The developers of the 3DS’s Fractured Soul took some time out of their busy day to answer some questions about exactly what it’s like to work on Nintendo platforms and tease just when we may hear more about their next project.
Who are Endgame Studios? What is the studio’s mission?
Endgame is essentially 2 guys – Nick Kovac and myself (Grant Davies) – although we do get some other people to help us out on our projects. We started Endgame with the idea of making the sorts of games we grew up loving, in the 80s and 90s.
Where did you come from and what have you previously created?
Long ago I worked at Melbourne House, and then Nick and I both worked at Torus for a few years before starting Endgame. Endgame has been around for about a decade now – although we’ve largely helped out other developers and publishers with commissioned work. Our first original game was Fractured Soul, released late last year.
Which games or systems inspired you to get into video game development?
It’s interesting because I grew up with Commodore computers (C64, Amigas) before moving to PC and later consoles, but Nick grew up with Nintendo consoles (NES, SNES) and he moved into consoles earlier than I did. So we have these different inspirations and fond memories, but we still come together on a lot of points. Although platform games is one of our shared passions, I think I have a pretty eclectic and broad taste in video games. For the games we’re making at Endgame, probably the biggest inspiration has been the early Mega Man games. For Fractured Soul, you can probably see a fair bit of Ikaruga shining through too. Nick and I played a lot of Ikaruga together – although I was terrible at it!
How did these games and experiences influence you to create Fractured Soul?
At the time we started talking about Fractured Soul, platform games weren’t in vogue at all, but we thought it would be good to make a retro type platform game – the sort of game we’d both enjoyed playing. Because of the dual screen nature of the DS, we figured it would be interesting to explore duality in the game, borrowing heavily from Ikaruga. I guess you could describe Fractured Soul as Ikaruga meets Mega Man.
What actually is Fractured Soul and how can our reader’s get their hands on it?
Fractured Soul is a dual screen platform game for the 3DS, where the player needs to switch screens to avoid enemies, hazards, and navigate the environment. The player can switch screens at any time and as much as they want by simply tapping either shoulder button. It makes for some pretty crazy action platforming. It’s available in the Nintendo eShop.
Have you had much contact or support from Nintendo?
Yes, Nintendo are a pretty friendly lot. We’ve worked on Nintendo platforms for basically all of our careers, so we’’e always had contact with the folks at Nintendo.
The eShop is widely perceived as a huge step in the right direction for Nintendo, do you agree with this and what do you like most about the eShop?
Definitely. I think it’s now pretty obvious that a considerable amount of us want an option to obtain our content digitally. I know that I am certainly too lazy to walk down to the store if I can buy it right from my device. Seems like the eShop is taking off pretty well, which is great. The thing I love most about the eShop is that it is curated – in other words, we don’t have to wade through pages of rubbish to see good content.
Most of the stuff on the eShop is pretty cool, and good value.Comparing [the eShop] to something like the App Store, where any old rubbish is allowed in – as a consumer it’s impossible to find good products.
What is Endgame working on now? Have you ever considered using crowd-funding for a project?
We’re working on getting Fractured Soul up and running on other platforms so that folks who don’t have a 3DS can play the game too. We’re also working on our next project – doing some game design and a little bit of level design. We have considered crowd funding, and perhaps we’ll try it to help fund our next project, but we’ll need to get to a point where we can show a little more I think. Perhaps late in the year we’ll look into this further.
The 3DS is on fire right now, but the Wii U is struggling. As a videogame developer, is there anything you think Nintendo should do differently?
It’s hard to say. We saw how the 3DS was hyped before it was released, then it went through a really slow patch, and then it quickly picked up again. We’re seeing the XBone being criticised at the moment but I’’ sure it will bounce back too. The truth is, with Nintendo hardware, one of the strongest levers in pushing sales is through their awesome first-party game titles. So as much as I’d like to say “fund indie developers to make amazing content for the Wii U”, their best strategy is probably just to keep on releasing their own titles to boost the hardware side of things.
On Nintendo Enthusiast we have a weekly feature called The Score, where we ask our readers a question and poll their responses. What was your game of E3 2013 and why?
I guess technically we’ve known about the existence of Super Mario 3D World for a while, but since the name and trailer were released at E3, I think it counts! The trailer looks awesome and I can’t wait to play this one.