After spending some time with Beck and Call in the Mighty No. 9 demo hosted by Deep Silver this year at E3, Siliconera had a chance to sit down with the game’s Associate Producer, Nick Yu. The game had changed quite a bit since I’d last played it at PAX Prime back in September, so I decided to start our chat from there.
What kinds of tweaks and balances have been made since Comcept showed of Mighty No. 9 at PAX Prime 2014?
Nick Yu, Associate Producer: Since last year’s PAX, that’s when we brought the beta testing live, we actually set up an email account for the backers with Beta Access to send their feedback directly to us. From there, we gathered all of the information we got from the backers – we actually had someone translating all the feedback, which we finished in about two weeks – and sent it directly to the developers.
From there the tweaking began. Some enemies seemed to deal out too much damage, and others still seemed to have too much health. We also changed Beck’s color from light blue-gray to whitish-silver, since so many backers said that Beck blended in with the background too much.
This is actually the first version where Call has been playable. Are there still tweaks and balances to make with her, or has her gameplay been pretty much finalized?
The gameplay itself is pretty much done. Right now we’re just working on small bug fixes and detailed tunings. Since her gameplay style is so different, there’s not as much tuning to do as there was for Beck.
The sound test for Mighty No. 9 seems like it took a lot of work. Every single track has an 8-bit alternative, which the player can toggle on and off in the title menu. We know Manami Matsumae did the bulk of it, but were there other composers involved?
The two main composers are Matsumae and [Takashi] Tateishi, the composers for the first two Mega Man titles. The sound director is [Ippo] Yamada from Inti Creates. He did most of the heavy lifting for the project. The two composers would make a track and he’d change it to a fitting 8-bit version.
We’ve seen the PC version of Mighty No. 9 before. Today’s demo is running on a PC but using an Xbox One controller, but who’s developing the 3DS version?
Right, so the 3DS version, as well as the PlayStation Vita version, is being handled by a different company called Engine Software, a developer based in the Netherlands. They’re handling the porting work. Well, it’s not really porting work anymore. We actually had to rebuild the game from scratch because of the difference between the console versions and the handheld versions.
Since the game had to be rebuilt from the ground up, can we expect any features to be missing from the handheld versions?
It’ll be exactly the same. Naturally, there might be little bit of a graphical downgrade just because it’s on a handheld, but the gameplay and everything else is intact.
Why did you want to add a dash to the game? It makes it really good for score attacking, but it also seems kind of strange. When you’re shooting an enemy, you kind of want to avoid running into them instead of hitting them head on.
That’s exactly what we wanted to do with the dash. In the older games, you wanted to stay far away from your enemy. The goal was to stay safe and not die. However, in this game, we wanted to get people to get up close and personal with enemies, perhaps even force them to get close to enemies, that way the gameplay itself becomes much faster. No you’re not waiting for the enemy, you have to move toward it yourself. Once you get the hang of the dash mechanism, you sort of get trigger-happy with it right? That’s what we want the players to feel.
You mentioned that the gameplay was built to be fast-paced, but there’s also a co-op mode where one player can be Beck and the other can be Call. How do you maintain the pace when you combine two characters with such different play styles?
Call can definitely keep up with Beck. She may not be able to absorb enemies like Beck can, but she does have that defensive shield – so maybe she’ll man the front and block out projectiles while Beck provides the punch from the back. Each character’s role is very clear in co-op mode. You can’t really make Call an offensive type, so you really have to work together to find that harmony. It’s a very different experience from single player.
I noticed that in this game, Beck doesn’t actually destroy the bosses – he saves them. Why change from destroying bosses to saving them?
Inafune really wanted to focus on the story of each Robot in this title. That’s why the Mighty No. 9’s aren’t just robots, they’re a team, a team that’s competing in the same tournament. They’re the brothers and sisters of Beck. Inafune wanted to stress that they’re not your enemies, but your allies and friends. Hopefully, in the sequel, or DLC, or whatever form, we can explore that relationship a bit more.
You also mention DLC, can you give us an idea of what to expect?
Actually, because of the partnership with Deep Silver, we are able to bring one of the DLC, the one introducing the new playable character, Ray. The players can play her stage, and after defeating her, they can play through the entire single player story mode as Ray. Her gameplay is totally different from what Beck and Call’s gameplay is, and players can expect an interesting twist with her.
Do you have any plans to bring Ray into Co-op mode?
Not right now, but that’s something to think about!
Is Ray also a sibling of Beck?
That’d be a bit of a spoiler, so I’ll have to ask you to wait for the DLC!
How did Comcept get started working with Deep Silver?
The whole working with publishers talk began at last year’s Tokyo Game Show. Even before that we got quite a few offers from different publishers, but after comparing several of the deals, Deep Silver’s was the best. Their approach was very fair, and we felt that there was a lot of potential working with them, so that’s how it happened.
Is Comcept already looking ahead to what will come after Mighty No. 9?
We have some things in mind, yeah!
Do those plans involve Deep Silver?
I mean, the relationship is going so well right now, why wouldn’t it? Definitely, if we wanted to do something, they’re the first ones that we’re going to talk with.