C3 Exclusive Interview | DK Games Making a New VC Game, My Little Flufties 2 on Wii & Talks MLF DS!

By Adam Riley 29.03.2007 2

Interview with DK Games
Interview by Adam Riley :: Thursday, 29th March, 2007

DK Games is an amalgamation of talent from across the Industry, coming together to create a unique children's title for the DS in the form of My Little Flufties. With the game now set for a May 2007 release via JoWood and Lexicon Entertainment, Cubed3 caught up with the game's developer to talk about the team's future, general opinions on Nintendo and possible Wii and Virtual Console support. Well, there are some interesting revelations in this new interview!

Cubed3: Could you please introduce yourself and let our readers know what your role is on the project?

Christophe Kohler: My name is Christophe Kohler. I'm 33 and I'm the lead programmer and I'm also in charge of the whole project co-ordination.

Guillaume Descamps: My name is Guillaume Descamps. I am 22 years old and I am a game designer. On this project, I created the concept and I also work on the fine-tuning.

C3: How large is the team that is currently working on the DS version of My Little Flufties and how long has the game been in development?

Christophe: 7 people worked on "My Little Flufties". Mainly two artists and two programmers.

C3: What are some of the games have you and the other staff members previously worked on? And what made you all come together for this new venture at DK Games?

Christophe: DK-Games is a team composed of independents. For this project I hired the most talented people I knew in each category.

I've worked on PS2 titles (Cold Fear, Conflict Zone), DS (Asphalt Urban GT 2) and PSP (Street Riders). Guillaume worked on DS and N-GAGE titles (Asphalt 1). Elisio Da Costa (art design) has worked on many Ubisoft titles for illustration (King Kong). Olivier Deriviere (Music) worked on Alone in the dark 5 (XBOX360/PS3) and Obscure (PS2). Sylvain Prunier (Sound designer) worked on many titles like FireDepartement, Silver Fall, 7 Sins. Artist studio (Tokkun Studios) has worked on many illustrations and is well known on the CGI scene.

C3: What features of the Nintendo DS does the My Little Flufties use? And will there be any scope for multi-player fun?

Guillaume: My Little Flufties uses the tactile screen and double screens. The top screen constantly displays the information of each flufty. Thanks to the tactile screen, the gameplay is very intuitive. One only has to click with the stylus and the flufty moves itself. The stylus is also a real advantage for mini games.

Christophe: As "My Little Flufties" is our first game and targeted to the youngest audience, we did not plan to use multiplayer. But this will be for sure a feature we'd like to add in our next game.

C3: What are some of the challenges involved in aiming a game at the 4-8 year old age group?

Guillaume: We have created a number of mini games so that children can understand them easily. Mini games are a mix of reflection, rapidity, dexterity suited to their level. All these challenges are very amusing.

Christophe: The learning curve must be very smooth because young players need time to understand what's going on and they like to get used to the game. They'll love collecting medals and cups and training their flufties to have the best stats. The key point is to keep the game simple.

C3: Other than the obvious graphical differences, how will the DS game differ from the PC and PS2 versions?

Christophe: "My Little Flufties" has been developed to first be on DS. Controlling the creatures using the stylus is the main feature that is not available on other systems. The camera is also closer to the creatures, to have a more intimate relation with them. The DS version will bring more emotions.

C3: Can you give us some examples of species that will be available in the final game? And is this going to be a deeper game than Tamagotchi?

Christophe: The game features 5 species. Each player will find one or two creatures he'll like a lot. We tested them on many kids and they all quickly found their favourite. The game has a special and unique atmosphere (graphics and audio) and kids love being there.

C3: It has been stated that it takes 2 hours 30 minutes for the complete evolution of a creature. What can you do once fully evolved? And is there an actual 'end' to the game or is it open-ended, rather like Animal Crossing?

Guillaume: It's open-ended like Animal Crossing. About the evolution, the behaviour of a flufty changes with its age. When it is a baby, it moves around the nest and learns the rudiments of life: to move, eat and drink. Then, when it is a teenager, it is faster and can move everywhere in the scenery. However, it is not very obedient and often needs to be ordered more than once. And when it is an adult, it is disciplined and wise.

C3: What was the reason behind including actual orchestral music in the game?

Christophe: All great cartoons feature orchestral music and I wanted "My Little Flufties" to be like a cartoon movie. The musician did a really good job for the music and the aim has been reached: a kid playing with MLF will be relaxed and quiet!

C3: Is there a chance we could see a version of this game on Nintendo's Wii in the future?

Guillaume: Why not...but it won't be this episode. I already thought about "My Little Flufties 2" which will use the Wii possibilities. If Lexicon Entertainment asks us to produce it, we will develop it with great pleasure. For the moment, my mind is focused on our next Nintendo DS games.

C3: What about supporting the Wii for other future DK Games titles?

Guillaume: DK Games is interested in all platforms which are adapted to smaller teams. These platforms include Nintendo DS, Sony PSP and Nintendo Wii. Then, we choose the platform which corresponds best to our game concept.

Christophe: After many years working in the video game industry, I'm quite tired on working only on technical issues. The next gen console (PS3/XBOX360) is only an evolution of the technical skills of console systems. I'm interest in the Wii because I'd like to focus on a game's heart and this to me is the best system to do that. I hope the console will meet with the success it deserves and that many publishers will get in touch with us for making games.

C3: What are your thoughts on the Wii in general? Can it survive against the power of the PS3 and XBOX 360?

Christophe: As we are Indie developers, we are hoping success for Wii and the Virtual Console system. PS3 and XBOX360 are not suitable to small teams like us. But we think that size does not matter. All our concepts are built to bring lots of fun, although the size of our games is not as big as next gen games. So I have high hopes to see lot of good games on Wii.

Guillaume: Nintendo explained from the start that the Wii doesn't compete with PS3 and 360. I would have personally preferred hardware as powerful as Xbox 360 hardware with the Wiimote as a great bonus of new possibilities for gameplay. But I am sure that the Wii will find its audience like the Nintendo DS - near to casual gamers and new gamers who want games with intuitive gameplay.

C3: Out of the Wii games you have played or seen in action so far, what are you anticipating most?

Christophe: I like exotic controllers so I'm very willing to play all the Wii games. My best wish will be to be able to play Resident Evil 5 using the Wii-mote.

C3: Nintendo is keen for developers to create new, smaller games on the Wii's Virtual Console. Would that be something you might consider looking into in the future?

Christophe: As I said before this is something we are really hoping for. Due to develpment team over-sizing, lots of smaller teams have appeared in the last few years and there are more and more Indies making great games. It would be really nice to have all their games available on the Virtual Console system and to be able to play them at a low cost. We are already in touch with Nintendo of America about working on the Virtual Console. They are open on that topic and we'll surely get farther on that soon.

C3: Finally, what games have you been playing lately? And is there anything in particular you are looking forward to getting your hands on?

Christophe: I've played "Trauma Centre" and "Cooking Mama". I like playing with the DS stylus. I have not had time to test the Wii yet, so I hope I'll soon get my hands on it.

Guillaume: Unfortunately I have difficulties in finding time to play. I am currently playing Yoshi's Island DS, which I like very much. I would also like to play Gears of War. The games that I am impatiently waiting for are: Zelda Twilight Princess and Mario Galaxy on Wii, Okami on PS2, as well as Lost Planet and Virtua Tennis 3 on Xbox 360.

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My sister would <3 this. Good to see that devs aren't scared to still have fun with titles that are basically solely for kids

So they are already in touch with Nintendo about making a VC game...and yet nobody here is interested in the slightest?! Smilie

Small parties like this can come out with corkers of games and if they see the Wii and VC as viable formats, it's all the better for us Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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