With game development software tools such as Nintendo Web Framework and Unity, development becomes a more seamless and user-friendly environment, which allows fans to choose among a wider range of digital entertainment, at a faster rate. We’ve talked to Will Barnes about his team’s very first Wii U eShop title, Super Hero Dodgeball League. Will also mentions that him and his team will be showcasing their new title at the Indie Arcade event on April 12th, held in Sacramento, California.
Hello! It’s a pleasure to be speaking with you today about your new Wii U game. We truly appreciate you taking the time to answer some of our questions. There are a ton of indie games coming to Nintendo’s Wii U platform in the coming months, so it’s great to see another one added to the growing list.
Can you please tell us about the studio working on Super Hero Dodgeball League, and how it started?
Limitless Sky Squadron is an independent game studio out of Sacramento, CA. The four of us got our start just out of college: three students and a game design teacher. We spent a lot of time together outside of school coming up with games and figured we had the team to jump in and try them out. I think we made it official late one night at a 24-hour diner.
What’s your name, and how are you involved in the development? How many other people are involved, and what are their roles?
My name is Will Barnes and I am primarily work in design and marketing. Ritchie Cristobal is our animator and concept artist. Ben Goldberg is our art lead. Joe Weidenbach is our head programmer and tech director. But since there are only four of us officially on the team, we all end up helping in one way or another in every category.
What’s the inspiration behind SHDL? What made the four of you come together and say, “Let’s do this!”?
Super Hero Dodgeball League came out of an 8-hour argument over what to do for our next project, and then evolved in about 15 minutes right afterwards. We spent a couple days throwing together a prototype. And when we came up for air after playing for 4 hours straight, we never looked back.
Can you please tell us a bit about the storyline, if any, and the object of the game?
SHDL revolves around Dodge City, where the city officials have grown very tired of repairing the massive amounts of damage caused by super heroes and villains battling across town. They decided to contain these epic battles into nearly indestructible arenas. In order to entice villains to cooperate, they passed laws granting the villains be allowed to exercise one of their evil plots completely unhindered by anyone if they rise to the top of the arena. And because there’s no way this could be done without violence, they chose dodgeball.
Is “Super Hero Dodgeball League” the final name of the title, or will there be another name given once development is finalized?
Super Hero Dodgeball League is the final title unless something catastrophic happens.
How long has SHDL been in development?
We’ve been developing since September 2013, roughly. All of us have day jobs, so it’s fairer to say, “nights and weekends since September 2013.”
What has development been like for Wii U? Are there currently any hurdles the team is running into because of the GamePad or the Wii U hardware? What programming technologies are being used?
It’s been interesting. We’re still feeling out the hardware, but thanks to Unity and Visual Studio, we’re making progress a lot faster than we had originally expected. The development community and Nintendo have been great too. There have been plenty of challenges, but we’ve learned a lot.
In a brief conversation we recently had together, you mentioned that SHDL was self-funded. Many indie games are funded through crowd-funding campaigns. Why wasn’t this game funded through a fan-funded campaign?
We talked quite a bit about crowd-funding over the months of development. Our needs and expectations changed constantly and kept pushing back the crowd-funded options while development continued. At a certain point, we progressed so far without any additional support that, with our launch features, we already had what we needed.
To date, there are no dodge ball titles available on the Wii U eShop from indie developers. What can fans expect to experience from a title like this?
SHDL is dodgeball taken to the next level. When a ball is thrown, it never stops until it’s caught or hits an enemy. A thrown ball never stops moving and new balls are added all the time; it becomes much more chaotic and fun than dodgeball ever could be. Add in power-ups and super powers to shift the balance of the game in crucial moments, and you’ve got an entirely new take on sports games.
Fans and readers will want to know how SHDL will make use of the Wii U GamePad. How exactly will that work?
We will be supporting the GamePad as one control option, primarily as another way to control the game. Several of our power-ups can be deployed and, with the GamePad’s touch functionality, you’ll be able to touch the screen to mark where that power-up will land. We’ve also talked about putting a top-down tactical view on the screen. We’ve got a few more ideas we’re not quite ready to announce.
Many Wii U owners enjoy using the Wii U Pro Controller. Will SHDL support that option? What other control options will be offered?
Absolutely. SHDL will support the Wii Remote by itself, or with either a Nunchuk, the Pro Controller, and the GamePad.
In addition to these control options, will off-TV gameplay be supported?
As a multiplayer game, there’s really no way to experience this off-TV. We do have plans for a single player option and plan to support off-TV gameplay.
Let’s talk multiplayer support. Will players be able to play each other both locally and online with their friends? If so, how many players will be supported for each multiplayer gameplay mode?
SHDL is primarily a local multiplayer game, and has been since day one. We’re looking into the possibility of online matchmaking too, and we really want to see this feature. However, at launch it will not be included.
Online leaderboards seem like an ideal feature to incorporate into a sports game. People love competing against each other: especially for points. Will leaderboards eventually become available? If so, how exactly will they work?
At this time, we really don’t have anything planned for online leaderboards. If we can get online multiplayer working, we have several ideas for leaderboards.
Aside from Wii U, what other platforms will SHDL be released for?
Our initial launch will be on Wii U. As we get closer to launch, we will continue to consider additional platforms.
Is it possible for you to tell us the estimated release window for SHDL?
SHDL is slated for launch on the Wii U in the second quarter of 2014.
What can interested fans expect to pay for a title like this?
We are planning on SHDL releasing for $9.99 when it launches.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you a few other questions that aren’t specifically related to your new project. What is your current relationship like with Nintendo?
We are ecstatic to be working with Nintendo. They’ve been very helpful to us in the process, and they treat us very well as developers.
Are there any other projects forecasted for LSS?
We have a great many ideas out on the horizon, but we want to get SHDL off to the right start, so we’ll be supporting it for a while. That being said, there’s a lot of other games we’re looking to do in the future. We’re just not committing to our next project yet.
Lastly, is there a message that you want to send Nintendo fans?
As lifelong Nintendo fans ourselves, we are incredibly proud and are still a bit staggered to be able to say we’ll have a game that you can play on a Nintendo platform. We want all the fans to know that we don’t take this honor lightly and we will not disappoint.
END OF INTERVIEW
Thanks very much for taking the time to speak with us. We’re excited to see Super Hero Dodgeball League make its way to the Wii U eShop in the coming months. Good luck, and we look forward to speaking with you again soon.
Be sure to check out the video below for a recorded live stream of the team playing their new title. Additionally, LSS has provided Nintendo News with official character art. You can see six of the superhero characters below the video.