Interview #022: Finn Krewer - 9th Impact
He's the greatest, he's fantastic. Wherever there's danger he'll be there! He's the ace, he's amazing, he's the strongest, he's the quickest he's the best. Danger Mouse! So as I try to get the catchy theme song out of my head, come join me as we learn more about 9th Impact from one of the founding members and lead developers for their most recent title on the Nintendo Switch, Danger Mouse: The Danger Games.
Read our review of Danger Mouse: The Danger Games here.
Download Danger Mouse: The Danger Games from the Nintendo eShop here.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name’s Finn. I am the lead developer at 9th Impact on Danger Mouse: The Danger Games. I am also one of the founding members of 9th Impact and spend all my time building games and environments in Unity.
What was the first console and game you remember playing?
I think the first games I ever played were Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy VIII on the original PlayStation. They were pretty awesome, and they looked so unbelievably lifelike when I played them. Final Fantasy was just such an amazing story. I really want to replay them right now.
What is your fondest childhood video game memory?
I think completing Pokemon Silver for the first time. That was wonderful, and it took so much effort and so much time, but it was really worth it.
9th Impact is an Ireland-based developer studio that was founded in 2014. Could you speak to the origins of the company, how its founders came together, and who comprises the team?
The origin of the company takes us back to an artist, a programmer, and a business man meeting in the lobby of a small Irish hotel and tossing ideas around. After a few weeks we had our first game, a point and click adventure. It was silly, it was simple, but it was crazy hard. From then on, we started on more ambitious mobile games that had multiple levels and soft multiplayer features like leaderboards and friends lists. Then we realized we needed an animator, then another programmer, then a tester, then another artist, then another programmer, and then a professional full time marketing guru. The team is relatively small, but tightly integrated and we spend most of our time building and testing our games with each other. The mix of Unity programmers and artists that can prototype quickly is what really makes the whole studio work so well.
In 2016, Enterprise Ireland invested 50,000 euros into your studio based on your company's success and mission. At the time, being a relatively new company, what impact did this investment have and do you still maintain a close relationship with Enterprise Ireland?
We are a High Potential Start-Up under Enterprise Ireland and this investment and their expertise really helped 9th Impact to execute much bigger projects with wider scope and wider appeal, like our latest title Danger Mouse. Our mission remains the same: to make the best and the most suitable games for television franchises. The company was able to move much faster and expand with this funding and compete for bigger projects than we would have previously worked on.
Moving onto your projects, your studio primarily focused on mobile based games prior to Danger Mouse arriving on the Nintendo Switch. Some of your titles/series include Biker Mice from Mars, Star Commander, Robotory, and more. Could you briefly describe your main titles to those who may be newcomers?
Initially, we developed some of our own ideas and genres that we really wanted to try out, such as Ninja Go, a very pretty endless runner in 2D, and Robotory, a cute jump game whose whole mechanic works with just a swipe and a tap.
Biker Mice from Mars: Rock n Ride, and Biker Mice from Mars: Mars Attack! are both very different games based on the Biker Mice from Mars characters and universe. Rock n Ride is based on an endless runner with a storyline where you chase villains around different parts of Chicago while Mars Attack! is a super tricky hexagonal turn based strategy game chronicling the resistance operations on Mars by the Mice, as their home planet was destroyed by the Plutarkians.
Most recently, Danger Mouse: The Danger Games arrived on the Nintendo Switch in September 2018. Based on the TV series and supporting 1-4 players, there's plenty to enjoy in this racing title. Were you always a fan of the original 1981 series and/or 2015 reboot?
I just missed the window for the 1981 series when I was growing up. But the new series is amazing, so hilarious for both kids and adults. The cast list is brilliant and has some of my all-time heroes like Stephen Fry and Alexander Armstrong, and keeps getting bigger every season. It’s well worth tuning in, especially since the new season has just started!
Was it a difficult process to create Danger Mouse for the Switch?
There was a fairly steep learning curve, in my opinion. Unity itself is very well rounded to develop for the Switch and as we developed the other games for mobile in Unity it was really a port with some heavy modifications. We had to build an entire new UI system and really up our soundscape and our use of heavier post-processing. The good thing is that the folks at Nintendo were very responsive to us, especially as we were ramping up to the release date. They provided a lot of support along the way, and that was huge in helping us present the game the way that we wanted.
How would you describe the title to kids and adults looking for that next new title to download from the eShop?
Danger Games is a fun fast paced auto-racer that you can play both on your own, or with friends. It’s the sort of pick-up-and-play game that you can bring anywhere, racing against up to 3 people at any time. There’s also a card collecting element where you can acquire cards after each successful race to improve your race deck. And fans of the series will appreciate the personal touches we’ve given the game to make it a uniquely Danger Mouse experience. And we’re already working on adding in more characters updates to the game.
What can gamers expect next from 9th Impact and will it release on the Nintendo Switch?
We have a few big projects under way, but can’t say much at the moment! Keep an ear to the ground. :)
As a relatively small indie developer, what words of wisdom would you give to aspiring game developers looking to enter the market?
Game Development is tough; it takes a long time to get a good game concept, let alone to build it to a standard where you can publish the game. My advice is to make a demo quickly and get feedback from your friends or from a neighbor, as long as they are honest with you. Also Unity is the best game engine out there, and the easiest one to get into. It has lots of opportunities and lots of content and lots of target platforms.
Besides your own, what game(s) are you currently playing?
Well, I’ve just picked up Undertale for Nintendo Switch, so playing through that right now. It’s an amazing game! I’m also really looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2 when it comes out later this month!
Is there anything else you'd like to share today?
Get ready for Halloween, it’s going to be full of Spooky Updates!
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