Interview with Zordix’s Matti Larsson: Aqua Moto Racing Utopia, Nintendo Switch, Exclusive New Game Announcement

We just had the pleasure of interviewing Matti Larsson of Zordix about their team’s latest release, Aqua Moto Racing Utopia. In it, we discuss some details about their new game, their thoughts on the Nintendo Switch, and what new games they are working on.

Marcello: First off, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions on your studio’s latest game, Aqua Moto Racing Utopia. Why don’t you start by talking a bit about the game itself?

Matti: Hi Marcello, nice to meet up with you. Aqua Moto Racing Utopia is a really challenging and modern looking water jet ski racing game for TV consoles. It combines extreme speed, stunts and state-of-the art water simulation into fun gameplay.

Marcello: Now this is a series that started on the mobile platforms (iOS, Android), then jumped forward to the 3DS and now onto the PS4, Wii U and Steam. How does it feel seeing this series evolve over the years?

Matti: It is extremely satisfying that we’re finally up in size and quality for all the major TV consoles. Featuring three main single player Championship campaigns, 4-player Multiplayer, 8-player Online, and lots of additional game modes. Utopia provides the biggest high-quality aquatic racing experience of its kind in our time!

Marcello: Roughly how long did it take to develop AMR Utopia?

Matti: I would say between two to three years, with a long polish phase.

Marcello: In the past, tricks were pulled off using touch-screens, but this installment was designed with consoles specifically in mind. How did you guys come up with implementing a trick system in AMR Utopia?

Matti: We wanted to make a game where you really use the controls of the modern consoles. Extreme equilibristic use of controls has to pay off. Even if a game like this should be easy to get into, there is nothing like being rewarded for your skill.

Marcello: So there is local and online multiplayer for the game. For local, we noticed there is a mode called Party Games that is absent from online multiplayer. Any chance that will be available in the near future? I mean, who doesn’t want to head online doing some Duckling Mama matches?!

Matti: Yes, indeed, I would love online Duckling Mama matches. The Party games can actually be developed further as we will add more online features to the game. It depends a lot on the community around the game what will be most wanted.

Marcello: How did you guys come up with the Party Games idea?

Matti: I like the playfulness of Party game modes and think it is important for the evolution of new fun gameplay. Aqua Moto Hockey comes as a natural idea for Hockey fanatic Swedes. But for Duckling Mama, there was this guy in our test lab that showed his all time favorite game with ducklings in a bath tub and we just snapped at the idea of doing something similar. We tried a lot of different ideas, and the party game modes still in the game were the most fun.

Marcello: Visually, the game is incredibly vibrant and inviting. More importantly, you guys were able to hit 60 frames-per-second on the PS4. Was that a difficult task at all? Were any sacrifices made from initial development to get a smooth framerate in place?

Matti: It was really hard, since we got great artists that want everything to look its best. We had to chose the right level of graphical detail and look into everything that may affect performance.

Marcello: Now the PS4 and Steam versions are currently available, with the Wii U version still in progress. Any time frame for that version’s release? Also, will there be any Wii U-specific functionality?

Matti: We started off the project working on a Wii U version only. Then it became apparent that we needed more funding and also that PS4 was the best seller. It will be hard to do Wii U specific features like 5 local players and keep the same look. We’ll try to give the Wii U version a special feeling, since we can do some more tuning of the game and tweek things in the gameplay even further.

Marcello: Now I have to ask, with the Nintendo Switch releasing in a few months, what are your thoughts on the console? Are you guys going to be (or are currently) developing for it?

Matti: Now we’re aiming to combine our back-to-the Wii U work with preparations for a Switch version. We’re always trying to target new consoles like Switch with interesting games, a bit like a mini Ubisoft.

Marcello: Any chance we will be seeing AMR Utopia releasing on the Nintendo Switch? This way we could be riding the waves anywhere at any time.

Matti: I’m inviting investors and/or publishing partners to come along for that. There are so many things we’d like to do and it would make sense to get what we feel is a great game out to an audience that is so good for it. It has been a tradition for us from the start to support the Nintendo platforms.

Marcello: AMR Utopia has an Easter Egg in Sunshine City’s “Leisure” mode that I won’t ruin for those who care to explore (that of which I found by joking around). Are there Easter Eggs in every level or only that particular one?

Matti: Yes, in every venue there is at least one red Z ball you can jump and grab that will trigger a unique experience. Sometimes things to play around with are dropped from the sky, sometimes a fun joke is made in an interactive scene. Playfulness is again something I think is important; even if this game is serious fun racing to begin with it opens up for a free exploration water world experience.

Marcello: Are there any new projects in the pipeline for you guys at the moment?

Matti: We got a very exciting new game in the pipeline. Snow Moto Racing FREEDOM. A unique snowmobile game where you can race in large open snowy landscapes choosing your own path, of course filled with breath taking stunts, Snow Cross arena competition and lots more. Snowmobiles are huge here in Sweden, and in the north of the U.S. and Canada, and there hasn’t been a snowmobile TV console game for ages.

Marcello: Is there anything you’d like to add as to why all the readers should give Aqua Moto Racing Utopia a look?

Matti: It’s well-tuned with increasing difficulty, and if you like racing games and/or stunting skill games this is certainly a good pick. A lot of content and game modes makes it perfect for parties, and both hardcore and casual players alike.

It’s really easy to pick up and play – and have fun with – and a lifetime to master for the experts!

Marcello: Lastly, is there any exclusive info you can share with us and the readers here on Gamers Xtreme?

Matti: Yes, we’re working on a new online space action in VR game idea that will appear on Kickstarter. I hope enough people will like it, in that case that will be a lot of fun too. 😉

Marcello: Thank you so much again for your time, Matti! We look forward to seeing more from the team at Zordix.

Matti: Thank you so much. Always a pleasure.

Stay tuned for our review for Aqua Moto Racing Utopia in the very near future.