‘Shatter’ing Interview with developer Sidhe
We had the opportunity to talk with Mario Wynands, the Managing Director of Sidhe, about their upcoming PSN title, Shatter. The game, developed and published for the PlayStation Network by the team, is a re-imaging of the retro brick breaking genre. What sets it apart from the rest is the ability to ‘suck and blow,’ giving the player more control over the course of the ball.
In our exclusive interview with the team, Mario talk about the creation of BAT1138, our hero of the story (yes, there is a story involved), and what makes Shatter so different for all the other games out there. By the end of it all, you’ll be itching for some brick breaking action.
[PS3 Attitude] Thereâ€™s an actual story involved in the game, isnâ€™t there? What is it and why did you decided to include one for a game of this type?
[Mario Wynands] We decided to include a high level setting and story to give the game some context and a sense of purpose. A story is another opportunity to improve the experience above what a lot of games coming from this genre have done in the past.
The story centres on a machine, BAT1138, who is a slave in an energy farm which is part of a large machine empire. A breakdown causes him to become self aware and break free from his containment unit. He then battles from playfield to playfield, and world to world to escape his captors and return to his people. Will he be successful? Only the gamer can help end the tale.
[PS3A] With all the pulling and pushing involved, what sort of learning curve is there with Shatter?
[MW] We introduce the various gameplay elements and abilities across the first 2 worlds of the game, so the gamer isn’t dumped in the deep end. We get the player used to the basic mechanics, then introduce the push and pull gameplay, powerups, special attacks, and more advanced physics challenges and brick types. It is paced and structured to allow for an experienced gamer to get to grips with immediately but provides an opportunity for the novice to ease into the nuances of the game.
[PS3A] What can you tell us about the soundtrack? From what we’ve heard so far, it sounds fantastic!
[MW] One of many things we are proud of in Shatter is the soundtrack. The game has over 90 minutes of high quality original music included which is unprecedented for a download title, and it really helps lift the whole game.
We worked closely with a local musician, Module, throughout the development process. He started creating music from early game prototypes and concept art, and evolved the soundtrack as we evolved the game in a very synergistic manner. It was a really great collaborative effort that has had a great result where the music is tightly coupled with the graphics and gameplay.
We’ll be making some announcements about the availability of the soundtrack soon.
[PS3A] With 90 unique stages, including Boss battles and bonus levels, how do you plan to keep people excited about playing once theyâ€™ve finished them all? Will there be any DLC, perhaps a level editor?
[MW] In addition to the main mode, we also have Boss Rush and Bonus Mode. All 3 modes have leaderboard, trophy, and friends support which will keep the player coming back for more. There is nothing more motivating than knowing a friend is within reach on a leaderboard to keep you playing.
We have some ideas for DLC but haven’t commited to anything yet. We want to see what resonates with gamers first and see what requests arise before we commit any resources.
[PS3A] What type of trophies can be earned in the game?
[MW] Shatter has a range of different trophies ranging from the easy to the hard to the quirky. Novice gamers will rack up a few trophies simply playing through the game, while it will take a more advanced player to complete the challenges posed by some trophies. Doing some unexpected things will also earn you a surprise trophy or two.
[PS3A] One could say that Shatter is similar to Magic Ball, another Breakout style game on the PSN. Why should people purchase it over the other?
[MW] Although both games come from a common ancestor, Shatter and Magic Ball offer very different experiences. Magic Ball has it’s own spin on the genre and has been enjoyed by a large number of people. But we feel Shatter brings a unique combination of gameplay, presentation and music to the PSN Store that sets it apart not only from Magic Ball but all other PSN titles.
[PS3A] What other retro gaming genre would the team like to make a â€œre-imaginingâ€ of?
[MW] We’d like to see how gamers respond to Shatter to determine whether or not we have been successful with our reimagining and before commiting to another similar project. We certainly have a few ideas about what we’d like to do next, but can’t really say anything at this stage.
[PS3A] Whatâ€™s next for Sidhe? Any plans on a Gripshift sequel?
[MW] We don’t currently have a GripShift sequel in the works, but we do have a number of other titles in development across PSP, PS3, 360, Wii, and iPhone. These include both new, original IP as well as licensed titles. Only Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 on Wii for Activision has been announced at this stage, but other projects will be announced very soon.
We would like the extend our thanks to Mario and the rest of Sidhe for taking the time to talk with us. Be sure to check out Shatter when it is released on the PSN later today and don’t forget come back and read our review of the game as well.