We recently had the opportunity to chat with Jasper Koning, co-founder of Ronimo Games and one of the game designers behind Awesomenauts Assemble, released March 4th in the United States and March 5th in Europe.
PS4 Experts: Awesomenauts stands out in the crowded MOBA genre due to its unique art style and gameplay. For our readers who haven't heard of Awesomenauts or MOBAs in general, how would you describe your game?
Koning: Awesomenauts is a team-based multiplayer game, that plays like a classic platformer. Two teams of three players face off on one of four battlegrounds, while wielding one of 15 available classes. Each team has their own base which is defended by turrets and droids. The goal is to defeat the enemy turrets and finally destroy their base.
PS4 Experts: Awesomenauts is the first PlayStation 4 MOBA. Do you feel this gives you an advantage?
Koning: We sure hope it helps. But even it if wasn't we wouldn't be worried about any competition. Because Awesomenauts is still the only MOBA that plays like side scrolling blaster and looks l ike an HD cartoon.
PS4 Experts: What PlayStation 4 features are you incorporating into Awesomenauts?
Koning: Well, we added twin stick controls to Awesomenauts specifically to give PlayStation 4 players the ability to reach an even higher skill ceiling compared to the original controller setup. Additionally the game benefits greatly from the sharing features of the console, but we didn't have to do anything to get those going. And though it's not specific to the PS4 version, I'd like to state again that all content from the Kickstarter-funded Starstorm expansion will be making it to the PlayStation 4.
PS4 Experts: You mentioned that the content from the Starstorm expansion will also be hitting the PS4. Is this included in the base $9.99 price? Will the game's skins be included in the base purchase as well or will those still need to be purchased separately?
Koning: Pricing will be similar to the PC version, so Starstorm or any of the purchasable skins will be paid DLC. However, discounts and bundles will happen.
PS4 Experts: Did you encounter any difficulties when porting Awesomenauts to the PlayStation 4? What was the cause for the initial delay of the game?
Koning: Actually the PlayStation 4 version was done by Abstraction games. Initial progress was very good, getting the game up and running on PS4 turned out to be pretty easy for them. On the networking side development also went fairly smooth. Unfortunately the game had some obscure bugs that only happened within certain networked setups which m ade them very hard to track down. Luckily our friends at Abstraction games kept at it, and managed to fix all of them.
PS4 Experts: What were your key influences when developing Awesomenauts?
Koning: There's two main influences, other MOBAs and games and cartoons from the 80's and 90's. When we started development we were very much into DotA, the Warcraft 3 mod that started it all. Games and cartoons include Metal Slug and Contra as well as Bucky O'Hare and Galaxy Rangers to name a few examples.
PS4 Experts: Who is your favorite character and why? Personally, I'm partial to both Clunk (love the Minecraft skin!) and Skølldir.
Koning: That's funny, Skølldir is my main right now, because of his high risk/reward style. He has to expose himself to a lot of damage to be effective, but he can be very effective. His throw ability also makes him a great in a team while solo he still packs quite a punch, literally.
PS4 Experts: Speaking of homages to other games, Admiral Swiggins also features a Super Meat Boy inspired skin (which looks great by the way!) What are some other homages in the games that fans should keep an eye out for? What is your favorite homage?
Koning: Hehe, apart from Minecraft and Super Meat Boy? There's lots of tiny ones in the items of each of the characters, but I won't spoil those.
PS4 Experts: Was it Sony's massive push towards indies that made Ronimo Games decide to release Awesomenauts on the PlayStation 4? How has your relationship with Sony been?
Koning: We already had a healthy relationship with Sony due to them liking Awesomenauts a lot during the PS3 days. Moving to PS4 when it was announced was a logical decision for us.
PS4 Experts: Will Ronimo and Abstraction Games support the PlayStation 4 version of Awesomenauts with additional content after launch?
Koning: Apart from Starstorm, nothing is planned yet. However, Starstorm already includes at least 5 new characters and a new map, once all that is done we'll evaluate the health of the PS4 playerbase. Luckily this version is completely in our hands.
PS4 Experts: Would you recommend the PlayStation 4 to other indie developers? Any tips for future indies who are looking to make a splash on the PS4?
Koning: Definitely, Sony has been very open and supportive. I can't give any tips on making a splash though, our first PS4 game isn't even out right now, so fingers crossed! :-)
Thank you to Jasper Koning for the interview! Make sure to pick up Awesomenauts Assemble on the PlayStation 4 (we scored it a 9/10, check out our review!) and we'll see you on the battlefield!
Interview by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 3/6/2014