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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

Can you talk about how New Super Lucky’s Tale specifically came to be? Why was Switch the right platform for an expanded version? What was behind the decision to make this edition an exclusive?

After the launch of the last Lucky game (Super Lucky’s Tale on Xbox One), we felt like there was more we wanted to accomplish with the franchise. Every team member voiced how passionately they felt about spending more time so we could create the definitive version of a Lucky game.

In order to achieve this, we had to find a way to do it on our own. Playful supported that passion by investing our own money and time to reimagine and expand the game in all the ways we were excited about. A lot of work went into this game, and we truly hope players enjoy playing it as much as we enjoyed making it!

The Nintendo Switch is the perfect platform for New Super Lucky’s Tale. Its broad player base fits the style and genre of the game we’re making, and we believe its community has a hunger (as we do) for more delightful platforming games. Plus, being able to take the game on the go is a huge added benefit!

So, when Nintendo approached us about helping Lucky reach as many players as possible, we could not resist! Everyone we’ve worked with at Nintendo has demonstrated a lot of love for Lucky, and their support, passion, and excitement over New Super Lucky’s Tale has been amazing. From our initial announcement at E3 to everything leading up to launch, Nintendo has helped to bring awareness of the game to millions of new players around the world; certainly more than we could ever have reached on our own!

Did the team ever consider a straight port of the original, or was this “new” version always the plan?

This decision was driven largely by the team. We had a giant list of improvements, additions, and stories we wanted to tell, the scope of which went way beyond the traditional definition of a port. We ended up with something closer to a remake.

Part of that passion to keep pushing came from listening to our players and reviewers: we all want the best feeling character controls, and the best and most seamless 3D camera. For New Super Lucky’s Tale, we focused considerable effort in these areas specifically. We are aiming for best-in-class!

Since Super Lucky’s Tale was originally published by Microsoft, did the company have to give their approval in any way for New Super Lucky’s Tale to happen on Switch? Did you always have their full blessing?

We have a great relationship with Microsoft as we do with all platform holders. Their enthusiasm and support for our mission and vision is crucial for the success of all our game franchises. The Microsoft team has been super excited and supportive of our expanding the Lucky franchise across other platforms, as they also see this as a great way to bring in a whole new generation of players into the ecosystem of fun, family-friendly interactive content. We view the Lucky franchise with a very long lens, so there will be more to share on the future of Lucky in the coming months and years!

Did you encounter any technical hurdles in bringing the Super Lucky’s Tale experience from Xbox One/PC to Switch?

As our readers might imagine, these are very different hardware profiles which required a deep-dive by our engineers to help us more fully understand the different feature sets of the Nintendo Switch. The team really stepped up to the various challenges, and I feel the result is a fun, polished experience from beginning to end.

New Super Lucky’s Tale was first revealed during the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct. What sort of planning went into making that moment happen?

What a fun opportunity! This came about through our partnership with Nintendo of America, and we agreed that this was an ideal venue for announcing the game, and showcasing what we had been working on. In addition to announcing the game during Nintendo Direct, New Super Lucky’s Tale was also present across several demo stations in Nintendo’s booth, and we even got a chance to present the game during Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse Live, which was a lot of fun!

As I was most involved with the Treehouse Live segment, I’d love to go “behind the scenes”. For us, much of the planning came down to juggling our development schedule to account for this opportunity and to push forward some of the testing for a specific level so it could show well in an isolated state. It’s intimidating to have to pick a tiny slice of the game that will do the heavy lifting of representing the whole experience, so we picked a ‘playground’ level that featured varied gameplay, lots of fun characters, and a nice payoff at the end.

Once you know you’re going to show something live, that level gets an incredible amount of scrutiny, so we were optimizing and responding to feedback until we finally ran out of time for another build. From that point, I was practicing the playthrough so we could show lots of fun gameplay, call out unique features and moments, and generally make sure I didn’t waste everyone’s time by dying all over the place. We ended up having a blast with Sam and Morgan from Nintendo’s Treehouse Live team during the segment, and we think the game showed really well.

Many fans were excited to hear that there will be a physical version available. How did that come to be?

That was a common request that we were hearing from our community, so we knew we wanted it to happen. And, thanks to the support of Nintendo of America, it is now a reality! Much of the work was around getting the look and feel of the case just right (shout out to our marketing and branding team!), making sure the game could fit nicely on the various cart sizes, and hitting all the timelines required to ensure the game arrives to retail stores across the Americas in time for our launch date on November 8th.

We have also recently announced a partnership with PQube to bring the physical version of the game to retailers across Europe, Australia and New Zealand!

Since you’re dabbling with retail, would you be interested in producing an amiibo for Lucky?

That would be so, so amazing! Over the years we’ve taken it on ourselves by 3D printing Lucky statues to give our dev staff to recognize certain milestones. The form, color, and personality of the characters really lend themselves well to the medium. Seeing Lucky, the Kitty Litter, or even the supporting characters such as the Wormals, Yetis, Golems, or Gillys as amiibo would be a dream come true for us!

What is one new addition/aspect of New Super Lucky’s Tale that you’re personally excited about?

Lucky’s new movement package is peppier and more fun to use than ever, his new slide and seek moves are great, and the attention to detail across all the levels represents some of our best work. And the story! And the camera! Hmm. That’s just one thing, right?

Do you think this is a brand you’d like to grow in the future with more characters and adventures?

Absolutely! Playful is an IP-focused studio at its core. We own our IP, and we want to see each game and franchise grow and flourish with new characters, stories, worlds, game types and mediums! When I see how far the world has evolved from the first Lucky’s Tale, I get even more enthusiastic for what’s next.

Most importantly, we’re continually humbled and grateful to the players who have gone on this journey with us. Our greatest hope is that we’ve created something memorable and joyous for our players, and we want Lucky’s adventures to grow along with them.

This will be the first platforming game for some of our players, and we consider that a big responsibility, so our goal has been to make that experience as playful as possible. I can speak for myself and many on the team when I say that our great love for gaming came from our childhood memories of wandering in the fantastical worlds presented in games like Super Mario Brothers, Banjo Kazooie, Klonoa, Crash Bandicoot, and the list goes on!

We hope that our players look back fondly on their time with Lucky, as it’s been our great pleasure to bring his world to life.

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