Chubby Pixel is an independent game studio founded in Milan, Italy, in 2012 by Fabio Ferrara and Giulia Airoldi. To date, they have worked on and released four games, but their fifth and latest title, Woodle Tree Adventures, is the first game to be coming to the Wii U eShop.
With Chubby Pixel being a two-person team, they’re concentrating on releasing this Super Mario 64-inspired platfomer on Steam some time in June this year. They hope to follow this up with a Wii U release a couple of months later, possibly making use of the GamePad’s abilities in the process. Nintendo Enthusiast got in touch with Fabio Ferrara to find out more about this beautiful game.
Chubby Pixel is currently a two-person team made up of Giulia Airoldi, a concept artist and character designer, and myself, Fabio Ferrara. I’m the game designer, programmer and 3D modeler. I started with the Sega Mega Drive and the Nintendo Game Boy. Then I started to fall in love with Nintendo and all their best games — Nintendo 64 and GameCube, in particular — with games like Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Have you created any games before that our readers may be familar with?
I’ve been creating games and little experiments for the last four years — you can check them out on my website. The experiments I’m more satisfied with are The Way of Life, an artistic game developed during the Global Game Jam, and a Zelda-style game I’ve created to test my skills with the Unity engine.
Woodle Tree Adventures is my latest and most complicated game to date. It’s a platform-adventure game with a total of six worlds to explore, with more to come at a later date! The game is inspired by the Nintendo games of the 90s, Super Mario 64 in particular. The whole gameplay is in fact a hybrid between an art game and a platformer; I tried to put a personal style in this game and I really hope you’ll like it! As for the development, we’re currently about a year into it. Over the past few months, we’ve dedicated our time to the marketing aspect, such as conferences and demos.
In the game, you’re a little tree trunk, created by his father for a fundamental purpose: save the lands from drought. Exploration and wander are the main aspects of the game. Gamers will have to orientate in the various levels and meet secondary characters that will help him in his adventure. An implementation we’ve been working hard on is the co-op mode. Gamers will be able to play with one of their friends, helping each other to defeat enemies. We’re still adding features like boss fighting and a mini-market mode in which you’ll be able to buy upgrades and objects. In fact, we’re asking the fans what kind of bosses they would like to see in the game!
The game is very colourful and child-like. What age range is the game aimed at and how would you describe the difficulty?
I think the age is between 8 to 16, but I hope hardcore gamers will like the game as well. The difficulty to finish the game is not high, but we’re adding features to make the game more replayable.
The final version release will include a lot of new features and will be released on Steam at first in June. A Wii U version will hopefully come later; we may even use the second screen for the co-op mode. We’re also hoping to release the game around the $2.99 mark.
We think it still has a great appeal to gamers and that there is the possibility of innovation if the device is used in a innovative way. It’s not difficult to become an approved developer right now. If you’ve developed some good titles, I’m sure Nintendo will accept your game. Nintendo contacted me by telephone and were really nice to explain everything I needed. I think, for now, it’s already well-organized.
When we’re all playing Woodle Tree Adventures, what will you be working on?
We’ve got plenty of ideas we would like to develop — Woodle Tree was just the start! I really would like to develop on the 3DS, but I think it’s a more complex process in therms of development. There could be a sequel, but we’ll see based on how its feedback is from gamers.