The Nintendojo Interview: Varia Games

The ReVeN developer tells us why you should check out its upcoming Wii U eShop game!

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 02/20/2014 09:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

While Wii U has struggled in terms of support from third party developers, a recent boom of indie content has made Kickstarter a powerful weapon in Nintendo’s arsenal. Nintendojo recently had an opportunity to speak with Austin Morgan of Varia Games about the studio’s new Wii U title ReVeN that was successfully funded through Kickstarter. With a few days left to go in the campaign, there’s still plenty of ways for the title to improve, and we found out why you should check things out!

Nintendojo: First off, I just want to say congratulations on reaching your Kickstarter goal! What’s the process from here? How far along are things?

Austin Morgan: Thanks! Now that we’ve hit our goal we would like to reach a couple stretch goals over the remaining days of the Kickstarter. We’ve got a new gameplay trailer coming out soon that we’ll be showing to different news outlets to get more press coverage and articles all before the Kickstarter ends. Things are coming along well, but we haven’t had a whole lot of time to put into the game itself over the last month because running a Kickstarter is a full time job!

ND: Speaking of stretch goals, is it hard to plan around them during your Kickstarter campaign? ReVeN has additional content on the way based on whether or not it hits additional goals. Since you’ll presumably have to account for that, how does that affect the development process?

AM: It can be tough to plan them in the sense that we needed goals that made sense as to why more financial backing would be necessary. Some people asked why our game isn’t already in 1080P or why aren’t we already making good use of the Wii U GamePad. The truth is that we are going to try to do everything on our stretch goal list whether we get the money or not. Obviously several of these are simply impossible without more funding. But we simply won’t have the time to do all of them since we’ll be dedicating only half of our time to making this game (unless we hit our $37,000 stretch goal). We’ve left the game design open enough so that we can update it with more features if the funds come through.

ND: At what point should fans expect to see ReVeN show up on the eShop? Does the team have a planned release window yet?

AM: We’re shooting for a release on Steam and Wii U eShop by February of 2015 if we reach our stretch goal of $37,000. Otherwise we will release closer to February of 2016.

ND: With a release date one to two years away, what challenges does that present when it comes to selling gamers on investing in the title? How do you overcome those challenges?

AM: A big challenge on selling gamers what is essentially a pre-order of the game is making sure they fully understand the scope of our project and what they’re investing in. In the beginning it helped potential backers knowing that the game shared similarities to other great titles like Mega Man, Metroid, Crysis, and Deus Ex. We’re now focusing on establishing ReVeN as an original game by revealing more of it’s unique gameplay mechanics (particularly the Energy Divergence Module and its subsystems) that really separate it from similar-looking titles. ReVeN has a lot to offer and we want people to feel confident that we can achieve these goals when the money comes through for us, which is why we spent four months developing the game for Kickstarter and programming a huge chunk of the game mechanics, the game is functional and already works; we’re planning to get the Beta out before July. We’ve also been very transparent with where we stand in the development process and we’re planning to start broadcasting development vlogs on Twitch TV so people can stay up to date on our progress.

ND: Of the titles you listed, ReVeN, at first glance, seems to resemble Metroid the most. Is it challenging to find the right balance between inspired gameplay and original gameplay?

AM: When you’re looking at a 2D side-scrolling shooter, yes it is a challenge, but not impossible. Super Metroid had very well thought out gameplay mechanics for a side scrolling shooter, I would even argue near perfect gameplay, at least, for what it was trying to do. It would be difficult to make a side-scrolling open world shooter that didn’t share at least some of these characteristics. We certainly have some gameplay similarities and I see no reason to hide that fact. Certain notable similarities include: Mach speed, Wall jumping, different suits (Gears), an arm cannon, and a grappling hook. Some notable differences between Super Metroid and ReVeN include: the ability to choose how powerful or useful any single aspect of SyRek’s abilities are and switch them around on the fly, mineral collection for construction of abilities (instead of finding them), a non-linear approach to exploration and plot progression, a storyline, built in level creation tools, and 40+ unique abilities SyRek uses to get around the game world and fight off the ReVeN. We believe ReVeN has a lot to offer and has well achieved that balance between inspired and original gameplay.

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