Mii-gamer Interviews Shin’en Multimedia: Learn More About The Art of Balance!
Mii-gamer is on a mission to support the independent developers that provide Nintendo fans with unique and fun experiences on the Wii U and 3DS eShop. Video Games are our passion – so it is only natural that we give back to the industry. Today on our Indie Spotlight is the gorgeous looking puzzler – Art of Balance for the Wii U, developed by the highly acclaimed studio Shin’en Multimedia.
We recently had the pleasure of interviewing, Manfred Linzner of Shin’en Multimedia. He’s kindly taken the time to share tons of useful information for Nintendo fans about Art of Balance.
Before we lose our balance, shall we begin the interview!
Mii-gamer: Amongst the Nintendo community, Shin’en needs no introduction – you are no doubt a fan favorite. However, at the off chance that some of the readers may be unfamiliar with your team, can you tell us more about Shin’en? What you guys do? What are your inspirations and aspirations?
Manfred: We are doing games for a living since 1999. We have worked on almost any Nintendo hardware since then. Our motivation comes often from going beyond what the majority of developers create on a certain system. With the advent of digital self publishing we have now the freedom to create the games we want to play by our selfs. Golden times!
Mii-gamer: Shin’en currently has two titles currently in the works for the WiiU: Art of Balance and Fast Racing Neo, with the former launching first. I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I have not played the original WiiWare title or Art of Balance Touch for the 3DS. For interested gamers that have yet to play a game from the series, can you explain the basic premise and gameplay behind Art of Balance?
Manfred: Art of Balance is one of the best rated Wii 3rd party games ever. The goal is simple: You get a hand full of wooden shapes and have to build a stable stack. On this simple idea we provided hundreds of levels with always new gameplay elements. For 3DS we did a ‘touch’ enabled version and for Wii U we came up with very beautiful and polished visuals that really show what Wii U can do.
3. Typically, with downloadable puzzle games – lack of content is often cause for concern. Will Art of Balance be packed with enough content to satisfy the player?
Manfred: We think Art of Balance for Wii U is a huge package. We provide 200 levels that will take a lot of time to get through. The new online Leaderboards also adds quite a bit extra challenge.
4. Will there be new modes in Art of Balance?
Manfred: We created new multiplayer modes that are perfect for a gaming event at home. You can play in teams with splitscreen or in coop mode on a single screen. We can tell you it’s simply a blast to play with your friends.
5. I’ve noticed that you intend to implement online features in Art of Balance. How do the online features work in Art of Balance?
Manfred: The new Online mode is something rarely seen before on Wii U. On each console up to four players can join the game. So its possible to have an eight player match! Of course you can also simply have a two player game. We tried to make the online play as simple as possible and are quite happy how everything turned out.
6. What control options are available for Art of Balance? Will you be able to use the touch screen on the Gamepad in Art of Balance?
Manfred: You can use the Gamepads touch screen, or the Analog sticks. You can also play with a Wii Remote like in the Original Wii version. You can play on TV or only on the Gamepad.
7. When can Wii U fans expect to get their hands on Art of Balance?
Manfred: We expect to release the game end of summer.
8. Details on Fast Racing Neo have been slim, I would assume you are not ready to share anything yet. But is the development of Fast Racing Neo going well? When can we expect more information?
Manfred: We know that people really want to see the game. It’s just so that you can show a game only once for the first time. While developing we knew there was so much more possible on Wii U than anyone showed so far. So we decided to really explore and push the hardware. We hope people will appreciate our efforts.
9. I know you are often asked to talk about the Wii U hardware. So Iwill not ask that question today. But I must ask you! How are you able to make incredibly good looking games? Is it down to talent? A positive team culture? Passion? Or a combination of many factors?
Manfred: We certainly have no more talent than other good studios. And in terms of resources you need to consider that usually only five people work on a game at Shin’en. So probably we are simply stubborn. We just don’t stop when things start to look ok and run at around 30fps. We know we can do better, we know there is always a trick we can pull off and so we simply continue to create the best we can.
10. If Nintendo gave Shin’en the opportunity to work on one of their IP’s? What Nintendo game would you like to develop?
Manfred: I think we would rather go on to do our own titles. However, Wave Race on N64 was always one of our top titles and we would love to see it in Wii U quality.
11. Do you have plans to release your games on other platforms? If not, would you be open to the idea in the future?
Manfred: We always released our games on handhelds and consoles, so in that sense, we already did multi platform development. Anyway, currently we are preparing a title for a different platform, we will give more information on that topic in the near future.
12. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, do you have a final message for Nintendo fans?
Check out our ‘Jett Rocket 2′ demo on 3DS eShop (starting July 10th)!
I would like to thank Manfred for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Please do check out the official Art of Balance website, Shin’en’s Website, and connect with them through Twitter and Facebook.