Johnny Two Shoes are the highly respected development team behind smash hit iPhone game, Plunderland. There has been huge interest in their latest game, Prevail, which is nearing the end of development. We were lucky enough to persuade the guys from Johnny Two Shoes to share some sweet information about the game, and believe me, if you have a pining for a true open world game where you explore the depths of space, with worlds that are rich and fascinating, then you really should read on…
Ok, thank you for agreeing to talk to The Smartphone App Review. First off, what is Prevail, and why should we be excited about it?
Prevail represents intrigue and discovery, it’s not meant to be a linear experience, we want players to be excited about the prospect of trying things. It feels like a big experiment because you can play the game in so many ways. There is of course a slow ramp into the game because the controls will be quite new to a lot of players, but after that you’re free to do what you want. It started with Plunderland where we wanted the player to be able to touch everything. Intrigue with deep interaction spawns some really interesting gameplay dynamics. We took that to a whole new level in Prevail, physics and deformation, of course — but the animals and different species have different characteristics and interact in ways that feel natural. It’s not like any other game for iOS.
The game looks beautiful. All your games seem to have a signature look to them, how important is the art style and direction to you?
Art style is something that’s important because we are such a small team, there is a lot of overlap of ideas but most of the artwork is done by myself and most of the code is done by my brother Josh. It has to look amazing, feel amazing and also not take a huge amount of time to create. The fact that we have a signature look I think is in part to the way everything moves, we create all our own physics/game engines and our own tools to make them move. We do all our animation in the browser with a custom tool our even younger brother, Hugo built for us in HTML5. So, 3 brothers building games, that’s right.
Freedom is a massive part of Prevail and it’s important to know there are NO limits to how far you can fly, but deep space is a dark place to be. You’ll see why once you explore it yourselves. Their are distinct species that have occupied different planets, each species offer different side missions and even different ways to earn and spend credits, this will be further expanded in our first update when we will add inter-galaxy travel. The first part of the game is limited to the first galaxy (even though you could fly as far as the other galaxies in the first release, it would take you a few hours with a slow spaceship).
The game reminds me in many ways of an ancient Amiga game called Hunter. That game had a sense of loneliness yet also a feeling of choice. What options will players of Prevail have as they play through the game?
Prevail is massively about choice and the freedom to choose at any point what to do. Personally, as game designers we love to have a game experience where you can get excited about the side missions that it can end up being the reason you fire up the game for a short experience. When we used to play Grand Theft Auto, we spent a lot of time trying to climb fire escapes in the game. I don’t even think Rockstar thought people would be doing that but fun can be found in strange areas of open world games. Prevail definitely has a sense of that and will continue to grow with community feedback. The name of the game, Prevail, represents how your facing adversity as a race and a player. That can have a feeling of loniliness, but the element of exploration and discovery adds a sense of wonder that negates that feeling overall. It’s a game that has natural highs and lows, we’re so excited for people to be playing it.
Do you have any news to share regarding a possible release date and price?
Prevail will be released 1st quarter 2012 and it will be a premium game.
Finally, we all loved Plunderland. Is there the possibility of a sequel on the horizon?
Plunderland was a lot of fun to make, but we limited ourselves in the way it was built so we could only ever add so much before we hit the 20mb limit (for carrier downloads). We tried to crowbar in a few updates, and that was fun but our ambition to make new stuff far outweighed what was possible in that engine. We’d love to make some spin-off versions that focus on multiplayer (ship vs. ship) and the idea of storming islands has been thrown around a bit. Prevail has been our focus for a while and we built it in a way that lets us rapidly prototype and update with minimal impact on game size so we can stay under that 20mb limit for a while yet.
We would like to say thank you to Johnny Two Shoes for this interview, and for the latest info on Prevail, follow @johnnytwoshoes and hashtag #PrevailApp. You can expect a full review of the game on iPhone around launch.