Interviews

Heroes of Ruin 3DS: "Making a Square RPG is extremely nerve-racking"

Producer Tim Schwalk chats about role-playing nerves and virtual unicycles

There's one thing we've always wanted to know. No, not where the crew of the Marie Celeste went; it's what the 'N' in N-Space stands for. Alas, we're idiots and forgot to ask N-Space producer Tim Schwalk. Luckily, we did remember to ask about his upcoming 3DS action-RPG Heroes Of Ruin, working with Square Enix and his Nintendo upbringing...

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Square Enix are publishing Heroes Of Ruin. Is it nerve-racking introducing a new RPG to their stable?

Extremely nerve-racking, but I try not to think about it. In fact, let's never mention this again.

Have Square taught you anything about making RPGs?

They've taught us the importance of ensuring the user experience is great throughout. It doesn't matter if you have an epic story or exciting boss battles if the menus are confusing or controls aren't streamlined. They've definitely helped us craft this game into something we're all very proud of.

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Which is harder: creating a new world as in Heroes Of Ruin, or squeezing an existing world into a handheld, like you did with Call Of Duty?

Heroes has certainly been the most challenging, because we're doing both. We're not only creating an original world, with its own characters and lore, but we're squeezing it onto a handheld, complete with four-player online play, voice chat, StreetPass, and even new quest challenges added daily. These are features typically reserved for console games that have been in development for two or three years.

What other 3DS games are you looking forward to in 2012?

This is a really great time to be a 3DS gamer. With Resident Evil and Metal Gear already released, I'm really looking forward to Kid Icarus and Luigi's Mansion. I'm particularly excited to see how they're going to take advantage of the tremendous connectivity potential of the system.

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What's your favourite game ever released on a Nintendo platform? And why?

Wow, that's quite a question. I've probably spent the most time playing GoldenEye 007 and Super Mario Kart, but if I had to pick a favourite I'd say Super Mario 64. From the analogue controls to the non-linear objectives, to the castle hub that itself was a joy to explore, I knew I was playing the future of videogames.

If you could work on any Nintendo series,what would it be, and how would you approach it?

This may sound a bit self-serving, but I would love to work on another Geist game. We left so many ideas on the cutting-room floor that it's a dream of mine to revisit the franchise. Aside from that, I'd love to revive Uniracers and bring it to the 3DS. I'm not a huge fan of motion controls, but there are a lot of cool things we could do with it.

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What's your favourite Nintendo console?

Has to be the SNES. To this day, it's the only 'retro' system I keep connected in my gaming room. So many of my all-time favourite games were made for this system, including what I consider to be the greatest 2D platforming game of all time, Super Mario World. Yeah, I said it.

What does your Mii say when he StreetPasses?

He'd simply say "Heroes Of Ruin!" He'd probably like to say more, but there's a strict 16-character limit.

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