Interview with Daniel Coleman
So another Wiiware interview is here. Battery Acid was able to get an interview Daniel Coleman of Semnat Studios to talk about thier upcoming Wiiware game Eduardo the Samurai Toaster. Check it out if you’re interested.
BA: How far along is the development of Eduardo the Samurai Toaster?
Daniel Coleman: We’ve finished the game, and are awaiting Nintendo to go through their cert-sorta process.
BA: Oh great. Do you have a rough estimate of how long it will take?
Daniel Coleman: No clue! I suppose the game could see release as early as this month, but it could be May; maybe even June, but hopefully not.
BA: That’s good. I don’t want to sound rude but why Run and Gun? Being a Samurai Toaster sounds perfect for a hack n’ slash or beat em’ up. No french toast swords?
Daniel Coleman: Well that’s just how it worked out with the evolution of the character. The character of Eduardo underwent a lot of changes, and the final design was partially based off of Sonny Chiba’s character from “Shogun’s Samurai”.
The samurai theme has more to do with that design and inspiration for some of the levels, which I took from a bunch of samurai flicks I love.
BA: Oh that’s interesting. How does level progression work? Do you choose a level after completing the next or do you
Daniel Coleman: Level progression is linear, similar to metal slug. But at any time during the game you can go back to a hub area, and once you’ve unlocked an area you’ll be able to play any of them out of sequence. And you’ll just move on to the next level wherever you start from.
BA: Sounds good to me. Exactly how much length does this game have? Will I blow through the game in a couple of days, or will there be some challenge for people who have a history with run ‘n’ guns?
Daniel Coleman: It’s as long as any Metal Slug, I’d say. And there is a very tough difficulty option for fans of the genre. Taking one hit to die. And the four-player co-op certainly gives the game a lot of replayability.
BA: Does the amount of players affect the difficulty?
Daniel Coleman: Yes, it will adapt depending on how many people are added, or leave the game.
BA: That’s good to hear. How many different enemies are there? Could you give any examples. Maybe your personal favorites?
Daniel Coleman: There are around a dozen enemies, each one providing a different function. We wanted to have enough enemies to cover different attack and defense play strategies, and to be able to combine them together in ways that make for a wide variety of unique battles, simply depending on numbers and placement and combinations. I don’t know if there’s any one enemy
I prefer to fight over the rest, but rather a certain combination of different enemies.
BA: So how are the levels like? Are there platforming elements? Will we see vertical levels?
Daniel Coleman: Yup, there’s one vertical level. And there are platforming elements, but not enough that players will become frustrated. It’s a shooter primarily, with platforming added once in a while when it’s appropriate.
BA: Will there be bosses? Do you think we could see a banana on a segway? 😉
Daniel Coleman: We were doing bosses early in development, but they weren’t as fun as fighting swarms of enemies. And with our limited resources, we had to determine what we could do and do well. So there are no traditional single giant big fights like Gunstar Heroes does so well, but instead more like in a modern FPS title the climactic challenges will come from a combination of enemies, and volume. Great volume.
The last 10 minutes of the game are pretty nuts and I hope people like what we did there. It was a gamble, but I think it paid off.
BA: I hope it does. Do you think with the new storage solution, making games with dlc (more levels ect.) would be possible in the team’s future?
Daniel Coleman: The new storage solution is excellent, and perfect timing for us! But I don’t think it will change the file size cap for WiiWare games.
BA: So do you think you can reveal how big Eduardo is?
Daniel Coleman: It uses every bit of space we could use. 40MB is not a lot to work with, so you have to be careful with how you create the artwork. If I had it my way I’d draw entire levels as single larger drawings, layers of drawings. But with the size limitations you have to be clever and use repeating textures and assets. I think we did a good job of that. I saved half of the art space for the final level (which is split up into four parts). I wanted it to be something really special.
BA: Wow that’s good to hear for people who have a bunch of games already installed on their Wii. Do you think you can release a price yet?
Daniel Coleman: We have a price point we’d like to release Eduardo at, but Nintendo has final say and we don’t know what it is yet.
BA: Oh I didn’t know that it was Nintendo who priced it. Exactly how much downloads would be needed to be a success?
Daniel Coleman: If we sell anywhere near 15,000 units I think we can quit our jobs and make games full time. We don’t make much at our current jobs so we don’t need to make a ton of money. I just want to be able to pay the bills and make games full-time, that’s all I want.
BA: If Eduardo the Samurai Toaster is successful enough will it become a series?
Daniel Coleman: If Eduardo sells well enough and people like the game and want a sequel, we have many ideas for future titles.
We also have many ideas for other games.
BA: Will Eduardo the Toaster be a brand name? Like will the next games be maybe Eduardo the Deep Sea Toaster or Eduardo the Space Toaster? Would they stay in the same genre?
Daniel Coleman: I think we’d stay in the same genre, and he would probably still be a samurai. But the location can be anywhere, it’s not like we need it to make sense.
He’s a Brazilian toaster who wears a sweatband and samurai top knot. I don’t think consistency in environment is a huge concern, so we have a lot of freedom that way. 🙂
I already have an idea of a location for a possible Eduardo 2, if it happens. As in a main location for a large portion of the levels.
BA: Good to hear. While we’re sort of on the subject, in the process for creating the characters, what were the main sources of inspiration? Pure randomness perhaps?
Daniel Coleman: It was very random. The initial pitch: Eduardo the Magical Toaster. It was very silly.
I find it amazing that we’ve been making a game based off this ridiculous concept for so long, haha.
BA: Did he carry a wand or something?
Daniel Coleman: No wand. He was magical because he was alive.
I was five years younger, so I blame it on my youth. But I’m fond of Eduardo. 🙂
BA: Heh. Okay well I think I’ve ran out of questions. What would you say are some tips for people getting into the indie scene or even the design scene? Any final words?
Daniel Coleman: I don’t know if I’m in any position to give out advice. Ask me again in a few months once we’ve received sales data! That having been said, I would say just follow your passion and inspiration and work as hard as you can to achieve your goals. If you’re determined and put everything you have towards achieving a goal, I think you’ll be rewarded. Even if you don’t get the type of success you were hoping for. I’m very proud and satisfied with the work we’ve done, no matter the outcome of sales or reviews.
BA: Well then let’s hope it is successful. Thanks for letting interview you today and good luck with your future projects.
Daniel Coleman: Thank you, it was a pleasure. I appreciate the kind words.
Well this interview was fun to do if anyone didn’t get the whole banana segway thing it’s a joke from Arrested Development aka the best show in the world. You can check out Semnat Studios’ site here and check out their official blog here.
Also I doubt anyone got the whole thing about the Space or Deep Sea thing. It’s a reference to one of my favorite flash artists. Just look up James the Christmas Zebra.