If it's as good as Bit.Trip Runner, Runner 2 has a good chance of being the best Wii U eShop game of the launch window. After all, its predecessor was so good it actually was ONM's fourth best game on any platform of 2010. The best thing about it was its simplicity as, playing as CommanderVideo, you jumped, slid and sprinted through its retro 2D levels to an amazing old school soundtrack. Yet, for Wii U, Commander Video has been given a bit of a makeover so will it have the same charm as the original? We interviewed Mike Roush, the co-founder of Gaijin Games, to find out.
ONM: Firstly, why did you drop the Bit.Trip name?
Mike Roush: The Bit.Trip name was dropped from Runner2 for a few reasons. The main reason and the one we really feel is the most important is that Runner2 is just not in the Bit.Trip art style. Bit.Trip proper is very special to us but it was hard to maintain that world and to keep it fresh. It does not seem like it, but we had made a lot of rules around the art style and towards the end of development, this ended up being very constrictive.
ONM: Bit.Trip Runner is probably the most loved game in the series. Is this why you chose to make a sequel? Could you see yourself releasing any HD sequels for other Bit.Trip games. We'd like Bit.Trip Fate 2!
Mike Roush: Until very recently sales would dictate that Bit.Trip Beat was our most popular game. But it's true! Runner is a very popular game. However, this was not a super big factor in doing a remake. The main reason is it's a lot of fun to develop. It's also a world that we found we could pack wildly silly ideas into, it's an extremely loose canvas.
I am not sure if we will do HD remakes. We are kind of spent on developing Bit.Trip games for now, but I personally have always wanted to make an HD Core in full 3D shooting out of 3 axis (ie. shoot in the X,Y and Z). It would make the game 33% harder!
ONM: Moving onto the game itself, how different is it from Bit.Trip Runner? What have you added? It looks great!
Mike Roush: The main and most obvious difference is the art style shift from the 'Atariesk' stylings into a full 3d world. It's a nutty switch, but we needed to break away and stretch our wings a bit. There are some really fun changes with the gameplay. 100 Stages in 5 worlds, Loop de Loops, Square De Squares, diverging paths, checkpoints, speed boost, rails, playable characters/costumes, retro bonus challenges with soundtrack by Disasterpeace.
ONM: Will the Wii U version differ from versions on other consoles? Have you added any GamePad features?
Mike Roush: You will be able to play the "Retro Challenges" on the Wii U GamePad after collecting Famicom cartridges. We have a whole Famicom theme around the Wii Pad, and Disasterpeace made the most amazing music with FamiTracker so it's sounds just like a Famicom game!