Whizzing, whiring, whining, the micro-sized machines race around larger-than-life tabletop tracks — avoiding things such as: towering Eclipse Games soda cans, flying nuts and bolts, scattered colorful LEGO pieces, mouthwatering cheeseburgers, road blocks, road hazards, and, of course, road-raging racers who vie to gain the winning position on the track. And the Nintendo Wii U eShop is getting this chaotic and competitive racer in the near future. This. Is. Super Toy Cars.
We recently had the pleasure of interviewing the programmer for Super Toy Cars, Eduardo Jimenez. He’s kindly taken the time to share tons of useful information with Nintendo fans about this interesting little racer. Development, game features, inspiration, price, release date information, his relationship with Nintendo — just a few of the many highlights that have been shared with Nintendo News.
With that, we’re ready for some high-flying action; and we hope you are, too.
Super Toy Cars Development
Can you please tell us your name and a little bit about your background as a developer?
Hi, my name is Eduardo Jimenez. I’ve been working in the games industry for the last 10 years ever since I left college. I started in Madrid, Spain at Pyro Studios and after three years and two titles (Imperial Glory and Planet 51), I moved to the Brighton, UK to work for Black Rock Studios where I had the opportunity to work on great games such as Pure and Split/Second. When Black Rock was shut down, I started my own company. I’ve been freelancing during this time too, to fund my own developments, taking part in games such as F1 2012 and Disney Infinity.
What’s the name of your studio, and where is it currently located?
Our studio is called Eclipse Games, and it is mainly based in Zaragoza, Spain.
The title of your Wii U project is Super Toy Cars. What is the inspiration behind that title?
Well, four years ago I decided to do a small top-down racing game inspired by games such as MicroMachines and Death Rally; it was called Toy Cars and was released for XBLIG (Xbox Live Indie Games). I thought it played nice but graphics were horrible (I’ve done them myself). A few years later, I convinced a 3D artist friend of mine to help with the graphics. He did such a good job and the models were cool — both from the top-down and third-person perspectives. We decided to use third-person as the main perspective for Super Toy Cars.
I took inspiration in many other racing games too, such as: Mario Kart (obviously!), Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Blur, Need for Speed, and Burnout. I play every racing game I can get my hands on, and I try to get what I feel can be interesting for our game.
How many team members are involved with the development? What are their names, and what are their development roles?
Super Toy Cars has been developed mostly by two full-time people: Manuel Usero (the 3D artist) and me (the programmer). One other part-time person, Toni Ros, in charge of the menus, HUD (Head-Up Display), and other 2D assets.
How long has Super Toy Cars been in development?
It’s hard to say. We’ve been doing things for it for a long time, and part of the time I’ve been doing this as my second job; the first being my freelancing for other games. Anyway, I think you could say that we’ve been committed 100% to the game for about one year.
Is this Eclipse Game’s first title for a Nintendo platform?
Yes. We’ve done others, but mainly for Steam or mobile platforms.
What factors did your studio consider before deciding to develop for Nintendo?
Well, mostly we valued the ease of access. We wanted to do a console game and the guys at Nintendo really made it easy for us to do it. They have great tools and helped us borrow some kits for development.
Nintendo offers an assortment of development tools for independent developers. What software tools are being used to develop Super Toy Cars?
We’re using Unity. It’s a great engine that allows for a lot of productivity. That, in my opinion, is the key factor when deciding what engine to use for a small company like ours.
What’s Super Toy Cars All About?
Is there a storyline in Super Toy Cars?
No. We didn’t feel we had the time and resources to build that. We believe it’s more important to spend those resources polishing the driving experience.
Super Toy Cars features a track editor. Can you please explain how that feature will work? Also, will Wii U owners be able to somehow share their tracks with one another?
Yeah. The editor is very simple. It’s thought out to work with the Wii U GamePad. You can just drag and drop objects on your track.
We don’t support sharing tracks for the Wii U version yet. When we started building the game, there wasn’t an easy way for us to do that with Unity. I’m not sure what the state of that is at the moment, but if we get a way of implementing this that doesn’t require us to build servers, we’ll certainly do so. I think Nintendo was working on a plug-in that would help us a lot there.
Regarding controller support, what options will fans have? And, will off-TV gameplay be offered?
We support the Wii Remote controllers, the Wii U Pro controller, classic controllers, and, of course, the Wii U GamePad. You can play up to four-player local multiplayer in Super Toy Cars. The only thing we don’t support is the use of two GamePads, but any other combination is accepted. No off-TV gameplay is planned at the moment.
How exactly will the multiplayer aspect work for this game?
You can play any of the tracks the game offers, or the ones you build, with up to three friends. The AI (artificial intelligence) will fill the remaining roles where necessary. No online multiplayer is planned for Wii U at the moment.
How many different tracks and types of cars will players have at their disposal?
There are going to be twelve tracks, three for each of our four locations. Each track can be played in any of the five game modes available. There are sixteen cars divided in four classes. All of them are unlocked from the start in Quick Race mode, but you’ll have to earn money to get them in Career Mode. Also, playing in Career Mode unlocks different paint jobs for the cars.
Not all games on Nintendo platforms incorporate Miiverse. Will Super Toys Cars take advantage of Nintendo’s popular online gaming community.
Nothing is planned at the moment.
Super Toy Cars seems like the perfect candidate for online leaderboards. Will friends be able to compete against each other for the fastest track or lap times?
We’re currently looking into implementing that particular feature precisely. I hope it’ll be available at start.
When, and for what regions, will Super Toy Cars be released for on the Wii U eShop?
We initially wanted to be available before Mario Kart 8, but I don’t think that’s possible. We still need to be approved by Nintendo, but I hope we’ll be able to release the game mid-to-late June in the Wii U eShop for Europe and America.
At what price can fans expect to pay, and will there be any future DLC (downloadable content) offered?
We’re considering a $9.99 price tag for the game. Expect to have a 20% discount running the first week, too. No DLC is planned. We may add new tracks or cars later on though. It depends on how much time the sales allow us to spend on the game.
What is your current relationship like with Nintendo?
It’s been great. They are really open and willing to get indies onto the platform. They have always been very helpful and answered every question promptly. I personally find Nintendo of Europe closer and easier to reach than Nintendo of America. But that may be because I’m European and (or) NoA are more busy at the moment. The relationship with both of them has been excellent any time though.
Does your studio have any other Nintendo projects forecasted for the future?
Definitely. I can’t say anything at the moment. But we’re definitely doing other games for Wii U and maybe for 3DS, too. The experience of working on a Nintendo platform has been very good so far so, why not repeat?
Is there a message you would like to send new or aspiring Wii U developers?
If you’re aspiring, I’d say you give it a go. Try to reach a Nintendo contact; they are very approachable and nice people. You’ll most likely end up with the feeling that the time was well spent, even if you decide not to go to the platform. The people I’ve talked to in the past (Tim, Edd, Kenji) were very nice and openly willing to give you their opinion.
With regards to new developers, don’t be afraid to ask in the forums. It’s full of friendly people willing to help. I’ve done it with great results in the past and try to answer questions myself when I know the answer, though there are times when I barely look at the forums due to my workload. But there’s always some people willing to help and discuss the subjects.
END OF INTERVIEW
We very much appreciate Eduardo for taking the time to talk about Super Toy Cars. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing these miniature race cars speed across the big screen in the near future. To stay up to date on the latest and greatest development information for Super Toy Cars, be sure to follow Eclipse Games on Twitter, like their Facebook, and have a look at their website.