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Talking Long-Necked Animal Insanity With Sausage Sports Club’s One-Man Developer

by Neal Ronaghan - September 6, 2017, 1:47 pm PDT
Total comments: 1

Following a successful Kickstarter, Chris Wade is almost finished with his Nintendo debut. We talked to him about Sausage Sports Club, his burrito stretch goal, and more.

Something about Sausage Sports Club spoke to me when it popped up in the Nindies Spotlight last week. This weird little game was all about controlling weird sausage-long animals as they competed in a variety of zany multiplayer sports. It’s the special brand of local multiplayer wankery that retains a feeling of competition despite the joy coming from just the control of the characters, like Starwhal and Gang Beasts.

I dug deeper into Sausage Sports Club and found out it was the result of a Kickstarter project a year ago by Chris Wade. Before setting out to make this goofy game, Wade cut his teeth working on games such as Mortal Kombat X, Manifold Garden, and Battle Chef Brigade (the latter of which is also coming to Switch). As a matter of fact, he’s still working on other projects while working on Sausage Sports Club by his lonesome. It’s an interesting setup, as he has other projects during the day and then plugs away on his own Kickstarter-funded solo project after hours.

I peppered Wade with some questions about Sausage Sports Club, touching on its Nindie origins, its poetic URL, and what sets it apart from the onslaught of local multiplayer games on Switch. Sausage Sports Club is due out this fall on Switch and PC.

Nintendo World Report (NWR): A year ago, you were just wrapping up the Kickstarter for Sausage Sports Club. First off, how was the burrito stretch goal? Second, how would you describe and contrast your feelings after the Kickstarter ended last year to today, where you're closer to the end of development?

Chris Wade (CW): Burrito stretch goal was great. It tasted like the support of 400 old and new friends (and steak)!

Over the last year, the game has changed and evolved into something much deeper and more interesting than what I promised in the Kickstarter. Although there's some guilt from delaying launch a few times, I'm proud of what the game has become and really excited to get it into people's hands soon. The biggest difference now is that I'm a little more experienced and take more time to seriously evaluate my development decisions, whether that's adding new features or coming to PAX or picking a release date. This April I switched over to full-time independent development and every decision has suddenly become more serious.

NWR: Your Kickstarter was for PC only and didn't land any of the dedicated console stretch goals. How did the opportunity to come to Switch happen?

CW: As you know, Steam is by far the biggest platform for PC gaming. In the past 2-3 years, they've opened up to make it much easier to get your game out there. I think it's a great move on their part, but it's also made it harder to get noticed. A lot of commercial indie developers are starting to move to consoles to try and make it easier to stand out and Switch is the freshest version of that. I met Kirk and Damon (the front-facing Nintendo indie guys) at the Game Developers Conference this year and basically kept following up with them until they said yes.

NWR: How much did the addition of the Switch version alter and/or impact development?

CW: Since starting to build for Switch, I've probably spent a solid month of development time on optimization and Switch-specific features like HD rumble, motion-controlled flopping and single/dual Joy-Con mode.

NWR: Obviously the multiplayer aspect makes it a nice fit for Switch right off the bat. What sets Sausage Sports Club apart from the growing amount of local multiplayer games on Switch?

CW:There's a lot of stuff that sets SSC apart from other local multiplayer games:

  • 8 player support
  • balance of tight, competitive play and goofy physics
  • tons of ways to play with 20+ map/game mode combinations
  • explore the physics-toy filled overworld
  • replayable 1-4 player adventure mode

NWR: The Nindies Spotlight video mentioned that the head of your character can be controlled with Joy-Con motions. Are there any other Switch-specific embellishments?

CW: Sausage Sports Club also features custom tailored HD rumble for many of the different type of physics contacts, including stomps, kicks, head smacks and lots more.

NWR: Any limitations on what controllers can be used, or do Joy-Con, Grips, and Pro Controllers all work?

CW: You can play with any configuration of controllers supported by Nintendo Switch. One limitation worth noting- you can connect up to 8 Joy-Con to the console, so only 4 players can use dual Joy-Con mode at a time.

NWR: How much of a single-player experience will the game offer?

CW: In addition to competitive multiplayer, there's also the 1-4 player adventure mode. I'll share more details on this closer to launch, but it will last 2-3 hours and be moderately replayable. Unlocking all the characters, skins and hats will take at least 15 hours for the average player.

NWR: You also worked on Battle Chef Brigade, which is hitting Switch later this year. Are your goals for the next Nindie Spotlight to just have a hand in every game shown?

CW: I'd love to be a part of more games for the Switch! I love the system and being able to play games from bed and having quickplay indie games like Tumbleseed and Gonner on the go.

NWR: In your Kickstarter, you noted juggling freelance game projects (like the aforementioned Battle Chef Brigade) with Sausage Sports Club. How has that process gone over the last year? Would you undergo a similar balance of solo project and freelance gigs in the future?

CW: That process of working gigs during the day to support my work on Sausage Sports Club was great. I've been fortunate enough to work on some amazing projects (Mortal Kombat X, Battle Chef Brigade, Manifold Garden) and each one taught me a lot about programming and making games, which all contributed to what SSC has become. Working day jobs also gave me time to ruminate on hard design problems until I had good solutions in mind when it came time to work on the game.

I can't talk specifics yet, but I already have another rad job lined up for once Sausage Sports Club is released. I'm hopeful the new job will give me time to relax for a bit after launch and offer a lot of inspiration for future games!

NWR: I notice your URL is sausagesports.club. Is your intention for future games to be able to make it so you can make the game name into a clever URL? Might I recommend trying to get the Aerobiz license and try to snatch up aero.biz?

CW: I always love seeing games show the character of their game in as many mediums as possible. I'm glad for SSC I was able to tell that small joke with my URL! As for Aerobiz, simulation games aren't really my jam. I tend to prefer realtime-y, action-y, gamefeel-y games. Hopefully my next game can have a silly URL too!

NWR: What Nintendo characters would you think would fit in best in the world of Sausage Sports Club?

CW: Anyone that could match the shape of my characters would be a great fit. A stack of Pikmin would work, or maybe a stretched out Kirby!

NWR: If you could make a game using one of Nintendo's characters or franchises, which would it be and why?

CW: Oh wow. I could come up with a game idea that would work for so many Nintendo characters. I wouldn't touch Zelda, especially after they just reinvented it so successfully. And it's hard for me to imagine Mario as anything outside of 3D platforms, since I started with Mario 64. I think Yoshi and Kirby could be really interesting as over-the-shoulder 3rd person action games. With Yoshi you could have racing sections where momentum and tight steering matter a lot and with Kirby you could do a lot of great melee and ranged combat stuff. Hire me Nintendo!

Talkback

TurdFurgySeptember 06, 2017

An interview about sausage shaped animals and the weirdest thing to come out of it was a 3rd person over the shoulder Yoshi racing game.

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