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LostWinds 2 Interview with David Braben

by Mark Kelly - September 16, 2009, 8:15 pm EDT

We sit down with David Braben, head of Frontier Developments, to talk about LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias.

As one of the first success stories of WiiWare, the announcement of a sequel to 2008’s LostWinds has been met with the kind of buzz that typically surrounds a major retail release. Nintendo World Report spoke to David Braben of Frontier about the success of the first game and how this affected the development of the sequel:

Nintendo World Report (NWR): Would you mind introducing yourself?

David Braben (DB): My name is David Braben, chairman of Frontier Developments Ltd, and we're just announcing LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias.

NWR: And it's playable here for the first time?

DB: Yes. And you're welcome to have a go.

NWR: Before the first LostWinds came out, I recall a comment from yourself that the quality and effort that went into graphics on the Wii was lacking. As LostWinds still stands out as exceptional, has your opinion on this changed?

DB: I don't recall the exact context of the remark, but I have also made some remarks about XBLA games being quite poor. I always think we should do our best, and it always annoys me, particularly with games for kids, that a kid's game isn't a lesser game, and it's really hard to make a game that appeals to kids. I don't mean that in relation to LostWinds, but perhaps more in relation to the Rollercoaster Tycoon games.

We put the effort in to make the game look good, and we were rewarded with sales. I don't know if you heard, but last week Rollercoaster Tycoon was number 1 in the Budget Chart, and that's coming up to its 5th birthday. So I'm pleased about that.

NWR: LostWinds 2 has already been splashed across the front of magazines, and I can't think of any other download-only games that have achieved this.

DB: Well, I'm not certain, but I think it might be the first.

NWR: The length of LostWinds was a frequent criticism of the first game. Do you expect LostWinds 2 to be longer than the first game?

DB: The game isn't quite finished yet. We're certainly expecting it to be longer, but we don't want to put a figure on it just yet.

It's very funny actually, the length comment. It does sometimes annoy me, as when I was working on the first LostWinds I was playing a Call of Duty game, and it was an absolutely excellent game, but it only took me 5 hours to finish. And that's a bit more expensive than we are.

Looking at the forums about the first game, there's around the same number of people who say it's too short as those saying they didn't finish it.

NWR: This time you're using a dual-world mechanic, as you might find in a dark/light world context, but using summer and winter. Will this lead to more complex puzzles than in the first game?

DB: On the new mechanics, there's also the new wind ability called Cyclone, which sucks water up pools to make clouds, and you can use those to rain on things. You can also use the Cyclone to pull baddies up out of the ground and use it to lift Toku higher up. We've got new bad guys, Toku can now swim.

There are a lot of new mechanics that work together with what was there before. Nothing has been lost from the first game. There are also more subtle things [than] before, such as what we're doing with temperature and physics to just bring it forward. All of this means we have been able to build more on the puzzles to make them more intricate.

NWR: I'm looking forward to playing it. Thank you for your time.

DB: Thank you. And if anyone hasn't played the first one, go ahead and download it!

Thanks to David Braben, Frontier, and Nintendo for the great interview!

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