Cubed3 Exclusive Interview | Vogster Entertainment on Robocalypse WiiWare

By Mike Mason 26.08.2009 3

The Robocalypse series has not made its way to Europe yet, having appeared as a US-only DS title, but that's all set to change with the latest entry. Vogster Entertainment's second crack at the robot-warfare games is Robocalypse: Beaver Defense, a WiiWare title that is launching around the same time as an iPhone version (Mobile Mayhem). We asked some the developers some questions that had been gnawing at our minds...
Image for Cubed3 Exclusive Interview | Vogster Entertainment on Robocalypse WiiWare

Cubed3's Mike Mason: Hello! Please introduce yourself and explain your role in the team.

Alan Martin, Producer at Vogster Entertainment: Hi - I'm Alan Martin, the Producer on Robocalypse - Beaver Defense. (Forgive the American spelling...)

As Producer, I'm responsible for keeping the Robocalypse 'gears' greased - overseeing the development of the game, and making sure everyone on the team has what they need so they can focus on creating a super-fun play experience!

MM: Robocalypse is a tower-defence style strategy game. What do you think sets it apart from others in its genre?

AM: Most TD games simply require the player to stop the enemies from 'crossing-the-line'. In Robocalypse - Beaver Defense, we add a little more strategy to the mix while keeping it simple enough so people that haven't experienced the genre can still jump right in.

In each level, players defend their HQ from destruction by the Beaver's evil robot army. The player is given two basic types of defences to use - towers (of course) and Hero robots. There are four different types of towers, each of which can be individually upgraded in two different directions - for range or power. The Hero robots can be controlled directly by the player, and are supported by various basic units, which the player does not control. The basic troops' AI is set up so it will support the player - from the medics who heal the Hero when he takes damage, to the builders who repair the HQ and key towers when they are attacked.

We also have tried to bring a great sense-of-humour to the game. This can be seen in the crazy weapons (like the Toasterizer Tower, which temporarily converts enemy units into toasters) and in the hilarious storyline, written by Jay Lender (a writer for Spongebob Squarepants) and Micah Wright. These guys wrote the story for the first Robocalypse game, and their off-beat humour really adds to the fun. When was the last time you got a chuckle out of a tower defence game?

Image for Cubed3 Exclusive Interview | Vogster Entertainment on Robocalypse WiiWare

MM: Could you give us a bit more information on the Hero system please?

AM: At their most basic, Heroes are 'moving towers' that the player can position anywhere on the battlefield. Before each level, players select which one of the six super-tough Hero robots they want to control. Each has his unique charms... along with special skills and weaponry - from Joe Commando, who wields twin chain guns, to Viper the Sniper, who is a long-range specialist - from his namesake weapon to his ability to drop anvils from the sky onto enemies!

The more you use your Hero in combat, the more experience he gains. For this experience, he earns Upgrade points that can be used to level-up various attributes, such as Hit Points and Armour.

A Hero not only has great power, but can also be used strategically - plugging holes in your (tower) defences, heading off enemy boss robots before they do too much damage, or even sacrificing themselves to enemy bombers in order to save the HQ!

MM: Online multiplayer is included. What modes do we have in there?

AM: This is actually another area where we are really trying to innovate on the tower-defence genre - by having online, multiplayer competitive battles.

There are two different online modes, which can each be played by two to four players. In Last Man Standing games, players face endless waves - with the player having the last standing HQ being the winner. Best Defender mode gives players a chance to compete for points - racing against the others to kill as many enemies as quickly as they can. The highest point total at the end of the pre-determined waves is the winner!

MM: The first Robocalypse game was released on Nintendo DS. What was behind the decision to put the follow-up, Robocalypse: Beaver Defence, on WiiWare?

AM: At Vogster, we were very excited to become a Wii developer and continue our relationship with Nintendo. The WiiWare service offered a way for us to become familiar with the hardware and get a game out sooner than we could via the retail path. It also seemed a great way to introduce the Robocalypse franchise to an audience that may not be familiar with the crazy characters and brand.

Once we decided to develop for WiiWare, the idea to do the game in a tower-defence style made a lot of sense - there were no true TD games on the platform, and the more-simplified strategy style seemed to lend itself better to this casual 'platform' (as opposed to the full-out RTS action of the original Robocalypse).

Image for Cubed3 Exclusive Interview | Vogster Entertainment on Robocalypse WiiWare

MM: Incidentally, here in the UK and in Europe the DS version was never released. Why not? Will this affect the Beaver Defence's chances of a PAL release?

AM: At the time we released the DS version in the US, we fully intended on bringing it to European audiences - unfortunately our publishing deal didn't get the game into stores across the pond.

As for Beaver Defense, we are planning a (near) simultaneously release in the UK, Europe, Oceania (Australia / New Zealand), and North America. That's one of the great benefits to the WiiWare service - Nintendo provides developers the opportunity to easily release games across many different markets throughout the world!

MM: Could there be consideration of a renewed push for the DS version in Europe if the WiiWare title does well?

AM: Vogster is still very interested in bringing the DS version to Europe, as we think European audiences would respond well to the full-out RTS gameplay of the first Robocalypse. As we don't want to wait to get it players' hands, we've decided to bring the game to the iPhone in the meantime. We're including all of the features in the DS game, and more! Look for Robocalypse - Mobile Mayhem later this summer!

Image for Cubed3 Exclusive Interview | Vogster Entertainment on Robocalypse WiiWare

MM: How did the involvement with Micah Wright and Jay Lender come about? Did they bring the idea to Vogster, or was it the other way round?

AM: Micah and Jay have been working in games for quite awhile, and we were also familiar with their cartoon work (on SpongeBob and The Angry Beavers). When the development team came to us with their 'RTS-with-wacky-military-robots' concept, we thought Micah and Jay would be perfect for what we wanted to create - a game that both young and more experienced players could enjoy, with a silly, off-the-wall sense of humour.

MM: What did the team take inspiration from in the development of the Robocalypse games?

AM: In terms of the game's humour, we took great inspiration from the classic cartoons - from Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes, to modern-day classics like SpongeBob. And both games obviously have strong roots in the strategy-world. When we started designing Beaver Defense, the young tower-defence genre already had some strong titles - including Fieldrunners (iPhone), PixelJunk Monsters (PS3), and Ninjatown (DS). We really tried to learn from these titles - taking our own ideas, seeing how they handled some of the design challenges, and then trying to make them better!

For the original Robocalypse, we obviously owe a lot to classic old-school RTS games like Dune II and Starcraft. And hopefully audiences will laugh as much during our game as they did in Warcraft II.

MM: Beaver Defence is Vogster's first WiiWare title. How have you found working on the system? Do you have more plans for Wii in general, be it retail or download?

AM: The Wii has proved to be a great system to work on, and the tools and guidance that Nintendo has provided along the way have been extremely helpful.
Vogster definitely plans to continue to support the Wii - not only because it has such a large installed user base, but it's also such a fun system to play! Right now, however, those projects are as classified as a 'military secret'.

MM: Is Vogster going to be continuing to support the DS, or possibly DSiWare?

AM: The DS is another great system, and the DSiWare service is something we are definitely keeping an eye on. Right now, however, we are focusing on bringing the Robocalypse franchise to the Wii.

MM: So, just what is it that you have against beavers?

AM: Absolutely nothing - I love beavers! Some of my favourite... oh, wait. Actually, the Brain Beaver is a very sympathetic villain. The reason that he is so angry with humanity is that their pollution has mutated him horribly - and as a result is unable to find love. And believe me, a beaver that can't find love can be quite nasty!

Let's just say that the end of our story holds some interesting surprises for our furry-fiend!

MM: Thanks for your time!

AM: Thank you! Please check out the game when it's available on the WiiWare service!

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I'd be checking it out

I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out
the awesome! (guest) 17.05.2010#2

seems like a cool game SmilieSmilieSmilieSmilieSmilie

The Beav (guest) 27.05.2010#3

Beaver Defense is finally coming out! May 31 in the US, June 4 in Europe and Asia!! Woo-hoo!!

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