Electronook announced that it had become an approved Wii U developer a couple weeks ago and that their first two projects, Talismatch and Victoria: Blood Of The Garou, would be heading to the Wii U eShop as console exclusives. As with many debut indie games just announced, there wasn’t a huge amount of information out there about either game, so Nintendo Enthusiast got in touch with founder and lead programmer Adam W. Over the course of the interview, we find out more about both games, the impending launch of a crowd-funding campaign, plans to make use of the Wii U’s GamePad in interesting ways, as well as a possible 3DS port of Victoria: Blood Of The Garou.
Who are Electronook and just how into Nintendo are you?
Electronook is primarily myself. I came up with the concepts and then took them to my sister. Though primarily I’m a “concept artist,” Souzou’s been with me every step of the way, helping to develop both games. We’re gamers and avid players of consoles, portables, and PC titles, reaching across a variety of genres. It’s fun to flip the tables and work on creating them. I’ve been a gamer since I can remember. My first experience with games was a copy of Pac-Man for the Atari VCS and was quickly followed with Ultimate Wizard on C64. The first console I owned was the Atari 7800, quickly followed by the NES and original Game Boy. I’ve been a Nintendo Enthusiast ever since.We’re based in the US. In the interest of privacy, I don’t want to get much more specific than that yet. While Souzou has had some art featured — she did several achievement icons for the Steam version of WAVES — and I’ve done a few things personally, Talismatch will be our first published game title, however.
Why did you specifically come up with Talismatch and how would you describe it to newcomers?
Talismatch came out of necessity. We actually began working on Victoria first and came to realize that the scope of the game we wanted to create outreached what we could fund ourselves. Being first-time developers, any attempt at crowd-funding would be met with a healthy — and understandable! — dose of skepticism. In response, we decided to put The Big Game on the backburner and start off with a smaller, self-funded project.Talismatch will be a matching game with gameplay similar to titles like Bejeweled or Jewel Quest. Difficulty will ramp up with progression with larger grids. We’re also aiming to include a challenge mode. We’re going to focus on the core experience: single-player, tight controls, strong gameplay. But we are working to include as many control types as we can, from using your finger on the GamePad to potentially using a Wii Remote.
Can you tell us any more about “The Big Game,” currently titled codename Victoria?
Victoria is the story of a young woman living in an Eastern European town, living a simple life with her father, mother and two siblings. After a hard day’s work, the family goes together to a gathering, celebrating the Fall Harvest. During the night, Victoria blacks out — and when she comes to, she’s on her knees. Her mother and siblings are gutted and her father’s being pulled away, covered in blood and screaming. I could go further, but I’d like to leave that for later.The game will be a 2.5D action platformer, inspired by the titles we grew up playing on consoles. Just to list a few — Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden, Konami’s Castlevania, Sunsoft’s Batman — and each one left a lasting impression. In the game, Victoria will be armed with her father’s twin harvesting sickles. At first, she’ll only wield one, but with power-ups, she’ll gain the ability to use two to strike twice as fast. And there will be special talismans, unlocking other surprises!We plan to have a detailed and involved story, original voice acting, and a rocking soundtrack! We’re working on something very special for the soundtrack in particular, but we need to leave something for our Kickstarter!
Considering these will be your first two games, it would be understandable to be concentrating on completing them, but have you had any thoughts about Wii U exclusive features?
I got a Wii U the day it launched in North America — with my wife’s help (thanks, Andrea!) — and I’m in love with the platform. I absolutely want to take advantage of the platform we’ve chosen and I’ll be experimenting with what to do with the GamePad. We definitely want to do more than provide a mini-map! Miiverse, for example, is great — and we’re hoping to integrate it into the gameplay experience. We’re still thinking about it!
You previously mentioned that Victoria will have a crowd-funding campaign. Can you share any details yet?
Ah, yes! As our ideas for Victoria began to coalesce, we realized we wouldn’t be able to deliver fully with our current resources. I hold a full-time job, my sister is a freelance illustrator, and a game like Victoria would take time and frankly, money we don’t have to spare. I’d like to be able to devote myself full-time to game creation. But 1.) I promised my wife I wouldn’t make her solely responsible for our household’s income, 2.) promised my sister that I’d pay her for her time, too, and 3.) voice acting and original soundtracks aren’t free!We’re still working on figuring out the base goal for the campaign, but we definitely want to keep it reasonable and in line with our status as new developers. Stretch goals are being considered, including being able to hire a dedicated 3D artist, additional levels, and potentially even contracting another indie group to port Victoria to the 3DS. We’re also thinking of what rewards we can offer supporters. Of course, anyone reading this can send ideas to me at email@example.com!
I know it’s hard to pinpoint dates so early in development, but when might we see either game?
We’re expecting our first Wii U dev kit to arrive soon! We want to get things working on the hardware and build around that. You’ll see more from Talismatch and Victoria soon!
How did you find the path to becoming an approved Nintendo developer and did the Unity deal play a part in your decision?
I’ve been really lucky and have been able to establish a repertoire with several indie devs on Twitter — @rcmadiax, @arcanepixel, @eddigeronimo, and @Kurisuellegarde, just to name a few. They’ve been super supportive and prodded me to do more than dream about releasing a game on a Nintendo platform! I see a huge opportunity on Wii U for indie devs. It’s never been easier to get your game on a Nintendo platform and the hardware itself is incredibly capable. Nintendo’s been awesome about giving indies awesome placement on the eShop and featuring trailers on their YouTube accounts.To be honest, the Unity licensing deal made the decision to apply to Nintendo all the easier. Work had already begun with the free version of Unity, but it was going to take time to be able to afford a Unity Pro license and even then, that doesn’t cover console releases. The one thing I really would love to see is a figurehead who could handle the indie program. I’ve been told about Dan Adelman, but he went quiet on Twitter long before I became involved. I hope he or someone else can come back and be the indie “Major Nelson” for Nintendo systems.
What is your current plan of action and how about any goals for the future?
Well first off, we need to get Talismatch done and released! We’re hoping to accomplish this later in 2014, first with a release in North America and with other regions to follow a short time later. With that under our belts, we’ll work on the playable demo of Victoria and launch our crowd-funding campaign. If that’s successful, we’ll work full time on Victoria! I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but my sister and I can’t help but talk about future games in the Victoria world if the opportunity would arise. The community will decide! After that? I dunno! But I’m excited to find out!Every message of support, every spark of interest, drives us. You can follow me on my personal twitter @seven5three, my sister @souzou_inc, or you can follow Electronook Games @electronook_.This has been really wonderful. Thank you for the interview!
Thanks to Adam for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to stay tuned to Nintendo Enthusiast for all the latest news about both Talismatch & Victoria: Blood Of The Garou.