ThisGenGaming reached out to Mad Fellows (@MadFellowsGames), developers of Aaero (check the review here ), Paul Norris of Mad Fellows was happy to answer our questions which include questions about Aaero, their future, Xbox One X, Switch, 4K/60FPS and so much more! It’s a great interview which is worth reading.
What are your thoughts on the Xbox One X, are you excited that such a powerful console will be available?
Yep. Totally excited for the Xbox One X. I understand that people have criticisms but, to be completely honest, I’m tired of every announcement having a swath of negative backlash. The guys I play online with (and watch E3 keynotes with) decided long ago that we’d just get excited for stuff that looked cool and if we didn’t like something we’d just let it go. The console wars are hell, man. We’re never going back there! The games they showed off, like Metro, looked like a considerable jump in quality. I just need to save up enough to get one on launch day!*
* Will everyone reading please go buy Aaero already? We need to get this man an Xbox One X stat!
With the Xbox One X on the way, are there plans to have Aaero upgraded to Native 4K/HDR with 60FPS?
Yep, that’s on our to-do list. I’m super excited for the Xbox One X.
Do you have a preference for Xbox One X vs Playstation 4 pro? (as a player and as a developer)
As a player, my friends are on Xbox so that’s my choice for multiplatform games. I also like my achievements as kind of a record of my gaming career. I also have a PS4 because the exclusives are awesome. I can totally see why people are hopping back over to the PS4 from the X360 but I couldn’t have a Halo released that I wasn’t playing on day 1. From a development point of view this is the most equally matched generation I have developed for.
Which platform did Aaero do best on? XboxOne/PS4/PC?
Xbox One in terms of the number of sales. Xbox have been very good to us throughout the development of Aaero. They’ve given us opportunities to show the game on their stands at events and arranged press days to show off Aaero alongside other ID@Xbox games. Steam has a very competitive community fighting for the top of the leaderboards which is great to see.
Did you expect you’d be getting so many good reviews?*
We didn’t have a clue, to be honest. We have been making games long enough to know not to assume anything and to prepare for the worst. We knew that people seemed to love it when we took it to EGX and Insomnia. When you’re so close to the game, It’s impossible to be objective about it. It’s easy to make excuses for it and to let things slip by because you are used to them being that way. We’re terrible for taking bad comments to heart. Shrugging things off isn’t our strong suit so we didn’t dare hope for good reviews.
Did you have any news from Sony about the 53% pricecut they had running for several days?*
I think that’s actually still running now. All communication with Sony is done through our publishers. All we know for sure is that we didn’t agree to it, our publishers say they didn’t agree to it either but there’s been some sort of confusion somewhere along the line. Like I said on Twitter, we’re just trying to make the most of it rather than trying to steer people away from it.**
* Sony had marked the game down by 53% for a few days on their Playstation Store
** Instead of hiding the info, @MadFellowsGames informed their Twitter followers of the discount. (good on them!)
What are your thoughts on developing for the Switch?
Having worked on a Wii-U launch title when we were at FreeStyleGames, we were initially hesitant to commit to developing for the Switch. I think a lot of devs were waiting to see if it took off first. It looks like a great machine and, although I haven’t got one myself yet, people I know that have them are very happy with the purchase. I think it’s a winner.
There’s apparently a bit of a shortage on indie and digital download games on there so the ones they do have are selling well. I guess this is why there’s suddenly a shortage of dev kits as we all play catch up to get involved.
What are your thoughts on those who think it’s too weak to compete with Xbox and Playstation?
I don’t think this is the same issue for Nintendo as it is for the Xbox/PS4 battle. Expectations are different for a Nintendo console. After the insanely successful original Wii and things like Wii-fit (seriously, the numbers are crazy) they dropped out of that race and into their own category. It’s mainly the blockbuster, multi-platform titles where the performance becomes a big problem. I think, by now, anyone that is buying a console for Battlefield or Call of Duty knows that it’s got to be either Microsoft or Sony.
Nintendo’s appeal comes largely from the exclusives like Zelda and Mario. These are always developed specifically to make the most of the hardware and are always quality products. As demonstrated with the Wii-U, taking a less trodden path can be risky but there aren’t many, if any other companies that can tackle that challenge as well as Nintendo. I’m thankful that there’s a battle between PS4 and Xbox to keep those companies delivering better experiences and striving to outdo each-other and I’m also thankful that Nintendo are doing their own thing so there’s opportunities for developers and gamers to think outside of the box and try new ideas. Nintendo’s price point is also great for making gaming accessible to a wider audience that aren’t ready to drop the money for a 4k TV and Xbox One X or PlayStation Pro.
Are there any plans to bring Aaero over to the Nintendo Switch at some point?
Yeah, that’s something we’d love to do. I think Nintendo are swamped with requests for dev kits at the moment but hopefully we’ll get on that soon.
Are there any plans to bring it to mobile platforms ?
To be honest, we found mobile to be a very challenging market. It’s all about micro-transactions, user retention, micro loops and whales!?* It’s more like a psychological exercise in regularly squeezing 69p out of players than providing a compelling experience. I wouldn’t say we’d definitely never do mobile again but we’re not rushing back to it anytime soon.**
*Whales are a term used in mobile games with micro-transactions to talk about the few players that spend a lot of money on one game.
**MadFellows previously made Sine-Wave, a similar Rhythm based on-rail shooter, and they no longer make a penny from the game. All of it goes straight to the publishers.
Are you keeping 4K/HD/ 60FPS in mind for future games?
Yeah for sure. It’s something people will expect from new releases. I recently bought a 4k TV and it’s certainly something I’ll be looking for in upcoming games.
Where do you stand on resolution vs framerate?
It depends on the game. If I’m playing something with exploration then I want great graphics and compelling worlds and I’d rather they draw twice as much at 30fps than half as much at 60fps. For something that’s about moving fast and responsive gameplay it has to be 60fps. Honestly, I think people get too hung up on that sort of thing, though. It becomes ammo for the console war and fanboys way before it’s actually a problem for anyone playing the game. Though there’s nothing worse than playing a PC port on console and it juddering to a virtual halt. There’s no excuse for that sort of thing.
Would your next game also be music based? *
I’m not sure. It’s where our experience is but we’ve talked about doing something more narrative. I love things like The Stanley Parable and What Remains of Edith Finch. Those things that leave a mark emotionally. I think we have one of those sorts of games in us somewhere. Perhaps we can combine the two genres. hmmm 😉
*The devs from MadFellows previously worked on Guitar Hero & DJ Hero and personally brought out Sine-Wave (mobile/windows 10) and Aaero (Xbox One/PS4/Steam)
Speaking of music, what’s your personal favourite track in Aaero?
That’s a tough one. I love playing [Ill Still] by SUBhuman. It’s the same pattern all the way through but the drums change around it and it gets really hypnotic and therapeutic.
Which other songs were considered? Are you planning on releasing DLC for it at some point?
We actually got almost every single track we wanted. We decided to strictly only use tracks that worked the best for the gameplay and were spectacularly lucky that we found a full line-up of music that:
- Worked great for the game
- Sounded awesome
- The artists were willing to let us license
I’m still a bit stunned that we got the track list that we did. DLC is something we’d love to do. We always planned to do it if the game took off enough, we just have to get it to take off enough now!*
* You can help! Aaero is available on the following platforms: