Industry Interview: The Game Atelier Speak About SunFlowers
PS Nation loves to cover the smaller, great games that people probably have not heard of. It is finding these gems that makes being a gamer so special. A perfect example of this is the upcoming PlayStation Mini title, SunFlowers from the brilliant minds at The Game Atelier. We had a chance to speak with the team about the game and get some interesting information out of them, including a price! The full interview is below.
PS Nation: The game looks quite fun, in the same vein as a Plants vs. Zombies. What were the inspirations or the ideas for the creation of the game?
Game Atelier: SunFlowers’ lead game designer, Dr. Lakav, is a big fan of Plants vs. Zombies, but actually his very first inspiration was Mother Nature herself: he was looking at the sky and saw a cloud passing under the Sun and wondered if a sun ray touched the white cloud, would it make it rain? (True story!) Then the main idea behind the game mechanics was mainly inspired by the Game and Watch handhelds from the 80s. The objective was to create a very simple game with a similar feeling and approach than those old electronic games.
PSN: I see that the game is played holding the Vita vertical. Was this designed to be played that way? If so, why?
GA: When we first came up with the game concept of SunFlowers the PS Vita was not announced yet, but it seemed very logical to use a vertical display for a game like this which is quite common on iOS devices. But when Sony presented us the PS Vita at the beginning of 2011, we definitely thought that SunFlowers was a perfect fit for this console so we kept the display as is, just as it was originally designed on the early concept.
PSN: The Vita has seen a lot of struggles recently with sales being down as well as a low amount of games coming out for it. Why did The Game Atelier want to place a game on this hardware? What are your takes on the system and your outlook on it?
GA: As you may know we already released Flying Hamster, a minis that you can play on your PSP and even your PS3 and PS Vita systems. So when Sony first introduced us the PS Vita, they had the great idea to lend us a couple of dev kits for free almost a year before its release, so we started to work on a dedicated version of SunFlowers for this device. From that day we really think that the PS Vita is an amazing piece of hardware. Even if sales are currently considered quite low (so did the 3DS during the first months after launch), we still believe that it’s gonna be a real success as soon as great games become available.
PSN: I read that it is promised that SunFlowers will use EVERY feature of the Vita. Can you elaborate on that and talk about some of the features?
GA: Basic controls uses the PS Vita front touchscreen and/or the rear touch pad to move and shoot. But you can also use L/R buttons for shooting sun rays. Shaking the device (using the accelerometer) is used to get rid of dead leaves on Autumn levels and the camera is used to catch the ambient light during specific dusk tropical stages. The PS Vita has lots of really cool features, more than any other handheld console before, so we naturally thought that using all of the available functions would be interesting especially for the climatic events that randomly appears during a game.
PSN: This looks like a game that I will sink a ton of time into. Is there a story mode in the game? If so, can you elaborate on some of those elements?
GA: There is no ‘Story Mode’ in SunFlowers as there is no real story-telling in this kind of casual title. But you’re right about spending a lot of time playing it, especially if you want to collect all of the 330 flowers available. Collection is a very important part of SunFlowers: every game played will bring new flowers to your virtual garden. Some flowers are very common and others less easy to find. The harder the level the higher the chance to find rare flowers. But you can also complete your collection by receiving flowers from somebody else. Whatever the size of your collection you can share some gifts with your friends or even with any PS Vita player around through “near”. A very interesting aspect of the gift mechanic from SunFlowers is that you only can send flowers, not exchange them. Giving a so hard to find rare flower to the one you love will truly show what your heart feels. And people always love to receive beautiful flowers… so say it with SunFlowers!
PSN: I know The Game Atelier is up to a lot of projects right now. What can we expect on the horizon? Will we see some more PS Vita games? Any console projects down the line?
GA: Now that we are very close from the release of SunFlowers we currently wonder what will be our next move: if SunFlowers sales are high enough we definitely think about bringing new worlds with new gameplay mechanics through a game update. And that would be the best case scenario. If not we still have plenty other ideas for a new in-house project. And besides our own games we also have published games coming for iOS, more info very soon.
PSN: What is the big game everyone at The Game Atelier is playing or talking about?
GA: On our PS Vita we unanimously enjoyed playing Gravity Rush which is a real pleasure for the eye artistically speaking. Arcadio the lead developer is really fond of The Witcher 2 while Kappa the lead artist can’t stop playing Beat the Beat Rhythm Paradise on Nintendo Wii. Ah I almost forgot: we laughed a lot lately when one of our graphic designer, Veroni-k, told us that she broke water while playing Diablo III… don’t worry the baby is fine and the mother too!
PSN: When can we expect SunFlowers to be released and how much will it cost?
GA: We unfortunately don’t have a release date yet but it will be priced at $3.99 (USD).
PSN: Where can all the readers find more information on the games The Game Atelier is working on?
GA: Please feel free to check out www.game-atelier.com or follow our Twitter and official Facebook page to know everything about our future games before everyone!
PSN Thank you so much men and women of The Game Atelier. I really am looking forward to the game and so is a bunch of the writers. I wish you all the best with all the upcoming projects and hope to work again in the future!
GA Thank you very much from all The Game Atelier team (including 2 lady-artists).
Thank you once again to the team at The Game Atelier for taking time out of their busy schedule to do this interview. It was an absolute pleasure, and I wish the best of luck to the team. The game looks very good, and I am very excited for it. Let PS Nation know in the comments what your feelings are about it. Will you buy the game? What do you think will be the best feature? Let us know!