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[Interview] A Hat in Time dev talks five-year development, Switch port, and what’s next

Posted on September 23, 2018 by in Interviews, Switch eShop

Are you targeting any particular frame rate and resolution in both docked and undocked modes? (15:34

Yes. Both are 720p, 30fps. We don’t want to compromise the experience that we’re bringing to the Switch. So we tried as much as we can to make sure that the visual fidelity and the gameplay matches as close to the other releases as possible.

… In terms of resolution in handheld mode, we use an implementation similar to Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild. Where the resolution changes a bit to make sure the framerate stays stable. It’s called dynamic resolution…

When did development on the Switch version start? How far along is the port? (17:10)

The Switch version has been sort of on and off for a while because we tried it and just knew there’s no way we can do this. That was just around launch I think, and then we got a lot of help around early this year, maybe a bit later. That’s when we started getting a lot of help, that’s when the Switch build really built up. Right now the Switch build is looking very good. Right now we’re just doing final testing on it, but it might still be a while. I don’t want to make any promises… We want to make sure we can make it a good experience right off the bat on day one…

The latest DLC for A Hat in Time, is out now on PC, and has yet to be announced for the Switch. However, something we’re very curious about is the Nostalgia Badge. Where did that idea come from, and how is it implemented in-game? (18:24)

… There was a big demand from people to have this sort of mode, in fact some people would just turn down the settings and go ‘oh, look this is retro mode’.

Jonas mentioned Hat Kid had a complete redesign to mimic that of a Nintendo 64 character, the textures are down-sampled, a filter applied for extra authenticity, and it meets the 64’s requirement of 240p resolution.

Then this would run on the Nintendo 64, right?

No. (laughs) Some people actually asked if you would get better performance and the answer is no, because it actually takes a bit more effort to replicate these old methods.

The Seal the Deal DLC will add a cooperative gameplay, where a second player can control Bow Kid. Seeing as local co-op is almost unheard of in the collect-a-thon genre, what made you think to implement it? What hurdles did you have to overcome to make this feature work? (21:27)

Younger kids usually have siblings that like to sit by and watch them play. We thought it’d be very cool if both of them could play at the same time without one hindering the other. So in A Hat in Time’s co-op mode, there’s no penalty for the other player being bad, right? (laughs) If one of you can progress, that moves progress further, so we just thought it would be very cool if two players could independently move around in the city and just do things…

Rendering the same environment twice in split-screen is very costly. It took us a lot to get performance to a level where that would run at 60fps. But it runs super well now… Making sure that the entire game works in co-op was also a non-trivial task…

Is this “new DLC” it for A Hat in Time? Or will you be supporting the game even further with more content? (23:15)

… After Seal the Deal we have one more DLC planned and that DLC is still in development. Not quite far along in development yet… That will include stuff like a new chapter and other unannounced things.

There’s still a lot going on with A Hat in Time between the Switch version and new DLC. That being said, have you given any thought to the studio’s next game? Would you want to work on a sequel in the future? (24:40)

After the DLC we’re going to take a break from A Hat in Time I think. I would love to make A Hat in Time 2, but I’ so fatigued from 3D platformers that I want to take a break. But that’ll make it even more exciting when A Hat in Time 2 rolls around…

We’re actually working on our second game right now. We’re working on it in conjunction with DLC 2. Our next game is going to be a completely different ball park. A Hat in Time is very cute and it’s a platformer game, but the next title we’re working on is nothing like that at all.

A Hat in Time used Kickstarter to fund the project. Since you saw such a massive success with the platform, is it something you would consider using again? (26:14)

… Now that we are capable of self-funding titles, I doubt we’ll return to Kickstarter, but I think that’s also a good thing because we’re leaving more space for other up and comings to make a splash in the Kickstarter scene…

What else would you like the fans to know about the Switch version of A Hat in Time or the game in general? (27:06)

… We put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into making the Switch port and I really hope you’ll enjoy it, and I hope you appreciate that it stays so close to the PC release in terms of quality because that has been… hard. (laughs)

… It’s the first time A Hat in Time has been on the go, and that’s insane and exciting as well. I hope fans will enjoy it. It’s been a lot of work.

Full interview

Nintendo Everything would like to thank Jonas Kaerlev for taking the time to answer our questions.

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