Ronimo Games might not be an immediately familiar name but the young studio has produced a number of excellent games in its short history, not the least of which are de Blob and Swords & Soldiers.
It's latest project; a PSN/XBLA-bound game titled Awesomenauts, is a call out to 16-bit gamers yearning for a bit of classic platforming-action with modern online multiplayer twist.
We had a chat with Jasper Koning, who is in charge of PR and marketing at Ronimo Games and co-founder Joost van Dongen about the upcoming game.
What's it like making a game for the PSN?
Joost van Dongen: It's great, because it allows a small studio like us to get a game released worldwide on the major consoles. Sony are really supportive, and their technical support is really good. PS3 is not the easiest device to work with, and Sony really makes up for that by answering questions quickly.
What single innovation do you think would really change the games industry for the best?
JvD: It's not so much an innovation, but I think things would get a lot better if games were more accepted. There's still a vibe about them that they're only for nerds or fifteen year-old boys. In reality, almost everyone plays games these days, but in the West it still has that stigma. If games were taken as seriously as movies, that would be the biggest change.
Jasper Koning: When the Wii became successful, we hoped it would change the way people look at games. In the end it didn't really turn out, but we're still hoping that happens some day.
Awesomenauts is akin to the PC classic League of Legends, but for those not familiar with your inspiration, how would you describe your game?
JvD: Basically, it's a fast-paced 3v3 multiplayer game. It's a platforming game where you have to destroy the enemy base, and it's got a lot of tactical depth - and it's a lot of fun!
What's the most important videogame of all time?
JK I think I'll have to go with [Nintendo's] The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. When I first saw it I was totally blown away, and I realised that gaming would reach awesome heights in my lifetime. I was totally sure of that once I saw Ocarina.
Now that I think about it, I'm actually torn between that and Animal Crossing. That game has such a great sense of place - it really feels like it's an alternate reality.
JvD: I'd have to say Star Control 2. It's an old PC game that nobody seems to remember, but it had this really big, RPG-like universe. It also had something I've never seen in any game since: the universe is so big that you'd never be able to explore all of it. Even in huge games like Fallout 3 you can still visit every place on the map in about 100 hours, but not in Star Control. I absolutely love it.
What's the worst thing about being a games developer?
JvD: Fixing bugs! [laughs]
JK: There's a lot of boring stuff, like the languages. Making sure everything gets translated properly. That's a really banal task, and it sucks.
JvD: Yeah, we don't have anyone at Ronimo who speaks English, Spanish and Italian... [laughs]. So we have to hire an external company to handle the localisation.
Are there any developers out there you think have done anything to move the games industry forward?
JvD I think Will Wright and Peter Molyneux. From Wright, games like The Sims and Spore, and from Molyneux, Theme Park and Black & White. What's cool about these games is that they do new things. Even if some of them don't work that well - Spore wasn't quite what people were expecting - they are still innovative.
I think Wright and Molyneux are important developers when it comes to innovation and fleshing outthese ambitious ideas.
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