The kids from Pukka talk about all things Hot Potato and Thunderbirds. It may sound like something out of a fast food joint...but now I'm hungry for some Tater Tots and chicken wings. Read on!
Nintensity: There's a certain aspect of humour covering Hot Potato, do you think this will credit the game's overall storyline, or simply just provide more fun gameplay?
Damon Branch: The storyline is utterly absurd and is there for a laugh really. The daft things the spuds (from Mars) do is largely there to enhance the gameplay. Many of their stupid actions will get you more points or a multiplier, whilst other actions are just to make you laugh.
Nintensity: The originality of the game provides something gamers can always look forward to. How difficult was it achieving this?
Damon Branch: The game designer, Dima Pavlovsky - famed for Microsoft Arcade, had been working on this game for four years before we picked it up. He has a very austere approach to design and through that patience and simplicity comes a masterpiece.
Nintensity: How is the Thunderbirds sequel unravelling? Have you an idea of when it will be completed and released on the GBA?
Clive Townsend, Technical Director of Pukka Games: Completed in about one month's time, and should be in the shops for Christmas.
Nintensity: Do you predict something of a similar success for the GBA title, that was gained from the GBC installment of Thunderbirds?
Clive Townsend: It depends if the public are ready for a life altering experience. Seriously.
Nintensity: Could you tell us what the major changes from the GBC version are?
Clive Townsend: Most noticeably the addition of all the main International Rescue characters in a plethora of platform levels. As well as all the regular craft - Thunderbirds 1 to 5, The Mole and FAB 1 (3D)- we have added FAB 2 (3D), Lady Penelope's ocean-going pleasure cruiser. On top of this, Thunderbird 3 levels are now a 3rd person 3D space battle!
Nintensity: Have you any other GBA games in the works, and are you planning or considering any?
Damon Branch: Yes and yes. However we are sworn to secrecy. Sorry.
Nintensity: Will you be implementing a multiplayer feature into any future GBA titles? If not, why not?
Damon Branch: Yes. We have some incredible ideas here and they will be implemented in our next batch of games.
Nintensity: How important do you think it is to expand into next-generation systems development, such as the Game Boy Advance?
Damon Branch: It is not really important presently because from a universal perspective the GBA market has many players (perhaps even saturated now) and many decent games will be hitting the public. The point where it does become 'important' is when too many of those games are a bit crap and we all get pissed off - saying if only they did this or that. Then our presence in the market is important because having new games with new ideas is important.
Nintensity: What's your opinion on this new handheld? Is it harder developing for compared with the GBC?
Damon Branch: No. It is excellent and Nintendo are very good in the area of support. My only critisms would be the 16Mhz processor limiting potential gameplay, however with the stupidly skilled and experienced programming team we have this hasn't affected any of our games. Obviously the dull screen is a problem also.
Clive Townsend: I don't think the processor limits gameplay, it does in fact encourage people to make 'traditional' games - good solid fun instead of just fancy graphics.
Nintensity: You currently seem to be covering both Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo GBA. Are there any plans for Nintendo GameCube development?
Damon Branch: We have a proprietary 3D engine which has been in development for about 4 years built from polygon 1. We can port this to any console and so remain agnostic to any particular system presently. We have one game which is aimed for GameCube only and another for Xbox or PS2.
Nintensity: What is it like developing for BAM! Entertainment? How high do you rate their standards?
Damon Branch: They are a remarkably sharp and energetic lot. I have never worked with such an efficient and honourable publisher. It is odd.
Nintensity: And finally, enlighten us. Do you EAT Hot Potatoes?
Damon Branch: For fun and profit.
Clive Townsend: Of course! Most lunchtimes I have a baked potato with small boiled potatoes as filling, usually with a side plate of mash and chips. Isn't this normal?