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Ninja Bee Interview February 10, 2007

Posted by dpcough in Live Gamer Interviews.
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I told you all Live Gamer would have an amazing 2007! 2007 will also be developer interviews this year! I interviewed Jeremy, the lead designer on Band of Bugs, and Steve, the president of Ninja Bee, on their title for Xbox Live Arcade Band of Bugs. If titles are released weekly it will release within nine weeks. Here’s the interview.

https://dpcough.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/band-of-bugs2.jpg

1. Tell us about Ninja Bee.
[ Steve ] NinjaBee is an independent developer focused on making high quality original downloadable games. We started using the NinjaBee name when we decided to release Outpost Kaloki on our own. Since then, we’ve released Outpost Kaloki X and Cloning Clyde for Live Arcade. Band of Bugs is our third title for Live Arcade. We also sell other games we like (but which we didn’t make) from our web site ninjabee.com, like Eets and Void War. NinjaBee is the “indie” side of a traditional contract development company, Wahoo Studios.

2. Band of Bugs is your next Xbox Live Arcade game, please explain the game to us.

[Jeremy] Band of Bugs is a tactical strategy game designed with the Live Arcade environment in mind. We’ve made a strategy game that can be enjoyed by players from all walks of life, and doesn’t require large chunks of time to play. The low time commitment is especially important in multiplayer games.

3. How long has Band of Bugs been in development for?

[Jeremy] 10 months and counting. The battle’s just about done.

4. Will there be any multiplayer in the game or leaderboards?
[Jeremy] Multiplayer was a big part of our development. It was particularly important to us to provide players with a game they could play with their friends without having to set aside a whole afternoon. There will be Leaderboards.


5. What will the price and release date be of the game?
[Sorry, we can’t answer this one]

6. Will the game have extra content or gamerpics and themes?
[Steve] We’re big fans of downloadable content. Outpost Kaloki X, for instance, has a bunch of extra content including new levels and campaigns. Unfortunately, any extra content plans for Band of Bugs are still not public.


7. Most strategy games are mainly for the hardcore crowd, what is this game’s audience?
[Jeremy] Everyone we can get to play it. More specifically, we wanted to pull in the more casual gamers that might be put off by other strategy games. We designed the game to be very accessible it terms of gameplay, setting, and art style. Of course this doesn’t mean the game doesn’t have any depth. The quick-playing, arcade bursts of strategy gameplay should appeal to the hardcore as well as the casual player.

8. According to your site the game will feature a level editor, tell us about that.
[Jeremy] Band of Bugs will ship with a feature rich level editor. We put a great deal of our development resources towards the editor, and it’s one that we used ourselves during the development of the game. We are very excited to see players from the community create levels, and then battle it out online.


9. What are your plans after this game?
[Steve] Simply put, we’ll continue to make cool and interesting downloadable games! We have a real passion for Live Arcade, and we’ll keep doing Live Arcade development for as long as Microsoft lets us. In addition, Wahoo Studios (the traditional work-for-hire side of the company) will keep doing work for bigger publishers on various platforms.

10. Has Xbox Live Arcade has been a success for you with Outpost Kaloki X and Cloning Clyde?
[ Steve ] Yes! Outpost Kaloki X and Cloning Clyde were big successes for us in several ways, including the simple but gratifying fact that we have been able to release our own unique games in our own way for a very powerful modern console system. That by itself is some pretty fantastic success as far as we’re concerned. 🙂

11. Ever consider a Cloning Clyde sequel, the first one was pretty good. With a few innovations here and there you have a close to retail title for the DS and a fantastic Xbox Live Arcade game.
[ Steve ] Thanks. We’ve had great positive feedback from Clyde, and we’re tremendously proud of the game. One thing I can say is that if we did another game like Cloning Clyde, it wouldn’t be a straight sequel – it would be a high quality title that stands on its own.

12.Is the Xbox Live Arcade limit still 50 MB or has it been raised to 250 MB? Are there any advantages for you with more space?
[ Steve ] We can’t comment on Microsoft’s policies. But I can say personally that I like a smaller limit. I like the quick downloads, and I’d rather focus on the gameplay as much as possible and not worry so much about cinematics and crazy-high-res textures.

13. How many people were on your team to develop Band of Bugs?
[Steve] It’s hard to say because the team has changed a lot over time. At the start it was just 3 or 4 people. At peak we’ve had maybe 12, but some of those were part-time, and that doesn’t include an outside test team working on QA or people at Microsoft helping with the Live Arcade side of things.

14. Thanks for your time for this interview, any closing comments?
[ Jeremy ] Thank you for the opportunity to talk about our game. We hope everyone checks it out when it ships.

I’d like to thank Steve and Jeremy for their time on this interv

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