Interview | Shin'en Discuss Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai 3DS

By Jorge Ba-oh 04.05.2013 1

Shin'en Multimedia, creators Jett Rocket, FAST Racing League and Nano Assault are returning to the portable Nintendo 3DS scene after a successful run with Nano Assault EX and Art of Balance. Jett Rocket II is the sequel to the critically acclaimed WiiWare project, and with it bringing tight platforming mechanics and stereoscopic 3D. Cubed3 caught up with Manfred Linzner from Shin'en to discuss the forthcoming Jett Rockett II plus future plans for development on Nintendo Wii U and 3DS.
Image for Interview | Shin

Cubed3: Please tell us a bit more about Jett Rocket for those who are unfamiliar with the series.

Manfred Linzner: Jett Rocket is a planetary inspector and seems to always have trouble with the not so friendly 'Power Plant Posse'. Luckily Jett has many cool gadgets to take the challenge. Jett Rocket launched as one of the most advanced Nintendo WiiWare games and people enjoyed exploring his world. After countless fan emails about a new game, we decided to give Jett a new and more mobile adventure for Nintendo 3DS.

Cubed3: What is the story in The Wrath of Taikai and how does it follow on from the original Wii game?

Manfred Linzner: Kaiser Taikai is the arch enemy of Jett Rocket. In the first Jett Rocket game he was defeated but everyone knows Taikai is always good for another trick. The game starts with a raid on the planetary inspector headquarters and then everything goes crazy.

Image for Interview | Shin

Cubed3: What new gameplay styles can players expect in this 3DS sequel?

Manfred Linzner: Jett Rocket for Wii defined how good a WiiWare could look and play in a 3D world. For the 3DS sequel we wanted to go a step further. Although Jett Rocket 3DS is in its heart an action jump'n'run you get a new experience in every level. I think you really have to play it yourself to see how much action and diversity we crammed into this eShop game.

Cubed3: Will there be new power-ups and abilities available?

Manfred Linzner: Yes, Jett does have a whole new arsenal. We will show more about those later.

Cubed3: Jett Rocket looks great on the Nintendo 3DS. How has stereoscopic 3D added to the game?

Manfred Linzner: In stereoscopic 3D it is much easier to master difficult platform areas. The extra depth gives you very accurate information about how to solve such passages. Its not mandatory but certainly makes it more fun for the player.

Image for Interview | Shin

Cubed3: Recent news has confirmed that open 3D levels will be included. What was the reason for this move?

Manfred Linzner:  When we started with the game in 2012 we tried several camera styles for the game. Our goal was to have the whole game running in 60fps. This made just traversing the vivid world already so much more fun. In 2012 we were technically not advanced enough to make this happen in a free roaming 3D world, so we concentrated first on different camera styles.

While developing the game we were able to improve the performance of our engine in certain parts and rewrote even large sections to complete our final goal of adding free roaming 3D levels. In the end everything came together quite nicely and we now have a brilliant looking and playing game with all the stuff we originally wanted to show.

Cubed3: What hurdles have you faced when making Jett Rocket for 3DS in general, and getting it to run at a smooth 60fps?

Manfred Linzner: For achieving 60fps the biggest hurdle was a mental one. You know, most games on 3DS are running at 20-30fps. Even 1st Party games like Super Mario Land 3D are only running at 30fps. Nintendo usually pushes the bar for its games. Also they have tenfold the resources of our team. And we even tried to make a free roaming 3D game, where games like Super Mario Land 3D are on rails. Also we aimed for much more detailed visuals. All these facts and first performance tests made it seem impossible to achieve what we were looking for.

So the first step was simply to say that our game will run at 60fps in stereoscopic 3D, no matter how hard it will get to achieve it. We learned in the demo-scene that everything is possible if you dare to try. Not only the programmers had to use all their tricks but also Martin, the lead artist head to work on the graphical assets until they were perfectly optimized. Our graphical pipeline is very flexible. We don't use a 'default' shader but create each shader on its own to have perfect control over performance and look.

Image for Interview | Shin

Cubed3: Was there any particular reason for making this on 3DS instead of Nintendo Wii U?

Manfred Linzner:  We had a perfect vision how this game would work 3DS. For Nintendo Wii U we currently can't imagine how a Jett Rocket game could look and play. I'm pretty sure that our current Wii U games will help a lot to get a clearer vision.

Cubed3: Jett Rocket was well received on Wii, and the 3DS sequel is looking solid. Is there a chance of a Wii U version?

Manfred Linzner: Currently i don't think so. It just wouldn't feel right without a lot of changes.

Cubed3: What are your thoughts on Wii U as a development system in general?

Manfred Linzner: Wii U is simply the easiest and powerful hardware we ever worked on. There is so much untapped potential in there. We will try to show this with our upcoming Wii U eShop games.

Cubed3: Out of all the projects you have worked on for Nintendo systems so far, what was your favourite experience?

Manfred Linzner: That is really hard to answer, but I think we never achieved more in so little time then with Nano Assault Neo.  For us the game turned out pretty much perfect.

Image for Interview | Shin

Cubed3: What Nintendo project would you like to work on, if you had the chance?

Manfred Linzner: I think this is best answered by our fans.

Cubed3: What game designers/studios do you admire in the development world?

Manfred Linzner: We think Retro Studios is one of the best teams in the world, and of course Nintendo's Tokyo Development Group No. 1+2.

Cubed3: What has it been like working with Nintendo and its approach to indie development?

Manfred Linzner:  We've been developing independently for Nintendo for 14 years. We worked mostly on retail games and only tapped into the Nintendo eShop and WiiWare a few years ago. When we started in 1999 it was very hard to become a Nintendo developer. We are happy that it's nowadays much easier to get into the business then that it was at our time - Nintendo changed a lot in the last 5 years and we think they are on the right way.

Image for Interview | Shin
Box art for Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai





3D Platformer



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Original was a really ace, well put together WiiWare game. Would love to see it on Wii U at somepoint, looking forward to the 3DS sequel.

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