Interviews// Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise

Posted 11 Jun 2008 10:00 by
SPOnG: The first game, obviously, received a strong critical reception but the sales didn’t really match the reviews. With the DS’s demographic, do you see this one doing better?

Joe Humfrey: In the end it did do pretty well on the 360.

Gary Richards: It was a slow starter, but it (had) constant sales (since) the day that it launched.

Joe Humfrey: It’s still continuing to sell to this day.

Gary Richards: Yeah. Hopefully, being on the DS will really help the franchise. We obviously hope it sells loads!

SPOnG: Any chance it’ll plant itself on the PSP, as Microsoft is not in the handheld market?

Gary Richards: I wouldn’t like to comment on that.

Joe Humfrey: Not allowed to.

SPOnG: OK. Have you seen the 360 remote?

Gary Richards: (Grins) What kind of question is that?

SPOnG: Well, you’re meant to be working on it, according to rumour and speculation…

Joe Humfrey: Oh, I guess I saw something on that.

Gary Richards: We’re working on everything, according to rumours, aren’t we? We’re all doing Killer Instinct 3, at the moment.

Joe Humfrey: (Grinning) Yeah, we are actually making a Killer Instinct combination with Banjo, Conker, Viva Piñata, versus mode…

SPOnG: You’re busy guys! How has the TV show fed into the game?

Gary Richards: They were overlapping, (to Joe) weren’t they? I think that, as VP the TV show hit America. The second - and I think they’re doing a third series – but I think the second series has yet to come over to Europe.

We kind of just wanted to marry them up a bit. Obviously, the kids have seen the TV series so we just want to put it in the DS version as best we could.

Joe Humfrey: We wanted to relate it to the TV show. Right from the start we said ‘The kid hopefully will have played the 360 game and seen the TV series’ and we want to appeal to both people who have played the game and seen the TV series. So, we put TV clips in to kind of relate it to the TV series.

Gary Richards: Plus, the episodes are all introduced by the TV characters as well, so that ties in quite well.

SPOnG: I can see how the TV show is a natural progression from the game, but is there any concern about people coming the other way? Is there any concern that kids might be put off by not being able to interact with the characters they know from the TV show?

Gary Richards: It was an issue we discussed a lot at the start.

Joe Humfrey: Yeah, the design of the episodes has changed. We initially wanted them to relate to the TV series so you carry out missions. We changed the design on them and turned them to tutorials, but they’re still related to the episodes and we’ve got the TV characters in there.

Gary Richards: We didn’t want to go down the standard route of ‘Let’s make a platform game starring Hudson the Horse.’ We’re using them just to introduce the episodes and the tools and whatever you need to do. It’s a hard thing to do, because it’s not about a single piñata so it’s hard to have a character in the game that you’re actually controlling.

SPOnG: I guess Chrome’s VP game is more like that with the mini-games. Have you seen that?

Joe Humfrey: I’ve played the demo.

Gary Richards: Yeah, we got the demo on Xbox Live.

SPOnG:What did you think of it?

Gary Richards: Graphically it’s very good. Very close to the cartoon series. Party games aren’t really my thing, but for kids I think it’s a really cool game.

SPOnG: Thanks, guys.
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