Today we’ve gotten the opportunity to talk to Richard Hill-Whittal about Icon Games’ upcoming WiiWare release, Soccer Bashi. They’ve released a couple games on the service previously, but this looks to be their most interesting outting yet. I’d like to thank Richard for taking the time to talk with us.
Thanks so much for joining us today. Before we get started can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Cheers I am Richard Hill-Whittall, head of development at Icon.
I’d say for us right now there are a number of issues with WiiWare – such as performance thresholds and the lack of any sort of post-release functionality. We can’t reduce prices, do sales, update or add to games already out there. Once it is on the store that’s it – I find this incredibly frustrating as a developer. I’d love to be able to go back to Stunt Cars for example and tinker with it, take on-board some of the comments – but I am not able to do anything.
How has working with Nintendo been during the process?
Good – they are helpful and always respond to questions promptly.
Your next release on the system will be Soccer Bashi. What can you tell us about this game?
It is a reworking of the classic breakout style game; with lots more block types, big enemy bosses and loads of stuff to explode, all combined with a level editor where you can build your own levels and then create your own unique tournaments using your new levels. Essentially you can make your own game.
How did the idea come about to combine games like Arkanoid or Breakout with soccer?
The two just gelled together in the way we planned the game; including having extra control of the ball with volleys, and the strategic element of trying to score goals and creating your own Tournaments – either from the game levels or user created levels. You can set the number of tournament rounds, tweak the rules, etc.
Also from a visual and audio perspective it allowed us to bring in an element of crowd support, crowd swells, vendor calls and so on which really give it a unique atmosphere away from the usual space or ambient setting.
Yes – there is a goal and an AI controlled ‘Goalie’ bat, if you time a shot right, using the volley for extra speed you can sneak a ball or two past the goalie and complete the level and get a ton of extra points. It adds a whole extra element and strategy on top of the traditional block breaking.
The screenshots show a bunch of different backgrounds and playfields. Do these have any effect on the gameplay going on above them?
The backgrounds are just visual – although each background zone has its one boss.
How many different levels can we expect to see in the game?
There are 90 levels in the game, and you can create and save up to 100 additional levels from within the editor.
Are there any multiplayer modes in the game?
We are still finalizing this.
One of the most asked about aspects of arcade style games is the ability to compare scores with people around the world. Will Soccer Bashi have any form of online leaderboards where people can do this?
Unfortunately our time and financial budget couldn’t cover the extra time it would take to implement this. It would be fantastic if WiiWare had a generic leaderboard system, like you can get with iPhone. But for us it would take several extra months of development time to implement and fully test.
Breakout style games work best with a paddle style controller. Obviously, you don’t have that on Wii. What are the control options for the game going to look like?
Wii Remote – I hate dpad control on breakout style games, whereas the remote provides a very fluid level of control that matches a paddle.
Can you talk about release date and price point yet?
We are asking for a 600 point price (Nintendo have final confirmation). Release date – hopefully August.
Thanks so much for joining us today. I’m really looking forward to this game, as it has always been one of my favorite types of arcade style game.
Thanks a lot for letting us chat about Bashi; it has been great fun to make and we are really excited to see it out there.
I’d like to, once again, thank Richard for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. They recently had two games go gold, so it’s been a very busy time for them. I’m really looking forward to this release and I hope after hearing him talk about it that you might be as well. Look for Soccer Bashi to come to WiiWare sometime during the month of August.
Friends of Nintendo Okie
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- @fedorenkoglez I'll call them out on the show next week for you. [=^) 10 hours ago
- @setaimx Once you find the first you'll start finding them a lot more often. 11 hours ago
- @fedorenkoglez That's my fault for leaving the show early. [=^) I can't wait to get my hands on the game. It looks gorgeous. 11 hours ago
- @retreyo_gamer Glad you enjoyed it. Shannon couldn't put his 3DS down for 5 minutes while we recorded that show. 13 hours ago
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