Seite 2: Interview mit Engine/Playlogic
Could you shortly introduce yourself and your position at Engine Software/Playlogic ?
Ruud van de Moosdijk: I think I’ll manage to do that…my name is Ruud van de Moosdijk, I am the Head of console development at Engine Software and Producer for the Gameboy Advance version of Xyanide. I also did partial design, but that was really more of a team effort in general.
PlanetGameboy.de: Could you tell us a litte bit about Xyanide for GBA and give a brief overview of the most important features ?
Ruud van de Moosdijk: Xyanide is a 2D shoot ‘em up largely based on its big Xbox brother, which basically means in terms of story, visual and musical style, gameplay and weapon/powerup features we stayed true to the original as much as possible. The basic idea behind the visuals for example is that the world you travel through is very dynamic, vibrant and constantly in motion, changing, transforming. Since the Xbox version is completely 3D and the Gameboy Advance version is 2D we have implemented this design idea somewhat different, but I feel the end result will give the player the same experience.
Gameplay wise the most important ‘feature’ within Xyanide is the Mutation factor. Mutation is the key element of the game – mutation causes the world to change, the player’s ship to transform, your weapons to change and upgrade, it determines how much damage you can take and how much damage you can do. In short the player can choose – by picking up so called Mutators – the path of mutation he/she wishes to follow. You can either mutate to mechanic, to organic or decide to stay a hybrid of both. Each mutation path has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. As a very simple example: the mechanic mutation path changes your primary weapon into a strong laser, while the organic mutation path changes your weapon into a sporecannon, less powerful but with a wider spread, enabling the player to hit multiple targets.
Some other interesting features include the free direction firing of the primary weapon (can be rotated freely counterclockwise or clockwise) the homing missiles (secondary fire) which can be fired as a series or charged up, the large amount of powerup and special weapon pickups and the beatifully conceived fully animated cutscenes that tell the story throughout the game.
PlanetGameboy.de: When and why did you decide to start the development of a GBA-version of Xyanide ?
Ruud van de Moosdijk: Well the decision to make a GBA version of Xyanide in the first place was of course not ours. Playlogic decided they wanted us to make a GBA version of their Xbox title. We already discussed developing GBA games with Playlogic already for quite some time. The actual development for Xyanide didn’t start before June 2003 though.
PlanetGameboy.de: Can you tell us something about story and size of the game (how many levels) ?
Ruud van de Moosdijk: Xyanide takes place in the year 2715. The Judges of Mardar have sentenced the witch Aguira, an innocent looking girl, to death. The charges: devastation of worlds and civilizations. The sentence: disintegration into a black hole. Drake is the starfighter pilot escorting the execution craft. On their way to the black hole an asteroid hits the execution craft. The asteroid consists of Xyanide, a substance that has only one characteristic: it immediately materializes thoughts. A unique chance for Aguira to escape. The gamer is Drake, who needs to prevent her from getting away by fighting through the nightmare worlds Aguira creates with her thoughts.
In terms of size, Xyanide has six different levels, and although it might seem that is a bit on the small size…‘just six levels’ … you must understand these levels are huge. In terms of gametime each level is as large (and diverse) as four levels in the average shoot’em up game. Again mutation is a big factor, the further you get into the game the more the mechnical style will mutate to an organic style, telling the story through what you see.
PlanetGameboy.de: There are already several sidescrolling 2D-Shooters on the GBA being developed or released. Why will Xyanide be different/better than its competitors like R-Type 3 or Iridion 2 ?
Ruud van de Moosdijk:
It would be quite arrogant to say Xyanide will be better than R-Type 3 or Iridion 2, and I don’t think it would be fair to compare those games (and other ones like Gradius and Phalanx) to Xyanide. They share the genre (shoot em’ up), but Xyanide is very much different from the games mentioned. The style, the way game elements are presented, the way it is played, the way the weapons work etc, everything is different from a ‘classic’ shoot ‘em up. Whether or not it can be described as ‘better’ is up to the players, I can promise however that no-one will feel he/she bought the same game twice should they already own another shoot ‘em up, Xyanide is unique.
PlanetGameboy.de: Apart from Xyanide, are you working on any other projects for GBA ?
Ruud van de Moosdijk: Not at the moment no, Xyanide is our only GBA project currently in development. We did recently work on two titles that have just come out, or still need to be released namely SpyMuppets: License to Croak for TDK Mediactive (co-developed with Vicarious Visions) and Wade Hixton’s Counterpunch for DSI (co-developed with Inferno Games).
PlanetGameboy.de: In how far will the Mobile/N-Gage version of Xyanide be different from the GBA-game ?
Ruud van de Moosdijk: The N-Gage version of Xyanide is developed by a seperate company and I must admit I haven’t seen it yet so I cannot say that much about it, I do understand the N-Gage version will be 3D, just like the X-Box original.
PlanetGameboy.de: Are you looking forward to seeing the upcoming mobile platforms like Nintendo DS and Sony PSP ?
Ruud van de Moosdijk: Absolutely, we already started working on our first PSP title called ‘PSP Racing’ (working title), also for Playlogic, and for which we are aiming at a Q1 2005 release. Information on the Nintendo DS remains thin at the moment but we have already inquired at Nintendo of America what the development status is. Having worked with Nintendo since the Super Nintendo era we are quite confident we will receive more in-depth information soon.
PlanetGameboy.de: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers ?
Ruud van de Moosdijk: An opinion perhaps? I think that Playlogic continues to show that original ideas and content can make interesting games, and that there are still companies around that dare to stay away from endless sequels and big name licenses. I sincerely hope that gamers will speak up and show that they apreciate original content, and in terms of Xyanide, the new style brought to one of the oldest gameconcepts on the planet.
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