"We are working on supporting the Cross-Buy and Cross-Play features", exclusive interview of Gary Nichols about Switch Galaxy Ultra
We are thrilled to have had the chance to ask some questions to Gary Nichols, CEO and developer at Atomicom in Liverpool, about their upcoming game for Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita : Switch Galaxy Ultra.
Originally released on Android in July 2011 as Switch, the game was developed in just six weeks and went on to be downloaded over two million times worldwide. Since then, Atomicom gave the title an overhaul and created the first version of Switch Galaxy for PlayStation Mobile in March 2013. We asked how the development of their new title is going and how long I would take to make the game available on PS4 and PS Vita.
“Well we actually developed a Playstation Mobile version, after the 1st Android game, which came out in March. We spent about 6 months developing that version and now we’re putting a further 6 months development into the PS4/PS Vita version.
“We’re still mid development of the game so we still haven’t decided on the touchpad yet, we may have it swipe left and right instead of using the controls. It will be up to our lead game programmer Ronie to decide if it works well enough for the game though.
Talking about development, we wondered what features of the new controller would be catered for.
So according to what Gary said, the development of the game on PS4 and PS Vita is fairly quick, it only takes 6 months, this very short time range shows how easy it is to develop on PS4.
Furthermore, since they are at mid development maybe we should expect the game to be released before Christmas maybe it will even be part of the launching titles of the console. There is no guarantee that touchpads of the PS Vita and DS4 will be used, although we hardly see how they could not include that feature in this kind of game. The game will include for sure some of the features of the Dualshock 4 like the joysticks.
“Yes for sure, the problem we had with the PSM version was that we also had to cater for mobile phones and tablets so we had to limit what we did with the controls.”
But the usefulness of some features such as the accelerometers have yet to be confirmed through testing.
“We’re still playing around with that, we’re definitely going to test it to see if it’s fun and if so then we will let players use that as an option to play the game.
Since Sony really put emphasis on the PS4 and PS Vita synergy, we were then intrigued about what kind of synergy between PS4 and Ps vita the game will benefit. Will we be able to start playing on PS4 and resume our session on PS Vita at the exact same level? The answer is YES !
“Yes we are working on supporting that feature which is pretty cool and works well with Cross-Buy which we are also supporting, so you buy the game on VITA then you can download it on PS4.”
In the press release Cross-play multiplayer was mentioned, we wanted to know what kind of multiplayer it is going to be, either competitive, cooperative or even both. What we have been answered is that they are still working on it and it would be released as an update.
“We’re still working that out, basically Multiplayer is probably going to come as an update to the game shortly after it launches, we’re going to continue to support the game and one of the things we are planning to add are new multiplayer modes so competitive and co-operative will be catered for.”
The game will benefit from the cross-buy and cross-save features. The game will come out as a single player title and then multiplayer will be added as an update for all players, PS4 and PS Vita users will be able to play with and against each other shortly after launch.
Then we wondered how customizable the game would be, will we be able to build our own circuits and share them with the community? Or will we be allowed to create our own ships? Unfortunately the answer is no, but there will be a lot of new ships and skins in order to address this limitation.
“We’re not a huge team, in fact less than 10 people so also adding a level editor, testing that and all the workload that goes into a feature like that is currently something we can’t support. Possibly as a download later on though, you never know. If the game does well we can continue to add and build new features for the game.”
Will we be able to create our own ships ?
“Sorry to keep saying no but it’s not really a customisable game, we are adding in lots of new ships though and loads more ship skins so there’s a lot of variation for the ships anyway.”
In the press release there was a part about ships upgrades, but there were not a lot of information about it so we asked what will we be able to do to customize our ships ? Change skins, colors, put stickers on it, upgrade it with a new engine, a new shield ? What will change on that matter compared to Switch Galaxy on PSM ?
“So in Switch Galaxy Ultra we’re adding in more stuff to spend credits on, as well as being able to unlock lots more skins and the upgrades from the original game we’re also adding in bonus power ups that are used at the start of the game, so if you spend some credits you can get an advantage such as teleports and speed boosts.”
When asked if the customers from the previous title, Switch Galaxy, would be rewarded of their fidelity by getting free avatars, themes, or other bonuses, Gary Nichols answer couldn’t be clearer:
“Yes we are looking into rewarding people that bought the PSM title Switch Galaxy, we’re not 100% sure on what the reward will be but we want to make it something special.”
Atomicom fans! Be happy, you will get exclusive stuff, we don’t know yet what it’s going to be but you will be rewarded for your fidelity for sure! Regarding achievement we are pleased to tell you guys that there will be a lot of them with an increasing difficulty.
“Well we are still planning these, there’ll be lots but there will also be some difficult ones too like finishing every level without hitting a single object, that’s going to be a tough one to achieve.”
We are in the era of DLCs so we asked whether the guys over at Atomicom where going to support the game after it launches with downloadable content or through a special edition. Switch Galaxy Ultra will be updated on a regular basis with updates based on the community feedback.
"Yes we are, as mentioned earlier we will support the game on going, we’ll be reading all the reviews and listening to players to see what they are saying about the new title when it launches and we’ll plan to update the game accordingly."
We figured that Switch Galaxy Ultra would be released digitally just like its predecessors but as we have seen it before (with Ducktales Remastered) a physical copy could be released. So the game will be available on the PS Store, but what about an eventual physical copy of the game such as a collector edition?
“Actually we have been thinking about having a physical copy but we’re still only discussing that and haven’t got any concrete plans just yet but we will shortly.”
Gary added that they are particularly proud of the Comic Story they are putting together:
“We are working with Wipeout legend Darren Douglas who is the only artist to have worked on every Wipeout game to date and is also a published Judge Dredd Artist, he’s helped us develop some awesome characters for the game, Amur and Vince, and their relationship plays out through a comic as you play the game.”
To finish Atomicom shows some good will helping out a children organization:
“Caudwell Children who are an awesome charity that help disabled kids and we’re supporting them with branded content in the game which we’re really excited about.”
There is no information about the release date beside what we said above (before Christmas) and the retail price as yet to defined since they are still having some discussion with Sony.
Let us conclude by warmly thanking Gary Nichols who took time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.