudds been?”
He didn’t even blink.
“Fortunately, most of our games have been received well by the press. The positive response that Mutant Mudds has received so far is very encouraging, but news and previews are rarely negative on games as their purpose is to inform and not judge.”
Dang. He was right, and he didn’t have an overly-optimistic take on the previews we’d seen so far. He had clearly been here before, and I imagine that he probably knows that reviews will be where the gloves come up and we hear what people really think.
“The reviews will be where the gloves come up and we hear what people really think,” he finished with a smile. Blast. It was like he could read my thoughts!
I considered perhaps throwing him for a loop and asking him the release date question- which he’s been shot with at least a thousand times before- but then I remembered that a few days after this interview takes place, the official release date will have been revealed to be January 26th. It’s as if future-Jools was trolling me from a place beyond time itself. Instead, I went somewhere I doubt many people have been in interviews with the man.
“I haven’t thought much about this, but how are the rest of the guys at Renegade Kid doing? Are they enjoying the development/release/playing Mutant Mudds as much as you?”
“From my perspective, everyone is enjoying themselves and passionate about what we’re doing. I guess I’m the only one who likes to waffle about things on vlogs and blogs.” he said, once again without missing a beat and finishing with a smile. I wasn’t sure what “waffle” meant, but I became very hungry all of a sudden. I had to press on.
“What’s the final count on levels/playtime for Mudds? Let’s qualify “playtime” by assuming a player wants to get absolutely everything there is to get in the game.”
“There are 40 levels in Mutant Mudds. I think a first-time player will be looking at 6 – 9 hours to collect each of the 40 Water Sprites and all 2000 Golden Diamonds.”
Six to nine hours, eh? So, longer than Call of Duty but shorter than Zelda. I could get on board with that. He continued, “Once you know what you’re doing and are familiar with the game, you might be looking at about 3 hours to hammer through it all. Everyone is different, so I’m sure these numbers can be contradicted 1000 times.”
At this point in the interview I decided to leave and head to that place beyond time (the same place where troll-Jools is) so I could let everyone know that I’m already playing through my copy of Mutant Mudds, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to take longer than 6 to 9 hours to get everything. Either that or I’m really bad at platformers.
Wait. Maybe Jools already knows I’m bad at platformers, and he added that clause at the end just to mess with me more…
He is a devilish developer indeed. Fine. Enough Mutant Mudds talk then. I returned from the place beyond time, sat down, and continued.
“You’ve mentioned a few times that there really isn’t much of a chance to see Dementium on 3DS. Is there any situation you can imagine that might change this?”
That would throw him for a loop.
“We rely on publishers to fund the development of large retail games, so we would need to find a publisher who believes they can make a profit from releasing Dementium on the 3DS for it to happen. I hope everyone realizes that the team would be thrilled to develop Dementium or a different FPS for the 3DS.”
“Fair enough,” I said, switching gears yet again, “Is there any way we might see you implement any sort of DLC into future Renegade Kid titles?” He paused for a moment and thought about it.
“Well, we considered it for Mutant Mudds, but decided not to support DLC in the end so the game would not be delayed because of it. It was important for us to have Mutant Mudds released as soon as possible on the eShop, while maintaining the same quality and scope we originally envisioned for the game. I see the value in DLC, so I hope we can support it in the future somehow.”
Oh. Right. The future! I forgot about the future! I’ve been so busy spending time in the past that I totally forgot to ask him about the future of Mudds and the future of Renegade Kid titles on the whole. I jumped back into Mudds mode:
“Specifically related to the UK, will the release date of Mutant Mudds be pretty similar to the U.S.?”
“The release of Mutant Mudds outside of the US will be delayed. This is due to Renegade Kid being a small studio. We have to take it one step at a time. Unfortunately, releasing a game in different countries is a time-consuming and costly business. But, rest assured that we will get Mutant Mudds into the UK as soon as possible.”
“Wonderful. Lastly, I may not be totally sold on the Wii U quite yet, but have you guys been able to play with the system from a development standpoint?”
“I was able to check it out at E3 last year, but we have not signed up as a developer yet. We’ve been too busy with the 3DS! I am really looking forward to see what Nintendo have to offer at this year’s E3. It could be the star of the show if Nintendo play their cards right.”
And that was it. My time was up, so I simply stood up and left without saying a word. It was fair to say that Jools was my toughest interview opponent in recent memory, coming close to or even surpassing the Centipede: Infestation interview I did last summer.
We shall meet again, Jools. And next time…
Next time I shan’t be so kind.
Thanks to Jools for letting me (hopefully- I haven’t technically asked) morph this interview into something much more ridiculous than it was. To clarify, this conversation took place over e-mail, there was no evil rivalry between the two of us, troll-Jools doesn’t exist, I didn’t travel through time, and whenever I said “he finished with a smile” it meant that he put a smiley face in the e-mail. I just like to have more fun with writing stuff than most people.
Like I said, Mutant Mudds comes out next week, will cost $9, and is looking pretty dang good. I’m playing through my copy right now, and hopefully I’ll have a review up tomorrow night. Look forward to it, folks, and get that $9 ready!