Interview with AE Games Lead Developer

Hello, everyone! Today we’ve got a special treat for you – an interview with the lead developer of a new game development company, AE Games! AE Games is a company that’s sick of the way that the majority of third parties treat the Wii U, something they had stated publicly and which has garnered a fair bit of attention. If you’d like to see their full statement regarding the Wii U’s treatment and what they want to do about it, you can read it here.

AE Games has started development on a new Wii U exclusive called “Mad Men Football!”! Mad Men Football is a game where various historical figures play american football, in stark contrast to most modern sports games. There are very few third party Wii U exclusives, so in my opinion, the more new games coming to the system, the better! Enjoy the interview!

Q: Usually, sports games are very uncreative, with the majority being adaptations of whichever sport they’re representing. What inspired you to take a genre like that and create such a fresh concept?

A: Many past sports titles have been inspiration for Mad Men Football. A title like Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey on the N64, and setting the net on fire was a lot of fun. The NHL Hitz games and checking opponents through the glass and the arcade style gameplay. Mario Strikers Charged with the goalie segments with the Wii Remote. All of those provided great arcade fun, but were based around real life sports. The Blitz games were great as well, at keeping fast(er) paced gameplay going, but with some fun over-the-top gameplay twists (leg drop anyone?). Even ESPN NFL 2K5, which was incredibly awesome when it released (and even now), being a more direct simulation of what you might enjoy watching on the weekends. The presentation that game had was phenomenal, in my opinion. But the inspiration goes even further back than those titles. It has also been titles like Tecmo Bowl (including Tecmo Super Bowl), Madden ’94, Mutant League Football, and even NBA Jam. They each tried to do something unique, whether that was presentation style or gameplay twists. They accomplished a lot for when they were released, and provided lots of replay value and hours of fun. There have been games (and ideas) from other genres that have been inspirations as well though.

Q: American football is a sport that is incredibly popular in North America, but that is almost unheard of in the rest of the world. Do you think you’ll be able to market Mad Men Football well enough to sell it outside of North America?

It’s interesting, because some due diligence was researching things that might make it appeal to different regions around the world. While American football is definitely most popular in North America, there are different leagues all around the world. For example, the ex-American football player Tim Tebow (currently without an NFL team contract, but that could change) was offered contracts to play in Russia, and most recently even in Italy. So, will I be able to market the game outside of North America? I think that once more is shown and revealed over the next few months, it will actually help me answer that one better. But, yes, I think I might be able to do so. The responses so far just from the initial announcement and reveal, from gamers all around the world, has been pretty incredible.

[Image: Mad+Men+Football+Wii+U+press+release+image.png]
Some concept art!

Q: Will there be a wide variety of historical figures in MMF? The only one we know so far is George Washington. Will every character be American, or a man, or will you switch it up a bit?

On the “wide” range of historical figures, there will be others. Will every character be “American, or a man” though? Is it okay if I call a “time out” until next month on this one?

Q: Have you thought of any ways to use the Wii U Gamepad effectively and uniquely, or will this be one of those games that’s better played with a Pro Controller?

Not only have I thought of some gameplay elements that should translate to the Wii U GamePad incredibly well, there are some elements already experimented with that would be unique to only the Wii U GamePad. The Wii U offers a wide range of controller options though, and as a Wii U owner myself, that is something I think is great. There are several indie eShop titles that use multiple controller options, and it is something I remember and think about.

Q: How long do you think it’ll take you to develop the game all by yourself?

Development started on this last year. It was something that started more as a fun side project, but that soon ended up turning into hours of experimenting with gameplay elements, writing out ideas, and researching solutions to problems I was encountering in certain areas. While I haven’t given a specific release date, I do have one written down for a personal goal to get everything finished by. And I have personal goals written down to accomplish something on the development side each day. So, while development is continuing each day on things, once I get a Wii U SDK, it will allow me to know exactly how long will be needed to implement certain features I would like to include. I have it currently spaced out to allow for several more months of solid development on the gameplay side, as well as updating the assets in the game.

Q: Why are you choosing to self fund rather than start a Kickstarter?

One big reason for self funding, is I would rather take my time with it, and under-promise, and over-deliver in the end. I honestly don’t want to be sitting on others’ people money, potentially for months. If I was to launch a Kickstarter, I could show all the ideas written down for it, some experimented with so far, do a video for it, show current assets and even plays running from the current model. And while I don’t think that would necessarily be a bad thing, I would rather take it slow. I’m going with a “pay-as-I-go” model for art assets as needed. The other issue, is what I addressed in the announcement/reveal of the game. I don’t currently have the Wii U SDK. While I do have a contingency plan for “what if you don’t get one”, I don’t think it would be right to launch a Kickstarter without actually having a Wii U SDK. Now, if I do launch one (some others have asked about it as well), you can expect it to be much later on, and more for “fun” once development is closer to completion. Perhaps even after a release date has been confirmed and done on my part, which is what I would prefer.

Q: Since your company is called AE Games and you’re making a sports title, are you afraid of being confused with EA Games, a company that does pretty much everything you’ve said you despise in the game industry?

I’m not concerned with being confused with Electronic Arts. They have been very open, and even announced last year they didn’t have any Wii U titles in development. And there are multiple developers and publishers that have done sports titles. Some that make them now, and some that made them in years past.

Q: If you continue developing games after MMF, will you stick to the Wii U? Or perhaps will you branch out to the 3DS, or even non-Nintendo platforms?

As a Wii U owner, and thinking the Wii U GamePad is an awesome controller, I would love to continue to make other games for the system in the future. On branching out to the 3DS or non-Nintendo platforms though, I would never say never. It just isn’t my focus.

Q: I know it’s super early, but do you have any ideas for future titles? Will you stick with sports games, or might you make something completely unrelated?

Probably like many people that have gotten into game development, I have many ideas for other titles. Not all are sports related though. As a parent, watching how my kids play with toys and what keeps their attention is interesting to me. Seeing certain toys that are popular regardless of age, and how those could be translated to a game, is something I have thought about.

Q: Since you’re very obviously a big Nintendo fan, what’s your favourite Nintendo game?

Oh, man! My favorite Nintendo game? How about I go with favorite game(s) per system, in no particular order (including some published by them, not necessarily developed)? NES: Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3. SNES: Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country. N64: GoldenEye 007. GameCube: I would probably go with Eternal Darkness. Wii: Endless Ocean: Blue World, ExciteBots: Trick Racing, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Metroid Prime 3 (I skipped the first two Metroid games on the GameCube, but own them now in the Metroid Prime Trilogy. Just haven’t played/beat them yet.) Wii U: Super Mario 3D World and LEGO City Undercover.

Thanks for the opportunity to do the interview! And to any readers that use social networking sites, remember to keep on sharing why you enjoy the Wii U! #WeLoveWiiU

Thanks a lot for doing the interview! Good luck with your game!

Interviewer: Richard Fightmaster
Edited by An-chan, Bay Alexison, bobandbill and Hoenn. 

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