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[Interview] New Super Lucky’s Tale dev on how the Switch version happened, physical release, amiibo interest, future of the IP, more

Posted on November 9, 2019 by (@NE_Brian) in Interviews, Switch

A new 3D platformer has just joined the Switch’s library. New Super Lucky’s Tale, coming from Playful, launched on the console yesterday.

New Super Lucky’s Tale is an interesting release given its origins. What was once a Microsoft-published Xbox One and PC game simply titled “Super Lucky’s Tale”, Playful went back to the drawing board with New Super Lucky’s Tale. The Switch edition builds upon the original title with lots of additional content in the form of new levels, new moves, a new story, and more plus plenty of improvements and changes.

With the launch of New Super Lucky’s Tale on the horizon, we caught up with director Dan Hurd, who chatted about why the game has returned on Switch, how the physical version happened, the possibility of amiibo, and future interest in continuing with the IP. Our full interview can be found below.

For those that haven’t been keeping up with the game, what is New Super Lucky’s Tale?

New Super Lucky’s Tale is a 3D action platforming game starring Lucky Swiftail, a young fox on a journey through the magical Book of Ages to defeat the evil sorcerer Jinx and his nefarious children, the Kitty Litter. This is the newest and most definitive game in the Lucky’s Tale franchise, featuring completely new levels, new moves, a new story, new monsters, new progression, new costumes, well, the list goes on!

What sets it apart from other mascot 3D platformers?

We developed this game to be a ‘playground platformer’, which means that the level layouts are designed to have a fun and satisfying core path, but they also reward the players who want to linger, testing their exploration and discovery skills to find every last hidden collectible.

We also wanted to provide our players with a fun breadth of level styles, from large, explorable 3D spaces to skill-focused side-scrolling levels, to mini-games and puzzles that challenge the player in other ways.

In addition to platforming, we wanted our players to delight in the wide variety of loveable, humorous, and engaging characters that they can meet and help along the way. Even our bosses are cute, so we hope you’ll have a smile on your face while you dismantle their plans for world domination!

How did you go about designing the characters for the game (protagonists and antagonists)? What was the theme you wanted to stick to, and were there any character ideas that unfortunately didn’t get implemented?

Lucky himself took a long time for us to get right; we were searching for a timeless design that embodied optimism, energy, and an inquisitive nature, and that process led us through several major iterations until we felt those qualities were correctly represented. By the end of the process, we were starting to go a little crazy from obsessing over the small details of his fur, color, posture, etc. But in the end we fell in love with a character that we hope our players can connect and relate to.

Once we had a strong design for Lucky, we wanted to support him with a diverse cast of creatures from the different worlds in the Book of Ages. Many of these concepts came from setting prompts, such as “peaceful farming community disrupted by polluting machines” with a mandate that the characters feel playful and humorous. If the team laughed when we saw it, we were on to something!

The prompt for the Kitty Litter was simple: “we want some bad guy cats, and we want them to be a big, dysfunctional but loving family”. One of our talented artists, Taylor Sauer, was responsible for exploring that space, and I think she did a fantastic job!

There were quite a few characters that didn’t get used, from creature ideas to Kitty Litter concepts. We made a music video memorializing the Cucumber Man, who just barely got squeezed out. Maybe next time, Cukes.

There was also an entire robot civilization that we’d like to see more of, but you can meet Ch1p, one of their Guardians, in the later levels of the game. The team has a lot of fun ideas about what his world could look like; we would love to explore that further in the future.

What was your philosophy for designing the game?

We wanted our game to be accessible to a wide range of players, with content for lots of different skill ranges. Beating the game by earning the minimum number of pages is very achievable, but discovering all of its collectibles, unlocking all of the costumes, and earning all of the pages in each level is a much greater challenge.

We wanted to build a game that delighted our players through control, character, and adventure.

We tried to inject our personality as a studio into Lucky’s world so that our players could sit back and get lost in a fantasy land that felt welcoming and joyous; a place where you want to explore and hang out.

Given the nature of the characters and the game’s appeal, could you talk about the difficulty in balancing the game appropriately for the targeted audiences?

This was something we put a lot of thought into. The bright and welcoming nature of the game invites a wide range of players to give it a spin, and we wanted the experience to have several ‘tracks’ that would offer challenge and fun for all of them.

Specifically, each level in the game has up to four collectible pages — each emphasizing different gameplay aspects — that the player can earn in a playthrough. Each world has a boss door that is unlocked by those pages; however, we balanced it such that if your motivation is to simply beat the game, then a minimum number of pages is required from the levels. Is a particular area too hard or otherwise not your cup of tea? You can still progress toward the boss by focusing on different levels or puzzles. We gave players a lot of agency in how they can accomplish that goal.

For our completionist players (I’m one of those!) or players who want a greater level of challenge, ‘one hundred percenting’ the game is a much more robust task, asking the player to master their skills, tricky combat scenarios, and devious puzzles. These players will be able to unlock lots of fun costumes (and maybe find a few secret ones?) and see everything we’ve poured into the game. Good luck!

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