Renegade Kid has created some of the most impressive games for the DS since the company was established in 2007. And just a few days ago, their third title for the handheld – Dementium II – made its way onto stores shelves. Renegade Kid owner and director Jools Watsham recently took some time to answer a few questions for us about his latest game and discussed other topics, which included the possibility of developing for Wii and his thoughts about the 3DS.
Nintendo Everything: Your most recent game, Dementium II, was just released last week and it looks like hands-down the scariest game on the DS system. What was the greatest challenge for actually bringing a tense, scary feel to players on a handheld system?
Jools Watsham: I think the most important thing, and one of the most difficult, is to create an authentically creepy atmosphere. We also pushed ourselves to produce a ton more variety in environments and enemies, which took a tremendous amount of work.
NE: Another thing that’s terrifying about Dementium II is the boxart – Who came up with such an awesome illustration?
JW: I agree, I think it is fantastic. This is very unglamorous, but SouthPeak hired a talented design company who came up with it. I expect SouthPeak’s PR Queen, Aubrey Norris, had something to do with it. 🙂 The image was sent to me one day and I was just blown away. I immediately thought it looked incredible, and I felt honored to have such a wonderfully disturbing image for our game.
NE: All of your projects released thus far on the DS have been first-person shooters. What do you like about developing this sort of game for the DS?
JW: I think the DS is a great device for FPS gameplay. Using the stylus on the touchscreen to aim feels great. The DS hardware is powerful enough to produce a great gaming experience, and we’re constantly surprised with the results we’re getting with our engine. I think Dementium II will surprise a lot of people, even those who have played the first game.
NE: Are there difficulties in developing for the DS?
JW: There are difficulties in developing any game for any platform, and I don’t think developing for the DS is any more difficult.
NE: It may be premature to ask, but could Dementium III happen?
JW: We own the Dementium IP, so we have a lot of say on whether Dementium III will happen. I think it will. If we have to, we’ll fund it ourselves. It probably won’t be on the DS though.
NE: One game from Renegade Kid that is not a first-person shooter is Maximillian and the Rise of the Mutant Mudds. This game looks like a ton of fun, and it has been said that the game will be running at a full 60 frames per second. Was it difficult to achieve this frame-rate alongside the impressive graphics?
JW: Thanks, I think Max is a ton of fun too. In regards to maintaining 60 frames per second, yes it is difficult. It takes a combination of genius programming by our super-programmer Bob Ives, and a respect for the hardware by art and design. Its easy to make the DS crawl to 10 frames per second, we achieve that a lot, and then we alter what we’re doing or how we’re doing it until it runs at 60 frames again. Running at 60 frames per second is important to us. It allows gameplay to be responsive and smooth, and it just looks silky.
NE: Any word on whether Maximillian will involve a retail release or if it will instead become a DSiWare title?
JW: We are very fond of 3D platformers, so I expect we’ll make one eventually. Max, however, is on hold right now.
NE: What caused Renegade Kid to decide to switch from a first-person shooter to a third-person platforming title?
JW: We are interested in developing many different genres. We had more prior experience developing third-person games than we did first-person games before we created Dementium: The Ward. 3D platformers are my favorite genre to play. I like the racing genre too.
NE: Is Maximillian the only title you currently have in development, now that Dementium II has been released?
JW: As I mentioned before, Max is on hold. But, we have two original titles in development right now, and a few more on the horizon that we may start developing soon. None of them are first-person shooters.
NE: How do you feel about the 3DS? What sort of features would you like to see in the system?
JW: I am very excited about the 3DS. From the rumors I’ve heard the 3DS is a really fancy DSi with higher res screens, an accelerometer, camera(s), analog stick(s), and 3D of course. The graphical capabilities will most likely be on a par with the GameCube / Wii, which is very exciting. Can you imagine how awesome Dementium III would look in the 3DS? Man, that would be sweet!
NE: Renegade Kid has expressed interest in DSiWare. But what about WiiWare?
JW: To be honest, I can’t see us developing for the Wii. We’ve carved out a nice niche on the DS, and I hope we can move onto the 3DS and continue making high quality games for that system that players appreciate. I am a huge fan of handheld gaming, and with the Wii market being so challenging I don’t expect we’ll be getting involved.
NE: How would you evaluate Nintendo’s general support for Renegade Kid throughout the years?
JW: Nintendo have been easy to work with. I have nothing but respect for the games that Nintendo produces, and I hope we too deliver games of that caliber one day… we’re working towards it.