Two Tribes’ Toki Tori 2 (which we recently previewed) releases next week on the Wii U eShop. We caught up with creative director Collin van Ginkel at PAX East to answer a few questions about the game.
Snackbar Games: What should players of the first Toki Tori game expect from this one?
Collin van Ginkel: People who loved the first Toki Tori will hopefully love the second game as well. It’s now more of an open-world puzzle adventure game, and before it was really a puzzle platform game. Now we’ve added the storyline, we’ve added an open world and we’ve really simplified the experience. In the old Toki Tori, you had like an inventory with eight items you could use, and it was pretty complex. In this case, as a player you are tasked with solving puzzles, which you do by whistling and stomping next to the creatures and figuring out how they respond.
For instance, if there’s a bird and you need him to come over, you can whistle and he can follow you. The idea is that the further you get into the game, the more knowledge you get about the game world, so you know what the creatures do and how they respond, and how you can use them in combinations to solve the game’s puzzles.
SBG: What were the challenges for developing for the PC and the Wii U simultaneously?
CvG: From a technical standpoint, the devices are similar enough so you can develop on one and port it easily to the other. So what we do is whenever we have a new feature, we develop it on the PC, and for instance a day later, we have it on the Wii U as well, so that was pretty easy.
What we’ve done is we’ve used the GamePad on parts where it made sense. We didn’t re-do the game to make use of the GamePad, but we have features that work only on the Wii U, such as the Camera Mode, where you can use the GamePad as a viewfinder on the camera. We’ve made sure the Wii U doesn’t have any graphical elements, any HUD elements, because all of that is on the GamePad. It makes it super-clean, so you can just look at the game, and that’s all that you see, and it’s really a lot more immersive that way.
SBG: How long will the full game be?
CvG: Someone could easily spend 15 hours on the normal playthrough, but if you want to grab everything in the game, get every collectible, visit every location… you’re probably going to be twice as long, maybe even longer. Before we sent it off to Nintendo, we collected every collectible in the game, and it took me two work days. So I spent 16 hours playing the game to get everything that’s in there, and I knew all the solutions to the puzzles.
SBG: Who came up with the little songs?
CvG: I don’t know! It’s more of an organic process. We knew that we wanted a whistle and a stomp, and so we said okay, what can we do with this. We wanted to make it really well-integrated into the game, because we didn’t want to have any menus or any difficult controls, so it had to be done with one button, just the whistle button, so in the end we came up with the long and the short notes, and that worked pretty well.
SBG: The Wii U version releases April 4, but when can we expect the PC version?
CvG: We need a couple of months before it’s done. For instance, on the Wii U, you can just assume someone has a widescreen TV. You don’t have to support different resolutions, you don’t have to support multiple monitors… all kinds of keyboards, stuff like that. That’s what we’re doing now. We’re going to make sure it works perfectly on PC as well, and it should be… I don’t know, a couple of months. July, something like that.
SBG: Besides the monitor thing, are there going to be any exclusive features for the PC version?
CvG: We are going to have Steam Workshop with an in-game editor, and our editor is always just one button away. You press Tab, and it opens up straight away, and it’s super-easy to make something. Achievements will be added because the Wii U version doesn’t have those, we have some more technical stuff that we’re adding… it’s just going to be a good PC version.
Thanks to Collin for talking to us! Stay tuned for our review of Toki Tori 2 shortly after its April 4 eShop release.