Two Tribes discusses “Toki Tori 2″ and the Wii U.

NotEnoughShaders.com would like to thank Collin Van Ginkel, the co-founder of Two Tribes,  for giving us his time to do this interview with us about their new game “Toki Tori 2″ for PC (Steam) and the Wii U.  We appreciate that Two Tribes is willing to reach out and be open about discussing the development of their games.  Recently, NotEnoughShaders.com had a chance to play the PC version of Toki Tori, and we posted our impressions/gameplay footage here.  European Nintendo 3DS owners can currently download the original Toki Tori for Game Boy Color from the eShop.  We would also highly recommend downloading the remake of Toki Tori currently available on Wii through the WiiWare service.

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It’s been over 11 years since the first Toki Tori was published on Game Boy Color.  What percent of the staff from that game are involved on Toki Tori 2?

Toki Tori 1 started as a hobby project, where four core people were working on the game. Three of those started Two Tribes, and all three are now also working on Toki Tori 2! Thanks for reminding me, that is actually kind of special.

Toki Tori  Game Boy Color The first level, with a cool waterfall animationToki Tori  Game Boy Color Intro sequence. Our hero, Toki Tori!

 

Two Tribes talked about how gamers can play Toki Tori on the Wii U GamePad without the need of a television.  How far away can a player be from the television to play Toki Tori 2 on the GamePad?  Also, do you have to keep the Wii U console turned on during the entire time you play it on the controller?

It’s important to realize that the range depends on the distance of the GamePad to the Wii U console, not the television. Toki Tori 2 will have the same range as any other game, but since the final hardware isn’t in the shops yet, and consoles aren’t in the homes yet, it’s too early to determine what the final range will be.

As for the Wii U console, yes it has to remain on during gameplay. The console will always be generating the graphics and audio, regardless of whether the TV or the GamePad is displaying the action.

 

Two Tribes has said there’s no slowdown when playing the game on Wii U’s GamePad instead of television.  What are some things that can cause slowdown for any game running on the controller?

It’s even the opposite. In our test setups we see the GamePad screen updating quicker than our LCD TV’s if we send the exact same image to both. My guess, but this is pure speculation, is that the only time you may have missing visuals, and thus a delayed update, is when the signal breaks down when you move too far away from the console.

 

 

As far as programming goes, how long did it take Two Tribes to get the entire game streaming onto the GamePad?

We run our games on our internal engine which is set up to work on many platforms. We added the Wii U tech to this recently and basically when you add the platform specific code, everything works sort of instantly. So it’s difficult to say how much time a single feature costs to support on the Wii U.

As for the game running on the GamePad fully, I think the game design dictates if it will work more than any technical issues. Since we’re aiming to not have many menus and HUD elements in Toki Tori 2, moving the game to the gamepad didn’t represent a significant design challenge.

 

The 3DS eShop and WiiWare on the Wii have demos for games.  Will there be a demo available on the Wii U’s eShop to attract gamers who might be on the fence about downloading the game?

We’re hopeful that Nintendo will duplicate some of those Steam concepts on the Wii U online store.

We’re in favor of having a demo for Toki Tori 2. For our games on Steam this has worked really well, with healthy conversion rates to the full version. You also see that when a game’s price is reduced, a lot of people who previously downloaded demos will then upgrade to the full version. So it has a longer lasting effect as well.  We’re hopeful that Nintendo will duplicate some of those Steam concepts on the Wii U online store.

 

Were there any ideas that Two Tribes had for Toki Tori 2 (Steam/Wii U versions) that ended up being scrapped during development?  For example, did Two Tribes always plan for Toki Tori 2 to be one big level?

Toki Tori 2 was planned from the start as more of a smooth flowing experience instead of a game made up from worlds filled with levels. Having a big interconnected world helps to create that experience, so that has survived throughout the development.  As for axing ideas, that happens almost on a weekly basis.  Some things that made total sense at the beginning just don’t fit when everything comes together.   This goes for creature designs as well as gameplay systems, you need to be open to axing anything that doesn’t add to the experience.

 

 

Toki Tori’s download size (after compression) is expected to be around 300 MB to download.  Many developers criticized the 40MB size limit imposed on games for the Wii’s WiiWare service.  It even kept some games from appearing on the service completely.  Has Nintendo given any such restrictions or limits on download sizes for eShop games on the Wii U?

I actually do not know the limit, or if there even will be one.  But I think we can safely assume that it will not be that small this time around. The company is pushing retail title downloads as a major feature, so it doesn’t make sense to limit downloadable games to something as small as 40 megabytes.

 

Trent Oster of Beamdog, who released MDK2 on the WiiWare service, criticized WiiWare’s minimum sales requirement of 6,000 units before receiving any payment from Nintendo.  Is Nintendo going to force Two Tribes or any developer on Wii U’s eShop to reach a minimum sales requirement before receiving payment like they did with the first Wii?  Do they enforce minimum sales requirements before payment with 3DS’s eShop?

I haven’t personally seen the contracts, and I’m not sure if I can talk about it if I had. But rest assured that if it’s being enforced on us, that it’ll be the same for every developer. Which also means you’ll hear about it soon enough from an unhappy developer.  :)

For the record, we weren’t fans of the requirement either.  We don’t think it served the purpose it was designed for.

 

Nintendo had a pretty lengthy certification process for small studios who wanted to put their games on WiiWare.   In what ways has Nintendo made the process easier for smaller developers to get their games on the services for 3DS/WiiWare?  Is Nintendo taking smaller, indie studios seriously with the Wii U?

Nintendo made us feel very welcome and they’ve been quick to respond to any questions we have had

I actually think this is a bit of a misconception based on some of the horror stories that got published recently.  Basically Nintendo makes it really clear what they expect from a title to pass the certification process, and they get back to you relatively quickly after submitting the game for their checks.  If you fail on a major point, they’ll tell you right away so you can work on resubmitting quickly. It’s really not as bad as some people make it out to be.

As for treating smaller indie studios any differently, I don’t think they will introduce different requirements just because we’re an indie studio.  The requirements exist to ensure a base level of quality and consistency for players of the system, and that doesn’t change for smaller games.  Nintendo made us feel very welcome and they’ve been quick to respond to any questions we have had , so our experience is certainly a positive one up until now.

Two Tribes has talked about toning down the difficulty to ensure that more people can beat the game, with hard levels being optional.  By doing this, what is the youngest age that you’re hoping to attract with this game?

We are not really toning down the difficulty, it’s more like we’re spreading it more logically throughout the experience.   Toki Tori 1 was very old school with a linear level progression system in which each subsequent level was meant to be more difficult.  In Toki Tori 2, we’re creating a ‘path of least resistance’ for novice players and we hide the more difficult content in optional paths and corners of the game world.

As for the age group, I’d say anyone who can think things through will be able to have fun with Toki Tori 2, we do not have a certain age in mind.

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We would like to thank Collin Van Ginkel for the interview.

Two Tribes is always answering questions from fans about the game on their twitter.

The official website for Two Tribes can be found here.

Check out the trailer for Toki Tori 2 at this link.

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