Several months ago, little-known indie developer Zordix AB announced it was creating a Wii U-exclusive follow-up to its popular 3DS watercraft racing game, Aqua Moto Racing. To date, only a handful of pre-rendered pieces of artwork have been released, but with a full reveal planned for E3 next week, it’s only a matter of time until Zordix AB becomes one of the many trusted Nintendo supporters.
Speaking with founder Matti Larsson, join us as we find out about how Zordix AB plan to best Nintendo’s own Wave Race by giving us beautiful HD visuals, full online play, and expanded gameplay options!
Can you tell us about your team and what you’ve created in the past?
Zordix is an innovative game developer and publisher far up in the north of Sweden, where jet skis are all the fashion in the summertime, as the sun never sets up here, and snowmobiles are king in the winter.
I started to play and make games in the 1970s on an Apple II personal computer. After that, Commodore 64, Amiga, PC, and Nintendo consoles came along. Five years ago, I had the chance to start my own indie studio, Zordix, and hire other experienced game developers and young, new talent.
Since then, Zordix has created five games that are available on the 3DS. First two were the DSiWare games 1950s Lawn Mower Kids and Valet Parking 1989, and then, we did our first game for 3DS called Real Heroes: Firefighter 3D with the American company Scientifically Proven. Last year, we released our own 3DS games Aqua Moto Racing 3D and Snow Moto Racing 3D and now, we’re ready for Aqua Moto Racing Utopia – coming in 2014 on the Wii U!
Sounds like things are on the up! How did you find the path to becoming an approved Nintendo developer?
I had been in the business for twelve years making lots of games, so the process was very straightforward, as Nintendo was looking for DSiWare developers at the time I started up Zordix.
Tell us about your Wii U project, Aqua Moto Racing Utopia.
Aqua Moto Racing Utopia for Wii U is a watercraft game with both runabout and jet ski vehicles. It’s a really big game with world-ranking online gaming, single-player championships, multiplayer party game modes, topped off with a free-ride leisure mode full of surprises. I hope many will notice that this is a very interesting Wii U game coming in 2014!
It has been under development for more than a year and will be released during the end of 2014. Right now, we are increasing our office with a test and community lab for all the online game testing and online tournaments.
The single-player experience is divided in two divisions, like the competitions in real life. There are championship career modes for both runabout and jet ski vehicles. It’s like getting two games in one! With the unique Wii U controls and the extra screen, up to five players can play together in the living room.
Being on a Nintendo console, the game is likely to be compared to Nintendo’s own Wave Race series. How do you plan to make your game stand up against comparisons?
It is fantastic to race around in water and it is hard not to be inspired by Wave Race. At the same time, we got our own feeling in the steering and in how fun and easy it is to get started. Compared to Wave Race, which is a bit old, it is obvious that we will have more levels, full HD, online play with world-ranking, both runabout and jet ski vehicle types, support for all different Wii U controls, real simulation of interactive water, and many new game modes.
So there are indeed a lot of things new and different compared to Wave Race, to answer your question! Even if one goal is to achieve more than any other water racer before, we’re making sure it’s all about having fun!
Just how much variety will be packed into the final package?
The Aqua Moto Racing trademark is to combine high-speed watercraft with the possibility of collecting boosts, both as power-ups on tracks and by performing stunts while you race. Let me make an example: the game allows you to jump a high ramp, do a trick for boost and cash, stick that perfect landing, and then rotate in order to round a buoy to get the boost bonus, and then boost away from the competition — all in the same flowing motion!
Apart from that, there are many tactical options during a race, such as which shortcuts to take and where to boost to pass your fellow players. There are many different dynamic hurdles and animal wildlife that may interfere to consider. The game becomes very intense the more you play in the different career modes and the online gaming with ranking gives you the possibility to play endless matches for fame and glory.
On a bigger level, you have to win enough money from stunts and championships to be able to buy new vehicles. By figuring out which vehicle is best for which track, the player can more easily progress in the game and beat personal, regional and world records.
When can we expect to seen a full reveal of the game?
Fortunately, there is already a lot of artwork and renders that use the same 3D models and environments that are in the actual game! So please check out the pictures in this very article to get a good sense of what the game will look like. We aim at releasing the first such material at E3 this year. Please stay tuned to Nintendo Entusiast for the first video footage and screen shots, as E3 is coming along shortly.
What kind of mutliplayer modes are you planning to implement?
The online team play sets out to specialize in the two-team aspect so that you can compete in the world rankings together with a family member or a friend. This adds an interesting dimension to online gaming and it will be a lot of fun! It is a great way to enjoy the game together.
Are you developing the game with Unity?
It is built with Unity Pro and we have added all sorts of techniques of our own as plugins; for instance, the optimized water simulation code.
What are your plans for the game’s soundtrack?
For each specific venue, we have created an original soundtrack to enhance the immersion and make each place as exotic as possible. Everything — from the instruments, orchestration, and music style — has been chosen to create the right mood for that specific environment. If it is a canal city in China, you will hear traditional string instruments and, if it is a naval base in the icy seas of the far north in Russia, you will hear a classical orchestra with a dark choir hymn. Also, the ambient soundscape of each venue you unlock is special.
What is next for Zordix in terms of new projects?
Apart from testing, tuning, and releasing Aqua Moto Racing Utopia in 2014, we’re working on more titles for the Nintendo 3DS, like the ATV game, Dirt Moto Racing 3D, and the build-and-race-your-own-car-kart-style game Box Car Kids. Then, probably some more Wii U projects as well. There is no set date for those new projects, but we’ll work hard and, when they have reached the right fun factor quality, we will start to show and tell more about them.
Thanks to Matti for taking the time to answer our questions. We’re looking forward to seeing the game in action next week!