Cubed3 got the chance to speak with David Braben of Frontier UK at Nintendo's recent WiiWare/DSiWare event that took place in London on 16th September, 2009. With LostWinds: Winter of Melodias recently hitting the European market and the original game still selling strongly on the Wii download service, UK developer Frontier has seen so much success with the idea that sprang from a staff forum 'Game of the Week' competition that it looks like there will be plenty more to come from LostWinds in the future.
The full audio interview with David Braben, conducted by Adam Riley and Mike Mason, can be downloaded here:
Below are a few of the points mentioned in the interview:
- Quite a few ideas have come from the Game of the Week staff forum, but it is a matter of finding the right time to announce and develop them,
- Frontier now has 230 people in total, just expanded its premises and has been seeing a 32-33% increase per year,
- The UK development scene is growing strong once more, especially with Codemasters turning things around considerably,
- LostWinds 2 only started development in April 2009,
- Square Enix published the original LostWinds in Japan and the game has sold very well over there, bridging the divide that many games cannot,
- There were no problems with the ~40MB file size limit set by Nintendo as the restrictions helped to concentrate the mind. In the past, a mere 22k could be a whole game, yet now most emails are larger than that,
- There is a lot more to come from the LostWinds world, with the whole arc being envisaged before the first title actually came out. Evidence can be seen in early concept art from the original LostWinds, which actually features content found in the sequel, Winter of the Melodias,
- A new LostWinds is confirmed in a roundabout way, with WiiWare again being considered,
- A brand new LostWinds experience that encorporates the best features of the past games is also being considered, instead of a three-game re-release package,
- Frontier is not considering DS development as it is too expensive, but DSiWare is being looked at seriously, although it may not actually be a LostWinds game - it could be something else from the Game of the Week forum. It all depends on what is felt to be right for the platform,
- Frontier does not want to see every game on every platform - it is a case of making the right choices,
- A new Elite is definitely on the way, but no details on when it is coming or for what platform(s) can be revealed yet,
- LostWinds was not always planned for Wii. Nintendo came to Frontier and told them about the WiiWare system. It was a far less risky move to make it a download game, rather than full retail,
- Comparisons between paying £5 for LostWinds, which lasts around 4-6 hours, and £40 for Call of Duty, which can be finished in about the same time are made,
- Feedback from LostWinds from forum users was taken on-board and development of Winter of the Melodias was carried out until the last minute before release,
- If it makes sense, Frontier will consider working closely with other UK developers to help keep the UK development scene strong.
Be sure to check out the full audio interview and share your thoughts on what you would like to see in future LostWinds games!