Indie developer Finger Gun Games talked to us about the first software update for their open world Minecraft-inspired sandbox game Stone Shire, future plans, and criticism.
When Stone Shire launched on the Wii U eShop in May 2015, Mojang’s massively popular Minecraft on a Nintendo console was nothing more than a flimsy rumor. Stone Shire helped quench fans’ hunger for a Minecraft-like experience on Wii U.
But now that Minecraft has its feet firmly planted in the world of Nintendo, we caught up with Cordero Wilson, lead programmer at Finger Gun Games, a two-man studio based in Texas, to learn more about Stone Shire’s first update (version 1.1) and more.
“The major change is a new lighting system which, in turn, is an introduction of the new torch item,” Wilson told us. “While carrying a torch, you can light up a small area around you, which takes great advantage of the dual wielding system while exploring the dark underground. You can also place the torch on a wall or ground, effectively lighting up the area around it.”
The update will also add water. “Just like in Minecraft, you can pick [water] up and place it around to form your own little bodies of water,” Wilson explained.
Finger Gun Games will release the full patch notes on Monday, which will detail other forthcoming changes such as off-TV gameplay using the Wii U GamePad and a new aesthetic for all available maps. Wilson said he also plans to add weapons, a new enemy, and will prioritize adding online play rather than local co-op.
“We do plan on moving on to new projects,” Wilson said. “And with [Nintendo NX] on the horizon, we’re not sure whether our game will be backwards compatible or not. So for now, all of our future updates will be small ones.”
The studio is also looking for a Japanese publisher, but the process has been rather slow due to the language barrier. “It’s been tough trying to find such companies,” Wilson shared. “Of the [publishers] I did find, one told us they were unable to do it because they did not want to port a Minecraft-like game. The others never got back to me.”
We also asked how his studio deals with the “this is just another Minecraft clone” criticism from fans.
“It doesn’t bother us at all, he said, before further elaborating, “People are still buying the game and showing they are happy to be playing it. And they are patiently allowing us to build the game up to something unique, so for now, they have settled on it being like Minecraft in some respects. Now that Minecraft is on the system, we do plan on bringing distinctions to separate it. For instance, we can focus on the RPG elements we had planned since the base game is now working. [Also], our game isn’t as expensive.”
Wilson hopes the new Stone Shire update will bring more awareness to the game. And with developers now using Unity software to port games to Nintendo 3DS, Wilson says that’s a project in the works but will “depend on the timing of Nintendo’s new console.”