Continuing our series of talks from the Nintendo Power party last week is a new studio and new publisher that have only recently hit the scene. Right now, Red Fly Studios and Gamecock are working on a Wii exclusive and DS exclusive start to a new series of platform adventure games under the heading Mushroom Men. James Clarendon, Programmer and Developer at Red Fly Studio, took some time out of the party to chat with us about the Wii title, Mushroom Men: Spore Wars. He tells us what exactly this goofy looking game is about, how some game mechanics will work, and how the world got like this in the first place.Newsarama: James, thanks for chatting with us. It seems that Mushroom Men is filling a need for a real, “hardcore” platformer on the Wii. Why did you go for that first, as a first studio outing? James Clarendon: Frank Teran, who’s the concept artist, met with the heads of studio, gave them this concept, and it seemed like a great fit. We’ve got the real world, we’ve got the three-inch tall mushrooms running around, scavenging our trash, but more than anything it’s fun hopping around and coming up with interesting forms of locomotion. NRAMA: Why specifically target the Wii? JC: Well, it’s an open platform, it’s easy to develop for. We’re a new studio, and we knew we could tackle the Wii pretty easily, where for a 360 or PS3 title we’d need 80, 90 people. So we thought, let’s go with something that is easy to work off of, that we can get started pretty quickly, and we had people with Gamecube experience as well, which pays off when working with the Wii. So yeah, it’s a good move for a maiden studio. NRAMA: Good Deal. So what are some of the things new to platforming in this game? JC: There’s a lot! I mentioned earlier the interesting locomotion, and that’s one of the things we put in there. We looked at all the Mario games and things like that, and liked the way they did things, but wanted to go our own direction with movement. For example, Cap-gliding, where you can split your cap to hang-glide around environments, is an interesting alternative to the double jump. Rather than just going boom, boom, here you have more control over it, and it’s actually just pretty fun! The Sticky-Hand (that works as a grappling hook), well obviously you’ve got some Bionic Commando influence in there, cause, we’re fans! Because we have a lot of vertical levels, it was a necessity, it was “I wanna get up there, but I don’t want to have to run around for half an hour to get up there, so let’s figure out a more interesting way to do it.” NRAMA: Now, Gamecock has quickly established themselves as having a unique brand of humor. Is that something that’s going to shine through in this game? JC: Oh my, yes! There’s quite a bit of humor in here, but I don’t want to give too much away. There are a lot of really interesting and humorous bits. One of my favorites is in the second part of the mountain level. It’s probably my favorite part of the whole game, but you’ll have to play to see it! One of the funniest moments of the game that I can tell you about happened to me on a play-through just last week. I was playing and along comes one of these mine-carts, and I’d already ran past several of them, but one of the programmers had put a mouse in this one, and I didn’t expect it, and all of a sudden this mine-cart is rolling by with a mouse just squealing in terror “eek eek!” It just really made me laugh. NRAMA: Now tell us about the weapon creation system here. JC: The “Scavenger System” NRAMA: Yes. How does this work? How many pieces do you need for each weapon? JC: Each weapon is divided by type. We have Slashing weapons, Thrusting weapons, Bashing weapons, and Special “Radical” weapons. When you highlight a potential weapon in your creation/selection screen, it will show you the items you need to pick up to create it. It will also tell you the pieces you already have. So maybe you have the DS Stylus, but you need a Safety Pin and Rubber Cement. It will also tell you which items you can find in the level you’re currently playing. The Radical weapons, which used to be called “bad-@$$” but we changed cause we were going for an “E” rating, these each have 5 or 6 pieces, as opposed to 3 or 4, so they’re harder to find, but they rock. The P-zapper, my personal favorite, shoots out a giant bolt of lightning from the first of it, and it’s just awe-inspiring. In addition to the Scavenger System as collectibles, we also have individual collectibles per level that unlock concept art, and we also have the meteorites that are scattered around throughout the game, and if you get enough of them you get a cap uprgrade, for more health and a special ability boost. If you collect ALL of the meteorites, a little secret awaits you which I will not give away, but it reveals some of the truth about our own universe. NRAMA: Quite the promise! So, did you have fun with this game? JC: Oh my God, did we have fun with this game. There were so many ideas, so many different opinions, people coming up with interesting ideas all the time, but we got everything focused, where we were with the game, and said this is where we need to go with it. We had to throw away a ton of ideas, which hopefully we’ll get into a sequel. Mushroom Men: Spore Wars is due in stores November 11, 2008. Click through above for all-new screenshots from the game.
Red Fly Developer Talks Mushroom Men
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