Interview: Alien Spidy’s Enigma Software CEO Daniel Parente

Hardcore Gamer recently caught up with Daniel Parente, CEO of Enigma Software, to talk all things Alien Spidy. For those unaware, Alien Spidy is a unique and colorful platformer coming soon to multiple consoles. Topics included inspiration for the character, design challenges and release details. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our Alien Spidy hands-on preview.

[Hardcore Gamer] Where did the idea for the Alien Spidy character come from?

[Daniel Parente] When we finished work on our game Warleaders: Clash of Nations, we wanted to develop something different, which would rely on a unique a characteristic for an unusual hero. After several sessions of brainstorming, we thought that spiders had not been starring in a lot of motion pictures, cartoons or videogames, and we decided to give it a go.

It took us several months before we are finally able to achieve a somewhat good looking and interesting little spider that we called Spidy. During the process, we had to make several modifications to what a spider should be in order to make it feel more “human” –especially the eyes, which generated us a new problem: how to justify it? It’s when we came to the idea to make it an alien spider coming from outer space. This new solution gave us new lines of development for the game mechanics and game story, and a new star was born: Alien Spidy.

[HG] Was it hard to figure out a way to implement that character into such a complex platformer, or was the game designed with the character in mind from the start?

[DP] The main mechanics of the webstring were initially already planned to be in the game, but when we developed the first prototype the game, it was actually already visually very sexy. When playing it, it was rather somewhat disappointing too slow. We made several tries at making it more thrilling and exciting – while pitching it to developers – but we were not very successful initially.

Everyone loved the game from a visual point of view, and everyone was asking, “Where is the fun?” Something was wrong and we were not able to understand what it was. That was then, when one the designers thought that a Spider with a webstring should be fast because we can swing through the air very gracefully and – drawing back from the Sonic the Hedgehog inspiration – if we used that speed to collect items across the screen, we could have an entirely different game. The game effectively gained a new dimension, and it was easier afterwards to continue building the overall design of the game. It was a process that took us almost five months.

[HG] Which part of the gameplay are you most proud of and are there any things you’d like to improve upon for a possible sequel?

[DP] We are very proud of the webstring mechanics and the powers-ups. We think that we have achieved a very interesting challenge for the player that guarantees that any player can play the game and have fun, but that the more hardcore players will also be able to have fun by trying to collect all the orbs in the level, even if dying 1000 times is necessary.

For a potential Alien Spidy sequel, we would like to play with more power-ups and with gadgets that Spidy was supposed to be using from its world, but were eventually removed from the game.

[HG] Are there any plans to release DLC after the game is released?

[DP] We will be exploring the idea of DLC after release. Nothing planned as of right now, though.

[HG] Was it hard to design the web-shooting element? It’s a huge part of the game, but also requires such precision that I imagine many sleepless nights were spent just figuring out ways to get it to work properly, and then to work for players and make it easy to use.

[DP] Yes, it was one of the most complex parts of the game, together with the 2D multilayer parallax integrated with 3D assets. We have to make several prototypes specifically for the web, as to be able to render it naturally and correctly, and as to have it working in a way fun for the player, something that would bit immediately on what you would be expecting of playing with a spider.

[HG] Is any platform being thought of as the lead platform?

[DP] Yes, the consoles PS3 and Xbox 360 are the main platforms. The game is designed to be played with a gamepad.

[HG] When is the game coming out and how much is it planned to sell for? That info is nigh-impossible to find on the web right now.

[DP] The game is supposed to be sold at 800 Points or $9.99.

(Interview Conducted by JPeeples)