Developer Interview with Frozenbyte: “Wii U is a truly powerful console”


The Wii U has been out for over half a year now and we’ve seen some truly strong indie titles hit the platform, with many more to come. One of the launch indie titles was Trine 2: Director’s Cut (which was the enhanced and ultimate version of Trine 2) that graced the console day one. I had the opportunity to speak with Julius Fondem, the Marketing Manager over at Frozenbyte, about their experience developing for the Wii U, as well as a bit of info about their new upcoming game, Splot.

Marcello: First off, thanks for taking the time to provide us an interview Julius. It’s been quite some time since Trine 2: Director’s Cut was released for the Wii U. How did you guys go about choosing to bring Trine 2 to the console? Did you guys approach Nintendo or did they approach you?

Julius: No problem, it’s my pleasure! Nintendo approached us before Trine 2 was released and asked us if we were interested in developing something for their upcoming console. We showed them Trine 2 and they definitely wanted to see it on Wii U. We were impressed with the hardware they were planning, and everything went very naturally from there.

Marcello: Trine 2: Director’s Cut is by far, one of the best looking games available on the Wii U. I did notice the visuals were crisper than those on the PS3/360. What was it like developing for the Wii U? Is it more powerful than the public seems to believe?

Julius: We have really enjoyed working with the Wii U hardware. It was rather easy to port our modern proprietary engine to it, and it does pack the punch to bring to life some really awesome visuals. The Wii U is a very modern console with a lot of RAM which helped us out a lot during development. The hardware capabilities have improved quite a lot from the original Wii, and the Wii U is a truly powerful console. The console is definitely more powerful than the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Marcello: Roughly how long did it take to develop Trine 2: Director’s Cut for the Wii U?

Julius: We started developing Trine 2 for Wii U in early 2012 so a bit under a year, all in all.

Marcello: Will we be seeing the three heroes return in the near future for another quest in Trine 3?

Julius: We here at Frozenbyte have great love for the franchise and definitely want to see the three heroes make a return.

Marcello: Were there any differences bringing your game to the Nintendo eShop compared to the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade? If so, what were some of them?

Julius: With the eShop, Nintendo has made it easy to approach and open for indies which is awesome. Nintendo allows us to self publish our games, updating our game is free of charge, and the eShop is still so fresh that we have great visibility there.

With PSN and XBLA, it used to be that you had to have a publisher to publish your games (i.e. no self publishing) and updating the games cost a significant amount. Also, these platforms used to regulate things more than the eShop.

Now however, Sony has changed their game up quite a bit, making self publishing a reality for indies and making the platform a lot more approachable, which we really appreciate. As for XBLA, similar rumors have been circulating around recently but we don’t know enough to comment on that. .

Marcello: Now you guys are currently working on a new title called “Splot”. Could you describe a bit about the upcoming title?

Julius: Splot is a cartoony platformer with emphasis on simple controls and competition. In Splot you control an alien named Splot who has crash landed onto a foreign planet. You guide him through levels by jumping around avoiding perilous obstacles and hazards, while trying to save your lost brethren. Splot is coming out at a later date on iOS, Android, and computer platforms.

Marcello: How was your relationship working with Nintendo? Would you be working to bring future titles to the Wii U (such as Splot)?

Julius: Working with Nintendo is great. They are extremely supportive towards us (and I’ve heard similar words from other indies) and communicating with them is very easy. We appreciate this a lot.

We would definitely want to bring our future titles to the Wii U. With Splot though the situation is a bit more complex as the technology we’re using isn’t the same as for Trine 2: Director’s Cut, so there’s a lot of technical work in getting Splot running on “high end” consoles like the Wii U. We are pushing as hard as we can to get Splot out on iOS, Android and computer platforms first. Depending on Splot’s success, we’ll see about other platforms. So, we haven’t decided on the Wii U for Splot yet, but it is something we’re considering.

Marcello: Thanks for your time Julius. I look forward to seeing more about Splot and other future titles Frozenbyte releases!

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