With XMPT Games’ aim of bringing an 8-bit feel to the graphics of DiscStorm, the developers achieved this goal extremely well when the game launched earlier this year on PC and Mac. And together with its retro inspired graphics, DiscStorm ultimately harkened back to the developers’ desire of playing classic multiplayer matches but with more modern features. Finding nothing similar on the market to speedy arcade games like Bomberman, XMPT Games decided to go it alone and make the game themselves. Pitching the game as “fast-paced and furious arena combat, where split-second reactions are essential to dodge flying discs as they ricochet around at breakneck speed”, XMPT’s efforts soon caught the attention of Mastertronic who helped publish the game. And so as too explain a little bit more about the game, I spoke to Stuart Morton (Mastertronic, Producer) who filled me in as to why DiscStorm won’t be coming to Nintendo consoles in the foreseeable future.
What inspired DiscStorm?
I think for the developers it comes from playing games in the past such as Bomberman. All the old console games involved having you and all of your friends playing on the same TV screen. That is where this is coming from. The team just wanted to creat their own sort of fast-paced local multiplayer game.
Local multiplayer… so will there be an online component?
Yes. It’s going to support online as well. Online play is going to be a little bit after release because it needs a lot more work.
You stated that the online component isn’t quite ready yet. Will this be patched in after release?
Why is the game out before the online features have been fully implemented?
Mainly because of the bugs in Unity, so until Unity have fixed them, it can’t be implemented.
Any chance of DiscStorm coming out on consoles?
Yes. Console versions will be happening next year. It should be XBox One, PS4 and Vita as well.
One thing I did notice… I think, personally, the graphics would have scaled pretty well to the Vita screen because the Vita screen is quite small and this might be almost like an opinion or criticism. But I found that the graphics were, because they’re sprite-based and because the resolution is not high, I found them to be quite blocky for big sized screens. Isn’t that, in your opinion, maybe a criticism that might hamper the commercial appeal of the game?
I don’t think so. I think with indie games in particular, the art style is what it is. There’s plenty of more lo-fi things out there. It has quite a good mix of sort of the artwork and art style for the characters and all that mixed in with the more lo-fi gameplay arts.
What was the production time for DiscStorm?
The team have been doing it part-time for a couple of years now. They have full-time jobs so it’s been done in their spare time essentially.
DiscStorm was done on Unity?
What sort of experience does XMPT games have prior to this game?
Yes, they’ve done games on mobile and on Playstation Mobile and things like that. This is kind of their first proper big release that will be on major platforms such as PC and on consoles next year.
How big is the team?
It is a mixture of full and part-time people but it’s around about four people.
DiscStorm is coming out on PC. What has reaction been like from Microsoft and Sony, and would you be looking to approach Nintendo as well?
I don’t think we’ll be looking at a Wii U version just because the money it would involve to get it onto the console. We’d probably struggle to make that a reality at the moment. With Nintendo announcing a new console coming up in the future. I really don’t know where that’s going to leave the Wii U…
What about the NX? Do you have any plans of porting DiscStorm across to the NX?
We’ll have to wait and see exactly what it is. Until we know what it is we can’t plan for it.
Given the fact that the game is coming out on consoles next year, and I love my Vita, but why are you choosing to still support the Vita?
Originally, the developers were only making a Vita version because they love the Vita and they have the developer kits. That’s what they wanted to do. Obviously when we signed [the game] as a publisher, it made sense to us and them. It’s also very suited to living room gaming. Consoles is where it’s natural home is. Four people sat in front of their TV shouting at each other, having fun. So it made sense to also expand that to things like XBox One and PlayStation 4.
One thing I noticed is that because the graphics are quite blocky when the game is blown up on a big TV, the screen is just a bit too big for the blocky characters. Obviously I’ve asked about this before, and I’ve said how DiscStorm would look perfect on the Vita because the graphics are almost its scale. One of the criticisms that a lot of Vita games have is that when they’re blown up on the PS TV, a lot of the games, regardless of how beautiful they look up on the PS Vita, they look really blocky when they transition over to say a 50-inch TV. Will you be looking to incorporate more detail as a part of the transition from Vita to console?
Well, ultimately all the assets are being made for the PC so they’re all designed with PC resolutions in mind. Automatically, it means it can down scale to consoles and Vita. No extra work is going to have to be made to make them up to that. The PC already has resolution support in there above what consoles can currently do. Assets will scale down from PC and such things.