Vlambeer talks Super Crate Box and PS Mobile
The Netherlands-based indie developer Vlambeer was founded in 2010 by Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman, after they dropped out of game design university. Since then the duo has released a plethora of original games, arguably the most famous of which is the awesome Super Crate Box. Back in October, the fiendishly difficult platformer was ported to PlayStation Mobile for the service’s launch. PS3 Attitude recently spoke with Rami about Vlambeer, Super Crate Box and his thoughts on PS Mobile.
[PS3 Attitude] How would you pitch Super Crate Box to someone who has never heard of it?
[Rami Ismail] Super Crate Box is a fast-paced arcade game about collecting crates. Every time you grab a crate, you get a point and a random weapon from a wide armament. That in itself wouldn’t be too difficult if it weren’t for the hordes of enemies walking down the level. You don’t get anything for killing those enemies, but if an enemy reaches the bottom pit of fire, they return from the top, but angry, red and twice as fast – so you’ll probably want to do that anyway.
It’s also a rather difficult game.
[PS3A] As you’ve just demonstrated, it’s impossible to talk about Super Crate Box without mentioning its ridiculously high difficulty. Was it always your intention to create a challenging game, or did it occur naturally?
[RI] It was our intention to make a fun game – a game like Super Crate Box is most fun when you balance on that fine line between despair and hope. You’ll die often and for various reasons, but it’ll always be your own fault. Getting better at recognizing dangers and learning the strengths, weaknesses and secrets of all the weaponry will allow you to score higher – and every time you beat your high score feels like a victory.
[PS3A] Unfortunately, PS3 Attitude sucks really badly at the game so we’re usually happy if we collect just 10 crates, but we’ve heard stories of others getting into the thousands. Who holds the high score between you and your partner at Vlambeer, Jan Willem Nijman?
[RI] That depends on who is answering the interview questions.
[PS3A] You’ve already seen huge success with Super Crate Box on iOS and PC, so how easy/difficult was it to bring the game to PlayStation Mobile?
[RI] Not that hard – but the main problem was the limited timeframe. We had several weeks to get the game ready, so we had to get external help. When that was done, however, it was a relatively smooth development process.
[PS3A] Has developing for PS Mobile been a mostly pain-free experience, and how have Sony been to work with?
[RI] We were initially reluctant to work with Sony. As an indie, you hear horror stories about the big three all the time – and to be fair, often those stories are simply a result of them not knowing how to deal with the emerging indie developers. Either way, Sony was an absolute pleasure to work with – they made sure we had everything we needed, any bugs in their software were fixed within days and most importantly, their developer relations team was amazing.
When our showcase Vita was stolen at the Eurogamer Expo in London, one of their employees drove out to lend us his own. We’ve never heard of anything quite like it, but we couldn’t be much happier.
[PS3A] Sony recently announced that full PSN integration for PSM is on the way, including features such as online leaderboards and Trophies. Will these be coming to Super Crate Box, and are there any other features you would like to see in the next SDK?
[RI] We’re not too sure about trophies, but leaderboards we’ll implement as soon as we can – which might be a few weeks after Sony offer it. Obviously, we’re also working on our PC/Mac release LUFTRAUSERS and our long overdue iOS fishing game, Ridiculous Fishing – so those are keeping the two of us pretty busy. We’ll make sure that whatever we choose to implement in Super Crate Box gets in as soon as we can though.
[PS3A] Ironically, PlayStation Mobile games aren’t currently available to download in the Netherlands, where Vlambeer is based. Does it frustrate you that Dutch Vita owners still can’t play Super Crate Box on PSM?
[RI] It’s disappointing, of course. We guess it’s another one of those international copyright issues – we’re just glad we’re not the ones negotiating that. Obviously, we hope we can buy the game for ourselves sometime soon and Sony has reassured us they’re working on it.
[PS3A] And finally, despite only existing for two years, Vlambeer has already created a huge number of unique and creative games. Can we expect to see any of Vlambeer’s other projects come to PSM?
[RI] All we can really say is that you can expect a huge number of games from us in the future, too. Our goal is to make interesting, unique and creative games – and besides that, we don’t really have a lot of goals. What platform games will be available for is unknowable until we’re making them – but based on our experiences with Sony, we wouldn’t be opposed to working with them again someday at all.
[PS3A] Thanks for chatting with us!
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