Interview With Tommy Nordered: The Developer Behind The Wii U Exclusive Swipe Knight
The Wii U shop has gradually transformed itself into a viable marketplace for the indie scene, partly due to Nintendo’s initiatives to help Indie Devs. As a result, the 3DS and Wii U have become inclusive systems to develop for – even allowing the small guys a chance to fulfill their dreams.
I was privileged with the opportunity to speak with Tommy Nordered – the head developer of Swipe Knight for the Nintendo Wii U to discuss his upcoming title. Tommy has an Indiegogo campaign running for Swipe Knight – so I decided to lend a helping hand to spread the word of his vision.
During the interview we discuss everything about Swipe Knight from the inspiration, the controls and working with Nintendo. Without further ado, let’s begin the interview!
1. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers? Who you are? What you do? What are your inspirations and aspirations?
My name is Tommy Nordered and I have been making games for about 5 years. I been making them on a small scale, basically flash games and stuff like that as a way to learn properly how to make games. I get inspired from many different things; Nintendo is probably my biggest source of inspiration since I grow up playing Nintendo games. But I also get inspired from everything in life from movies, nature, to riding the subway and private jokes.
I am going to give you an example and also reveal something I haven’t mentioned yet about the game. One sunny day when I was out riding my brother’s bike I suddenly notice that the breaks didn’t work, at the same moment I fell and looked like a complete jack ass a group of 4 very attractive girls showed up which just made everything 10 times worse. This became a private joke between me and my friends which we called the “pretty girl gang” and we joked about how the “pretty girl gang” always show up when you accidently embarrassed yourself. I liked that joke so much that I decided to put it in the game, so there will be a segment in the game where you have to make it from point A to point B without screwing up, if you screw up the “pretty girl gang” will show up and you get embarrassed and have to do it again.
It’s just one example on how I take something from my everyday life and put it in the game.
Another example is the 4 Horsemen boss which came from me listening to a Canibus song Apocalyptic Reinforcement where he mentions his group “The 4 Horsemen”. I enjoyed the song so much that I had to take something from it and make it my own.
2. You’ve started an Indiegogo campaign for Swipe Knight, can you explain the premise of Swipe Knight? What was the inspiration behind the game?
It actually started with my wife asking me to help her to play a mobile game called Cookie Run, I enjoyed the addictive nature of the game but felt it wasn’t for me.
So I wanted to take the addictive element from that game but mix it with other game elements that I love like exploration, huge bosses, and all that stuff we are used to in core games. The game Battle kid was also a big inspiration. So I guess you could say that Cookie Run, Battle kid and all the games I enjoyed for the last 20years is what inspired me the most in the making of Swipe Knight so far.
3. As the title of the game suggests, swipe inputs play an integral part in Swipe Knights. How do the controls work? Will there be other alternatives to the touch screen controls?
Yes, you swipe up to jump, you swipe down to slide, you swipe in the direction the hero is walking to attack and you swipe in the opposite direction the hero is walking to make him turn around and walk in the opposite direction. You can also do a down stab if you swipe down while jumping and that can also be used to make the hero stop walking since his sword gets stuck in the ground.
Many people were skeptical about the control but most of them changed their mind after they saw the trailer, and hopefully everyone will change their mind after they actually play it. But I will include optional control for people who otherwise wouldn’t even care to try the game.
4. Reading through the Indiegogo campaign page, you mentioned that Swipe Knight will take advantage of the 2 screen functionality of the Wii U – could you elaborate how you intend to do this with Swipe Knight?
Well, as I said in the Indiegogo campaign page I don’t want to talk too much about the 2 screen functionality, simply because I don’t want my ideas to end up in someone else’s game. But I think the example I gave there is a good one that should get people excited which is that you can control 2 characters at the same time separated from each other on each screen.
Since the hero is walking by himself and you can control the hero with either swipes or the left analog stick, that means you have one hand free which you can use to control another character with the right analog stick. That is something that has never been seen before in a game and I have LOT’S of incredibly interesting ideas like this one that uses both screens at once. So if people want a game that utilizes the Wii U’s unique features to the fullest then Swipe Knight is the game they want.
5.What is the story behind Swipe Knight?
Swipe knight actually has 2 stories. I try to make the game unique in every way I can, and all other adventure games always have 1 main story and then lots of side quests. So I thought why not have 1 main story and 1 secret story that you unravel and progress through every time you find a new secret area.
The main story of the game focus on how the leader of a cult is trying to resurrect an evil demon whose soul has been trapped inside a ghost ship by the village priest. The secret story…well that’s a secret But everyone that donates and help make the game possible will be included in that secret story.
6. Typically, with many Indie games the amount of content is always a cause or concern! How many worlds can we expect in Swipe Knight?
It really depends on how the indiegogo campaign go, if we get the exact amount we are asking for then we have about 20 worlds planned.
If we get more than we asked for then we will add more worlds, and if we get less than what we asked for then there will be less worlds.
7. There are two significant game mechanics you mentioned for Swipe Knights: the instant death and the Metroidvania – can you tell us more about it?
One of the unique game mechanics is like you said the instant death when you touch an enemy, not to uncommon in games, but instead of you having to replay from the last save or checkpoint do the hero lose a health point and re-spawn in the beginning of the segment. It should be mentioned that this game is built up by short segments that are connected to each other in this vast world. The idea came from playing Battle Kid, a fantastic game but it got boring when you had to replay from the last save point every time you took a hit so I decided to take that concept and make it more user-friendly, and the result was the perfect balance between challenge and reward. Sure, some of the segments in the game will be incredibly hard at first, but since you re-spawn in the beginning of the segment as long as you got HP left you quickly learn how to beat it. It’s not so punishing that it becomes frustrating, but still challenging enough to give you that rewarding feeling of accomplishment when you beat a hard segment you been stuck on for a while.
The other game mechanic is that you don’t have any menu for changing weapons or items, the game will automatically do it for you in the start of every new segment. That allow me to create segments that are completely based around the gimmick of a particular item or weapon, and it’s also comfortable that you don’t have to break the gameplay by pausing and go to a menu to change item or weapon. Basically, what the hero carries in his hand when he enters a new screen is what that segment is going to be based around. Also, I should point out that if you enter a screen that is based around an item or weapon that you doesn’t have then the hero will just carry his sword.
8. Why did you decide to bring Swipe Knight over to the Wii U?
Because I love Nintendo, if we reach our goal and I am able to make this game, then that’s a childhood dream coming true. It is also really wonderful to make games for a console with such unique hardware that is so untouched, it’s so much potential.
9. I know the team behind Swipe knight is fairly small, was the approval process to be a developer for the Wii U smooth? How has your experience been like working with Nintendo? Have they been helpful?
First of all Nintendo is very strict about confidentiality so I can’t go to much in to detail, but all I can say is that I showed them one of my games and just like that I got approved. I couldn’t believe it at first, it wasn’t until the phone rang and I actually got to talk to them that I understood that it was real. It was a great day to say the least. This all wasn’t that long ago, and from the small experience I have so far from dealing with Nintendo all I can say is that they has treated me very good. They have been very helpful, and I was honestly surprised of how good they treat us upcoming indie developers.
10. Much has been said about the Wii U hardware – from your experience has it been easy to develop for the Wii U?
First of all, what I do can’t really be compared to an AAA title from a big company so I am probably not the right guy to get in to that debate. For me developing for Wii U is no different than developing for PC or mobile phones.
11. For those who help fund Swipe Knight – what kind of benefits can they expect?
Everyone that donates will get the game at launch AND be rewarded with playing a part in the games secret story! This is what you get if you just donate $10, and obviously the more you donate, the more outstanding will your inclusion in the game be. There are other benefits as well, such as getting access to exclusive content during development, alpha test the game, have your name along with a big THANK YOU in the games credits and much more.
12. In a few sentences, can you tell us why Wii U fans should be excited for Swipe Knights?
Because I honestly feel Swipe Knight could be that one game that truly gives people that dual screen experience they been waiting for. That’s a bold statement, but in all honesty there hasn’t been any game except maybe Zombie U that really used both screens in a creative way that felt natural. Swipe Knight won’t use the dual screen feature all the time, but about 30% of the game will and I have a whole book full of dual screen concepts that are just waiting to be implemented in the game.
Also, I feel the world of Swipe Knight is a fun and unique place to visit, you get to visit familiar worlds such as forests and deserts, but you also get to visits Cyberpunk zone, 30’s cartoon alley and Survival-horror mansion, this is something you rarely see in other games these days and if people want something out of the ordinary then Swipe Knight is the way to go. At last, this is a game truly made with heart; I wouldn’t make the game exclusive to Wii U if it wasn’t for the fact that I love Nintendo.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me Michael, me and the whole Swipe Knight Team really appreciate it!
I would like to thank Tommy for taking the time out of his bus schedule to answer my questions. If you are interested in Swipe Knight, and would love to support Tommy’s vision, then please go check out Swipe Knight’s Indiegogo Campaign Page for further details.