Development studio Flying Wild Hog is all but guaranteeing the launch of the Nvidia Shield Console will receive good Juju, at least in the form of the new Juju game. Designed from the ground up for co-op play so kids and parents can explore together, the game is a launch title for the new Shield Console device. Klaudiusz Zych, creative director at Flying Wild Hog for Juju, talks about the new game and the new gaming platform in this exclusive interview.
What were your goals heading into this game?
Juju is the game we always wanted to make. There are not many games that you can play in cooperative mode with kids. Juju is fun, it's accessible and cheerful. Even four to five-year-olds will have fun playing it. But it's also a game that older players won't get bored with and will have fun playing together with youngest.
What’s the storyline in this game world?
Juju’s father, Jambee, heads out to perform his daily rituals, unaware that Juju and Peyo have followed. While the elder is momentarily distracted from his work, the curious duo steps in, accidentally releasing a terrible and ancient spirit. Jambee bravely dives into battle with the creature, but he is not victorious and barely manages to pass a magical mask to his son before being captured. Now, it's up to Juju and Peyo to gather the mystic keys and magic embers needed to seal away the spirit and save the day.
How do you feel you're pushing things forward with this game?
It's the first time you can play Juju on platforms other then PC, PS3, and Xbox360. We are happy to have Juju on Nvidia Shield Console. We think it's going to be a great platform for this kind of relaxing and entertaining games. Next gen consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) push hard to deliver games for mature audience but they forget about games for kids.
Can you talk about the single player experience?
Juju is an action side-scrolling platformer game. The game brings a unique art style too the genre with brilliantly animated landscapes. The game has been designed for family-friendly multiplayer so kids and adults can enjoy the adventure together. From towering robots to giant sea creatures, players will go head-to-head with huge bosses to gather the four pieces of the mystic key. The game is filled with secret areas, hidden levels, and other game modes to keep gamers busy long after saving Jambee.
What type of multiplayer is there?
We designed Juju's multiplayer to be the strongest of its features. We focused on cooperative multiplayer mode. And it was most important for us to have it very accessible. Players can opt-in and opt-out of the game at any point, even in the middle of a nasty boss fight, just by pushing a button on a controller. It's also a real non-competitive multiplayer experience where two characters are cooperating and have a shared score. Even when one of characters dies, the other can help him to recover.
How have you worked with Nvidia on your game?
Guys from Nvidia helped us a lot with this game. Thanks to this cooperation, we achieved exactly the same quality of rendering as on PS3 and Xbox360 with the same quality textures and materials, and with even better performance.
What have they provided in terms of tech that has helped with development?
We had access to a special build of Unreal Engine 3 that helped us achieve console-quality shader materials on an Android device. It's unlike any other game on Unreal Engine 3.
What are your thoughts on the evolution of Android as a platform?
Android wasn't designed as a gaming platform from the beginning. It was meant to run on mobile phones and host mostly regular apps. But it evolved and with each version getting better at running games. Still, the worst aspect of Android as a mobile gaming platform is the sheer number of different devices running on it and the market segmentation. Thankfully, it's not such a problem with Android TV.
What excites you about Android TV?
It's a console with a more casual appeal compared to next gen consoles. It's more affordable for players. It's also more accessible for developers, since it doesn't have as complicated certification processes. I think developers will appreciate it.
What impact do you think Nvidia Shield Console could have within the gaming ecosystem?
The biggest change with Nvidia Shield Console is its streaming system. It turns games distribution upside down like digital distribution did a few years ago. It's too early to say how it will affect the gaming ecosystem. It all depends on what type of subscription system will be used, how players will adopt to this kind of gaming, and how developers will use it.
What do you see Nvidia Shield Console opening up for game developers moving forward?
We like working with Nvidia very much. We had great support and communication with the guys at Nvidia. I think they are on the right track to attract developers to the platform.
How does it take advantage of Nvidia Shield Console’s functionality?
We added support for two-player cooperative mode on a single console with two controllers. It's a lot of fun to play in co-op.
How was it adding controller support to your game?
It's a bit different from the standard console approach, where each controller is bound with one player and has a unique player ID displayed on the pad. We missed this feature and had to adjust. But implementing the controller support was a straight-forward operation.
What impact has Tegra X1 technology had on the gameplay experience Shield Console users will have?
It's more impressive hardware then we initially expected. Compared to PS3 and Xbox 360, we achieved better performance in a native 1080p resolution.