After becoming the world's first publication to play Mercury Meltdown Revolution on Wii, CVG sat down with Ed Bradly, the Studio manager at Ignition, to talk about the latest platform-tilting puzzler.
Mercury was originally designed to be played using the tilt sensor for PSP, which was eventually cancelled. So the game had to be played with buttons instead. How much do you think this hindered the experience, and how do see this improving on Wii, with the tilt-sensitive Remote?
Bradley: It didn't hinder the experience very much because, while we had a tilt-sensor in mind, we realised not every player or platform would necessarily have access to one. What amazed me personally was that after playing Mercury using joysticks for three years it took me about 10 minutes on the Wii to forget I was using a completely different control method. It feels very natural and 'fluid' :)
Do you think playing the game with the tilt sensitive Wii Remote makes it easier or harder than on the PS2 and PSP?
Bradley: This is a topic the team has discussed a lot. We all agree it feels easier than the PSP, and much closer to the PS2. Whether it feels slightly easier or harder than the PS2 is topic of much heated debate so we'll have to let the players decide.
Do you have any plans to make it compatible with WiiConnect24, say, to make new levels available to players, or any other online features?
Bradley: It can be quite difficult to support this kind of advanced feature early in the life of a new console, so we've left it out in order to get the game out to Wii owners as soon as possible. However, our game engine does support downloadable levels so there's no reason we can't support it in any future versions.
What graphical tweaks, specifically, have been made to the Wii version of Mercury over the PS2 version?
Bradley: We've added bump- and gloss-maps to the trays, improved the lighting, added widescreen and 480p support. Screenshots don't really do justice to these features though - you really have to see the game in motion to appreciate them.
Are there any tweaks/changes other than the obvious control alterations made to the Wii version?
Bradley: We've revisited the content so the Wii version contains different graphics and levels to the previous versions. We've also refined the difficulty curve some more - that's a process that has continued throughout the development of all of the versions.
We heard some time ago that you were contemplating Wii and DS versions of Mercury. The Wii game has materialised. Is the DS game on the way?
Bradley: The DS version has yet to proceed past the "hey, wouldn't it be cool if. . ." stage.
Even if you're only considering it at this point, how might it play on the handheld?
Bradley: It would definitely use the touch screen. Other than that you'll have to forgive me for keeping our ideas under wraps - not just so they can't be pinched by someone else, but so I don't mention something that sounds great on paper and doesn't make it into the game. Similar to the tilt-sensor story of 3 years ago, in fact!
These quirky puzzle-type games are ideal for Wii - do you have any sequels or new projects in the pipeline for Nintendo's console(s)?
Bradley: Sequels are always a possibility. If players want to play Mercury we'll certainly keep giving them more. We are one of those rare breed of developers who worked on the GameCube and we have a great relationship with NOE so I see no reason why we would stop supporting Nintendo's machines.