We chat with Sabarasa about their upcoming WiiWare title, Horizon Riders.
The Wii Balance Board has been one of the most successful video game peripherals of all time, and Independent developer Sabarasa will be releasing a new WiiWare game on Thursday, Horizon Riders, that takes full advantage of it and in a unique way. We spoke with Javier Otaegui about all things Horizon Rider, and his interest in developing for 3DS.
Nintendo World Report (NWR): First off, would you like to introduce yourself?
Javier Otaegui (JO): Hi NWR! My name is Javier Otaegui and I’m the founder and CEO of Sabarasa, a game studio based in Buenos Aires. Nowadays I’m tremendously happy and grateful to have worked more than half of my life at Sabarasa doing what I love to do, which is creating games that kick ass.
NWR: Please give our readers a summary of your game, Horizon Rider.
JO: Horizon Riders is our love letter to arcade shooters: we wanted to combine a great arcade experience with a new input system for the genre which is the Wii Balance Board. In Horizon Riders, you take the role of a galactic merc who controls a very fast hover board (think Green Goblin). Each rider has a different set of weapons with different stats and you need to singlehandedly take down a complete army of AI-drones. Horizon Riders is all about speed and shooting and using your body to control the hover board.
NWR: What inspired the team to use the Wii Balance Board as a hover board?
JO: We were inspired by the Wii Balance Board itself. It is a great peripheral, and we thought it would be fantastic to create a completely different kind of experience with it. So we thought of hundreds of possibilities and we picked the hover board idea. We believe the results are very powerful when combining both the Wii Balance Board and the Wii Zapper, given that you are really physically controlling your riders as if you were there; balancing your body and firing a weapon in a very hostile environment. You really have to try it!
NWR: Does the game feature boss battles?
JO: I don’t want to spoil the game’s surprises, but yes, of course it has them! There are a total of three boss battles, and each one of them is really very challenging.
NWR: Horizon Rider aims to deliver a very arcade-like experience and will feature a robust score system. Will there be online leaderboards?
JO: No, unfortunately due to time restrictions there are no online leaderboards, just offline. The score system is indeed, as you said, a very important element of all arcade experiences, and we built in a full system with millions of points, multipliers and combos, and also several medals for each of the levels.
NWR: What games influenced the development of Horizon Rider?
JO: I can say without any doubts our main influence is the arcade classic Space Harrier. People tend to compare the game to Sin and Punishment, but it was not our main influence and it’s quite different I must say.
NWR: Your next WiiWare title is the first person shooter Protocol. How is development progressing? Will it debut later this year?
JO: Hmm… everyone is so curious about Protocol. I can confirm that the game is being actively developed and polished right now. We really need the people’s support with Horizon Riders to help us finish Protocol. I would love to say that it will debut this year, but the most likely scenario is that it will slip to 2012.
NWR: Sabarasa has been a big supporter of DSiWare. Is there any interest in making a 3D game for the eShop?
JO: Yes, definitely. We are a big supporter of Nintendo’s digital distribution platforms, and we believe the eShop is the natural evolution of them. We are still focused on polishing Protocol so we have not yet started working on a 3D game for the eShop, but we already have hundreds of ideas we would like to explore.
NWR: Any final thoughts for our readers?
JO: We really hope that you enjoy Horizon Riders: a demo version of the game will be available for four weeks, so you can try a sample of it. Although both peripherals are optional, please try Horizon Riders with both of them so you can experience the game in full. Let me rephrase that; we hope that you LOVE it! Thanks for the interview and cheers from Buenos Aires!
Thanks to Javier Otaegui for the interview.