Exclusively on SelectGame, this is our first international interview! We got in touch with EastAsiaSoft, the developers of the shumup Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype, and talk about the game (read the portuguese review) and the development. We give you Tet Ishida, game producer:
1) How does the dynamic difficulty system work?
Basically the dynamic difficulty system measures the performance of the player and adjusts the dynamic difficulty system (called play rank) at the same time. So when the player gets hit by bullets or has difficulties handling the enemies on the screen, the play rank drops and the game becomes a bit easier. On the contrary, if the player plays well, the play rank increases and the difficulty automatically goes up.
As part of the system, on higher play ranks the player will be rewarded with better scores. So for gamers playing on score, it’s important to maintain a high play rank.
If you like to know more about it, there’s a quite detailed blog post on our official blog at: Play rank system explained.
2) How long did the development of the game take and what were the difficulties you’ve found?
The base game of Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (without the upcoming DLC) has been in development for about 15 months. Including the DLC we have worked around 20 months on the game.
Technically we did not encounter a lot of difficulties, but especially in terms of game balancing adjustments (and considering the different play ranks), we have spent a long time until we believed to have found a very good balance of the game.
3) Why choosing the PS3 as an exclusive platform?
The original Soldner-X game was first released on PC but only gained popularity once it was improved and ported to PS3. Especially at that time, the PS3 (and PSN) offered a lot of advantages compared to Xbox Live Arcade, in particular the higher download size limit. Soldner-X and Soldner-X 2 are using a conventional 2D technology. To reach the graphical quality that we are offering without making any compromises, the PS3 was the perfect platform for us.
4) Which lessons were learned from Soldner-X 1 and applied to Soldner-X 2?
There’s been a lot. Soldner-X: Himmelssturmer was our first project and we were working on a relatively tight schedule. We’ve had plenty of ideas left when we finished Soldner-X 1. In addition, we have studied feedback from users and combined them with our own ideas to make Soldner-X 2 a really good product.
Just to name one example, many gamers found Soldner-X too difficulty, yet a few others really liked the challenge. The idea of the dynamic difficulty system was born out of this problem. We wanted to make the game easier and accessible to newcomers, yet still challenging and rewarding for players that already have more experience with the genre.
5) What advices can you provide for those who want to develop an independent shooter?
Well, what I think is very important (not just when developing a shooter but probably any game) is to follow your own concept and ideas. It’s good to study other games and see what they have to offer, but what is even more important is to believe in and stick to your own ideas. With Soldner-X 2 we listened to a lot of user comments, but we never wanted the game to play and feel exactly like any other game already available on the market. So at the end I think we created a product that is very unique.
6) Was it profitable to invest on a game purely available through the PlayStation.Network?
Yes. We’d still love to see more gamers out there giving our games a try, but in general they have been profitable.
7) Is your plan to develop a version of Soldner-X for portable platform, such as the PSP or even the Nintendo DS?
At the moment there are no such plans. We are currently working on the Soldner-X 2 DLC and another new project that we unfortunately cannot speak about yet.
We would like to say thanks to Mr. Ishida and all guys at EastAsiaSoft for the given opportunity to talk about one of the best downloadable games on PSN and wish good luck on all Sidequest and EastAsiaSoft future projects!