Last week, we finally learned Nintendo’s official launch plans for the Wii U. Now, looking ahead to the date of November 18 with a savings target of at least $300, it’s time to get more closely acquainted with the early wave of games coming to the new console, of which there will be more than 50 by the end of March next year.
One of the early Wii U launch titles to look forward to on the digital download front is Trine 2: Director’s Cut, Frozenbyte’s exclusive full-vision edition of the fantasy puzzle-platformer previously released on PC/Mac/Linux, PSN and XBLA. Read along as Frozenbyte Marketing Manager, Mikael Haveri fills us in on developing Trine 2 for Wii U.
VGBlogger: How did the idea come about to do a Director’s Cut version of Trine 2 just for the Wii U?
Mikael Haveri: We had always wanted to expand the Trine 2 experience further, and when we got the opportunity to make a release for the Wii U, we naturally wanted to do more than just a port – we wanted to be able to show the full vision of our development team. We were also working on the Trine 2 expansion at that time, so it made sense to combine that into it as well and do a a big Trine 2 experience for Wii U. We also wanted to have something really cool just for Wii U, so we’re also creating a Wii U exclusive level called the Dwarven Caverns, which is quite different from the other new levels.
VGB: In what ways will Trine 2 utilize the unique features of the Wii U GamePad? More specifically, what information and control options will be available from the touch screen and how will the new interface impact gameplay?
MH: The view you get on your Wii U GamePad is the same as the actual game – so you can either watch the GamePad screen or the big screen to play. We support both ways. The new touch screen interface makes gameplay more intuitive and you can actually play it fully when somebody else is watching TV. It’s quite awesome to use the touch screen to conjure objects into the game world with the Wizard Amadeus – it’s magic.
VGB: Any plans for motion control implementation?
MH: Not at this point, but we will keep our options open so this might not be the last word on the subject…
VGB: Will all controller forms be supported? GamePad, Wii Remote, and the Wii U Pro Controller?
MH: Yes, we want everybody to be able to enjoy the game, regardless of the controller type, especially because Trine 2: Director’s Cut is such a multiplayer-focused game and you will need other types of controllers to play local co-op. We are focusing on the GamePad the most, and as the launch is getting near I must admit that we may not have full support for the Wii U Pro Controller at launch, but it will definitely be updated after release if that is the case.
VGB: The announcement made during E3 mentioned over “100 improvements” to the original version of the game. Can you provide more specific examples as it pertains to the polish improvements being made as well as elements cut from the original version that you’re now getting a chance to add to the game?
MH: It’s like a facelift for a car. Most of the improvements are cosmetic, the playability has been smoothened and stability increased. Most of these come from the PC version that we have been updating on a regular basis ever since the launch. We’ve added new minor things, fixed bugs, and made a lot of small improvements. Trine 2 on Wii U will be even closer to absolute perfection than it already was.
VGB: Is the new Magic Mayhem mode something the team designed from scratch to specifically take advantage of the unique capabilities of the Wii U? How does this multiplayer party mode work exactly?
MH: More info on the Magic Mayhem mode will come later on – at this point we are not sure if we can include it in the launch of the game.
VGB: Nintendo’s previous systems haven’t been ideal platforms for online gaming, but that appears to be changing with the Wii U. What can you tell us about the console’s online/multiplayer infrastructure and performance as it relates to Trine 2?
MH: Nintendo has taken online capabilities seriously with the Wii U. We can’t tell anything that Nintendo hasn’t already revealed though, but it does seem very promising. Trine 2: Director’s Cut should be a very good online experience!
VGB: What can you tell us about developing for Nintendo’s new console? Is it an easy platform to design for? Is it capable of new graphical flourishes you weren’t able to pull off on the other consoles?
MH: Developing for the Wii U has been smooth, and the general getting-it-to-run process was very straightforward. We have been able to use slightly higher settings on Wii U than on the other consoles, and the gameplay is very smooth even on the new levels, which are more demanding than the original Trine 2 levels. Wii U will have the best Trine 2 console experience.
VGB: The expansion campaign Trine 2: Goblin Menace is also included in the Director’s Cut. What new adventures, puzzles, enemies and abilities will Amadeus, Pontius and Zoya be experiencing in this add-on?
MH: Trine 2: Goblin Menace takes the heroes to places such as a scorching hot desert, inside the belly of a giant worm, to freezing cold mountains and even into the sky. The heroes will be facing a variety of new enemies: goblins, mummies, golems and sandworms…
To deal with these new hazardous environments and enemies, each character has been given two new skills. For example Amadeus the Wizard has learned how to magnetize metal, Zoya the Thief has mastered an arrow that alters gravity, and Pontius the Knight can now use his shield as a kite to glide through the air…
The new skills have made an impact on the original Trine 2 campaign as well. For example, the magnetize skill requires elements in the levels to be metallic to be usable, so we had to add the metal property to the original levels, and it allows new solutions that haven’t been available before.
VGB: Is the expansion releasing across all Trine 2 digital platforms or only as part of the Wii U Director’s Cut?
MH: Trine 2: Goblin Menace has just been released on PC and Mac, and will come to Linux shortly as well. As for console platforms – we will see. It’s not completely up to us so we can’t really make any promises. Right now all we know is that it will be a part of Trine 2: Director’s Cut on Wii U, featuring the new exclusive Dwarven Caverns level (we’ll be showing more images and video of it closer to release!).
VGB: Following the Wii U release, is there any intention to make any of the Director’s Cut content available to existing Trine 2 fans on other platforms, perhaps as DLC or in an update?
MH: Right now it looks like we’ll keep most of the Director’s Cut content exclusive to Wii U. Of course some of it is already based on the PC version, and some of the minor things will probably come to PC later on as well, but all the new touch screen mechanics and the new Dwarven Caverns level will probably stay Wii U exclusive for now.
VGB: What is the current global release target for Trine 2: Director’s Cut? Do you expect it to make the November 18th Wii U launch day in the US (as well as the other international launch dates) or will it be available later within the “launch window”?
MH: We’re aiming at launch – this means Nov 18th. Whether or not we’ll make that, I don’t know, it depends on many things. But it’s either Nov 18 or soon after.
VGB: Anything else you would like gamers to know about Trine 2: Director’s Cut?
MH: To summarize my thoughts: Trine 2: Director’s Cut will be a standout release among the new Wii U titles, with excellent multiplayer support for both offline and online play. And it won’t break your eShop wallet.