Cubed3: For readers that are not familiar with your company, can you please provide some background - where your name comes from, what staff have previously worked on, etc?
Joel Kinnunen, Vice President: Frozenbyte was founded in 2001 by a couple of guys who wanted to create games. We had no background whatsoever, just a desire to create great games. From there we lived and learned, eventually released our first game Shadowgrounds for PC back in 2005, then Shadowgrounds Survivor in 2007, Trine in 2009, and finally Trine 2 in 2011. We're now over 50 people and we're now fully self-funded and creating the kind of games we want.
Cubed3: When the original Trine was released, did you ever consider supporting Nintendo's current systems with it at the time? If not, if possible, please explain why.
Joel Kinnunen: There were some thoughts but the Wii didn't really pack enough punch for Trine, and the Nintendo platforms were pretty alien to us at that point, too. We didn't have the best of times creating the PS3 version either, so it wasn't a very serious consideration in the end.
Cubed3: Would you consider doing a Trine: Director's Cut for eShop as well in the future?
Joel Kinnunen: It's in the realm of possibilities but a bit unlikely to be honest. Trine is based on our older technology and it doesn't work so well with the console architecture. So first we'd have to move everything to the Trine 2 technology and then work from there. It would be a lot of work. And then there's the mental side - we are always more interested in creating something new rather than rehashing old stuff.
Cubed3: Did you always have plans in place to expand upon the original Trine to make a direct sequel, or even make it a trilogy?
Joel Kinnunen: Trine 2 was a very logical choice for us at the time. Trine had been a reasonable success and we had a lot of ideas - and also a need to rewrite our technology from scratch. The programmers set to work on the technology while the artists started work on Trine 2 proper, and in 2011 the game started to come together and was released late that year. Trine 3 to complete the trilogy - it's going to happen, just might take a while again *smiles*
Cubed3: Was a fourth playable character ever considered at one point? Most multiplayer-supported games max out to an even number so seeing three here was certainly an eye-opener.
Joel Kinnunen: It's been considered. We had some great ideas but it sort of spiralled out of control, and we felt it was better to focus on the three main heroes for Trine 2. We'll see if those ideas surface later...
Cubed3: What sort of influences did you have when creating Trine's medieval background?
Joel Kinnunen: We get asked this a lot but the truth is that there's not a lot of influences to mention. Each person on the team, of course, had their own influences and inspirations but collectively it was more of a fairytale feeling and atmosphere that was the common theme.
Cubed3: What were your inspirations behind the multiple-approaches to puzzles?
Joel Kinnunen: In a way some traces could be found in our first game Shadowgrounds - there were moments where the player could solve "obstacles" in various ways, and we really enjoyed those moments a lot. You know - stuff like exploding barrels located at a convenient place - simple stuff - but it probably was the seed.
Cubed3: Were there any ideas that had to be removed or dropped because they were too outlandish or could not be fully realised within time/cost constraints of the project?
Joel Kinnunen: Of course! Game development is always like that. In Trine 2 one of those was the fourth character mentioned above, that was probably the biggest and it was decided rather early on. After that we made a million small cuts, but nothing really that was major. In Trine 1 we actually dropped levels near the end - an ice level for example (Trine 2's Icewarden Keep could be called a spiritual continuation of that). But for Trine 2 we had a great focus and were able to realize our vision pretty close to what we set out to do. We're happy with the end result.
Cubed3: Would you consider any future DLC beyond the online and controls patch the Wii U just received?
Joel Kinnunen: We've thought about that... but right now I'm not sure - we're pretty excited about all the new stuff we have going on at the moment here, so going "back" doesn't feel like the right choice anymore.
Cubed3: What are your thoughts on Miiverse and the positive reception to your game? Would you consider an even stronger integration of Miiverse in future possible titles?
Joel Kinnunen: Miiverse is great. We were surprised by it - the feedback and all the drawings have been awesome. It's also great to see gamers helping each other with problems, like how to get past this and that place in the game. We try to help out ourselves, too, when we can. A stronger Miiverse integration would be cool, too, and at some point we really wanted to do that for Trine 2: Director's Cut, as well. Now, I think we'll do it for future Wii U games definitely.
Cubed3: Did you refer to user feedback from Trine when making the sequel, and do you think Miiverse is a good forum for developers to get feedback direct from the fans to improve their games?
Joel Kinnunen: Miiverse is definitely good for feedback. However, when it comes to improving a game, there's a limit to how useful such feedback is... Small things tend to make a lot of sense - usability, user interface, little niggles, that kind of stuff. But when you start talking about gameplay and "bigger" things, it gets a lot harder. It's the developer's vision in the end and if you start following user feedback too rigorously, the vision can get compromised and that's not good for the game.
Cubed3: How do you feel Trine 2 has been received by the early Wii U purchasers in general?
Joel Kinnunen: We've been very happy about the reception. A lot of gamers feel the game is one of the best on Wii U and that's what we were aiming for. Sales have been good, too. So we're happy *smiles*
Cubed3: What do you think of Nintendo's eShop as a digital platform to release games on?
Joel Kinnunen: Nintendo eShop is great. It's certainly better than what's currently on PS3 and Xbox 360; it's more developer friendly in a lot of ways, and I think it's presented to the user in a much nicer way, too. There's always some things that could be improved but for the most part the eShop is awesome.
Cubed3: Are you considering a third game in the series, and would Wii U be a good candidate for a version?
Joel Kinnunen: Completing the trilogy is something we want to do, so yes. But if you ask are we working on Trine 3 right now - then that's a no. We want to work on something fresh for now, so Trine 3 will take time. For that reason it's hard to say if Wii U will be among the platform possibilities when the time comes - possibly. We'll see!
Cubed3: Would you consider releasing games for the 3DS eShop as well as the Wii U one?
Joel Kinnunen: We're more likely to do something on Wii U simply because that's the kind of platform that we are more familiar with. Right now I don't see us releasing a 3DS game in the near future. I hope we will get to release a new game on the Wii U eShop within the next year or two though!
Cubed3: Finally, what can we expect from Frozenbyte next?
Joel Kinnunen: Something special *smiles* We'll have Splot releasing at some point this year for iOS/Android and PC/Mac/Linux, and perhaps other platforms, too (see above!) - we just keep on adding stuff and polishing it. We're also working on something else and hope to announce it within this year. All in all, this is a very exciting year for us *smiles*