Shin’en Multimedia, a developer that has brought us recent titles such as Nano Assault Neo, Jett Rocket and FAST, is no stranger to Nintendo platforms. I first took notice to them during the GBA’s launch with Iridion 3D, which had mind blowing visuals at the time and a killer soundtrack. We reached out to them to ask a few questions and they’ve taken the time to provide us an interview. Shin’en’s Manfred Linzner shares his thoughts and experiences on developing for the 3DS, WiiWare and Wii U.
Marcello: First off, thank you for taking the time to provide us an interview. I’m sure you guys are busy with the titles that are in development, as well as with E3 approaching. When Nano Assault Neo released for the Wii U on November 19th, 2012, in North America, I was blown away at what you guys achieved with the console (and scored it a 9.0 out of 10, which you guys graciously shared on the game’s site). Roughly how long did it take for you guys to develop Nano Assault Neo?
Manfred: It took around 6 months from getting the devkits until the game was finalized. Of course we had a good starting position because we already made Nano Assault for Nintendo 3DS before. Although Nano Assault Neo is no port, it shares the same ideas and universe.
Marcello: A notable thing about your studio is their focus to develop solely for Nintendo consoles. How has your relationship been with Nintendo over the years?
Manfred: I think we got treated very well over the years. We got good support and we got early hands on GBA, DS, Wii, 3DS and Wii U devkits. That gave us a head start on each of the consoles. Besides that, they always have an open ear when we ask for specific things in the SDKs.
Marcello: Aside from Nano Assault, Shin’en also has the Jett Rocket and F.A.S.T. IPs that Wii owners seemed to really love. I will admit, I recently purchased F.A.S.T. and Jett Rocket for the WiiWare to play on my Wii U. I have to say, playing both of those blew my mind that I was playing a WiiWare title. What was it like developing for the WiiWare?
Manfred: It was a very fun time. Coming from the DS, the Wii felt like a complete new world to explore. Instead of one texture, we suddenly had 16 textures at once that we could pack one into a single triangle. Also, the PowerPc CPU was amazing. The Wii was quite a unique system with its new controls and the first digital Nintendo shop. We were very happy at this time to launch smaller projects on WiiWare that had no chance otherwise on the retail channel.
Marcello: Now here’s a question I’m very curious to know. Some viewers, as well as developers, seem to knock the Wii U’s hardware. However, you guys at Shin’en are a prime example of a developer that knows how to showcase visuals on the platform. It’s clear that the Wii U is a powerful console when utilized properly. How has your experience been with the Wii U? Is it more powerful than people have been led to believe?
Manfred: It’s certainly much more powerful than most people think. However, that doesn’t matter so much. A console will always lag behind technology the longer it is on the market. It’s simply games that count. I’m pretty sure we will see amazing games in the next months on Wii U. The hardware allows many new ideas to explore, and this is what matters.
Marcello: Recently, you guys released a trailer for the sequel to Jett Rocket for the 3DS. This now marks your fifth title for the 3DS, the first four being Nano Assault (which was our site’s very first review copy), Art of Balance TOUCH, Fun Fun Minigolf TOUCH and Nano Assault EX. How did you guys come about deciding to bring the sequel to Jett Rocket for the 3DS?
Manfred: Jett Rocket just feels perfect for 3DS and the eShop. We wanted to do a classic action jump’n'run with a lot of different gameplay styles. What could be better suited then the 3DS for such a project.
Marcello: What do you guys think of the Wii U’s Miiverse? Has it been a helpful platform to see what fans of your games are saying?
Manfred: Absolutely. We were totally amazed by the fan feedback to Nano Assault Neo. We also used the Miiverse to learn about what people liked most in the game and what not so much.
Marcello: One feature missing from your titles has been online play; Nano Assault Neo and FAST being the main games that I would’ve loved to play online. Are you guys looking into online play for future projects on the Wii U?
Manfred: For the future, we plan to add online play to more of our games, when there is a real benefit for the gameplay. Games like FAST would be, of course, a perfect candidate for that.
Marcello: What has been the difference(s) bringing games to the WiiWare versus the Nintendo eShop on the Wii U? Is there more flexibility?
Manfred: We enjoy very much that we now have more freedom in pricing and release dates. This is certainly a big plus for gamers and developers.
Marcello: If Nintendo were to approach you guys about developing a title from a specific Nintendo franchise, which would be the one that you would love to work on and why?
Manfred: Of course this would be a very great honor, but I think we will rather realize our own dreams in the future.
Marcello: Thanks again for your time Manfred. I am eager to see your studio’s future titles!