Mario responds to our Rugby Challenge
We knew that French commentary was going to be challenging, especially when French isn’t a language New Zealanders are exposed to very often. So we approached it with very careful planning.
While there were a couple of French speakers on the development team, we knew we needed a high level of scrutiny and fluency in order to get it right. We hired a French tester to work internally, and employed high quality localisation specialists to translate and customise the scripts as well as test the results. The actual recording was done in France, with members of the development team on hand to provide direction and guidance.
Overall, I expect we have overcome that challenge sufficiently, and have a point of difference compared to a lot of other sports titles out there, and one which our fans in France will hopefully appreciate. We’ll of course be waiting to hear from those French players themselves for their judgement on it.
Have you guys recorded new motion capture for the game? If so, what sorts of stuff did you add?
We did go back to the motion capture studio for Rugby Challenge 2. Some areas like tackles, dummies, sidesteps, and fends have been completely redone with new content that better captures reality.
In addition, we did a lot of technical work around motion, dynamic animation, animation blending, and player positioning in general. The result is much smoother and more natural motion of players around the field, without compromising control responsiveness.
Tell us about the cutscenes, and the general atmosphere stuff; the Haka, cup presentations, and so on. Has there been much work on that area of the game?
Presentation - including the graphics and cutscenes - was something we received a lot of positive feedback about in Rugby Challenge. We set a new bar for rugby games. So, we didn’t felt the need to either push the envelope or reinvent the wheel here, and consequently prioritised resources elsewhere.
The front end has been overhauled, with a fresh, brighter look. But for the most part a lot of ingame content remains the same or similar. And, while there has been some work on the underlying graphics engine to tweak a few things, the changes are only subtle to the untrained eye (outside of framerate improvements.)
Should Vita owners take the fact that the game hasn't been announced for their platform as an implicit suggestion that it's not ever coming? Or is there a chance that you might end up porting the game down the line?
I wouldn’t rule it out as a possibility, but it is certainly not a given and not in the current plan.
The release of the Wii U, recent announcement of the PlayStation 4, and the likely unveiling of the next-generation Xbox are causing various amounts of interest in certain sectors of the community. Do you think we'll see a Sidhe game, such as in the Rugby Challenge series, on any of these platforms in the future?
I think this next generation of consoles represents a perhaps insurmountable challenge for games based on niche interests or sports. The Rugby Challenge series already operates at a budget level well below that of many other sports titles on the current generation, and entry level budgets required for titles on this next generation are well beyond the scope of what would be commercially viable for this sort of console retail product.
If Rugby Challenge goes to this next generation, I’d expect it would only be distributed digitally to reduce up front launch costs. Even then, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo need to sell a lot of units in the right territories to create the kind of install base required for success. In other words, it may happen, but it wouldn’t be early in the cycle.
Outside of Rugby Challenge, we are staying open minded with respect to these platforms. As an incremental platform for our PC and Mac games, there could be compelling reasons to port titles across. Time (and the disclosure of more information) will tell.
Can you spill the beans on what the secret, special unlocks might be? Is there a team of Marios to play as, for example?
If there was a team of Marios, it would be the worst team in the game. Fortunately, there isn’t one.
To be both serious and completely honest, we haven’t really added any content or features you might consider secrets or gimmicks. We had a lot we wanted to achieve with the sequel, and every dollar of the budget spent went towards something that would improve the core experience. It’s great to have a lot of secrets and unlockables in the game, but it’s better still if the core game is everything it can be.