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[NintendoEverything Interview] n-Space talks Heroes of Ruin, Mary Kate and Ashley, Winter, Star Wars: Battlefront, and more!

Posted on August 19, 2012 by (@NE_Austin) in Features, General Nintendo, Interviews, News

First off, I can’t help but talk about Heroes of Ruin. It’s your guys’ first really “big” game, and if I’m not mistaken your first completely original IP on a Nintendo platform since Geist. Compared to spin-offs and movie games, what’s been different about Heroes of Ruin’s development?

We’ve really enjoyed working with established properties in the past and we’ve been truly fortunate to help enhance some amazing franchises, such as Star Wars, Tron and others. But as much as we’ve loved these experiences, it’s always exciting to start with the blank canvas of a new IP. That’s one of the reasons we were so excited to develop Heroes of Ruin. It was a great opportunity and very empowering to let our imagination truly run free.

As a game developer you have to overcome hardware challenges left and right, from squeezing the files into a small cartridge to — on 3DS — figuring out how to make the 3D effect function properly. When developing Heroes of Ruin, did you stumble across any challenges that you just couldn’t overcome? Features you simply didn’t have the means to implement, but wish you could have?

Because we were so ambitious with Heroes of Ruin, we dreamt big. A majority of our ideas were included in the final product, but some of our concepts had to be set aside due to various constraints. One concept we discussed including was a system to allow for downloadable content. We understand the role that DLC plays in this genre and how DLC would benefit Heroes of Ruin specifically, but the fates conspired against us on that one. At least for now.

Now that it’s out, what’s next? I know Roller Coaster Tycoon’s development is finished — and you have Skylanders on the way later this year — but are there other projects brewing? Do you predict that we’ll see more original IPs from you in the future?

What was it Yoda said in The Empire Strikes Back? “Always in motion is the future.” I can assure you that Skylanders Giants isn’t the only game we have in development, but it wouldn’t be proper for us to make any announcements today. Just keep your eyes on the official n-Space Facebook page and you’re sure to see a surprise sooner rather than later.

How often do bugs get through the testing process, only to have you slamming your head against a wall post-release? I imagine seeing a bug after the game comes out must be terribly frustrating!

It’s definitely frustrating for us to see players run into issues after a game is released, since our driving force in making games is to create an experience that players will embrace and enjoy. That’s why we do our absolute best to find and fix as many bugs as possible before the game ships — but the larger the game, the more potential there is for bugs to arise. To give some perspective, the typical game team squashes anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 bugs or more before a game releases.

For the most part, we find bugs the same way consumers do: by playing the game over and over in every way imaginable. It’s a much more deliberate process for quality assurance teams, and together we try to make the game as solid and bug-free as possible. But it’s one of those unfortunate facts of game development that some bugs are going to slip through the cracks, or consumers are going to come across situations that our internal and external testing groups never found. Our hope is that if a small number of players do encounter a bug, it’s not something that stops their progress or hinders their experience with a game we’ve poured our hearts into.

I find it interesting that you are one of the very few developers who really took up the polygon/3D-gaming helm on the original DS — alongside Renegade Kid and Nintendo — and you pretty much pushed the system to its absolute limits. Planning on doing the same with 3DS?

Thank you! We had a lot of fun pushing the original Nintendo DS to new heights, showing that it was capable of more than what some people expected. And in many ways, that mindset spilled over into Heroes of Ruin. From the start of that project, we wanted to create a game that pushed the boundaries of online play farther than any other Nintendo 3DS title. We designed the game so that it would be easy for players to connect with each other, use voice chat, compete in daily challenges, access unique website connectivity features, and jump in and out of anyone’s game at any point in the story. We wanted Heroes of Ruin to blaze a new trail for portable gaming — and it succeeds.

Why for the love of all things decent did you cancel “Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action!”? Plans on continuing the Mary Kate and Ashley series on 3DS?

Actually, we didn’t cancel the game. We didn’t even work on it. We worked on three Mary-Kate and Ashley games — Magical Mystery Mall, Crush Course and Sweet 16 — and all three shipped. The Wikipedia page for n-Space inexplicably links us to Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action, which is apparently a game Acclaim had in development at one point. But we weren’t involved with that project, so we couldn’t tell you what happened there. I can tell you, though, that we don’t currently have another game for the series in development. And I can also tell you this may be the first time we’ve been asked about the series in the better part 10 years.

Winter on Wii U. Any new rumblings around the office about it, or is it on the back burner until a publisher shows interest?

Frankly, I don’t think the office has ever stopped rumbling about Winter. There’s an intense amount of love among the team for the game. And the more we’ve seen the survival horror genre switch its focus from surviving to reloading, the more we feel the market is hungry for a game like Winter. So what’s the bottom line? The bad news is that we haven’t yet found the right opportunity. The good news is that Winter is just like any good horror movie monster. It’s not dead.

Finally, will you please make a Star Wars: Battlefront game for 3DS? Maybe port the second game to it? Too many people are looking for Battlefront 3. You could do it. You don’t need LucasArts’ permission. They don’t even have to know about it until it’s done. Make it happen.

You want to know a secret? We finished and released the Nintendo DS version of Battlefront 3. Seriously. Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron was going to be released as Star Wars Battlefront 3 until the console versions ran into problems. At that point, the Nintendo DS version of Battlefront 3 was rebranded Elite Squadron and released. So as Obi-Wan Kenobi might observe, Battlefront 3 was released “from a certain point of view.” Will we ever see a proper Battlefront 3, though? It’s tough to say. We’re huge fans of the franchise and would love to work with LucasArts again. And that’s a huge brand for them. But if a new game is going to be done in that series, it has to start at the top.

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