We had the opportunity to do a quick email interview with Jeremiah Slaczka, Creative Director for 5th Cell, developer of the Scribblenauts franchise. Recently released to iOS, Scribblenauts Remix is the latest in a line of highly regarded games, first released on the Nintendo DS in September of 2009.
We covered the game extensively at The Portable Gamer, so were really excited to see an iOS version, which comes in as a $4.99 Universal app (as opposed to the DS game, originally released at a $29.99 price point). While Slaczka was not able to comment on the pricing difference or strategy, he was able to answer a few of our more general questions.
We noticed that Remix seems to contain levels from both the original Scribblenauts game as well as the sequel, Super Scribblenauts, which added the ability to modify items names with adjectives. Our assumption, however, was a bit off base.
“Actually, the game is mostly based on Super Scribblenauts because that installment is superior to the original in every way,” said Slaczka. “The only things we borrowed from the first one were some original levels that we loved, and added adjective support for them.”
The touchscreen of the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad seems ideal for a game that was already based on stylus-based touchscreen controls. However, there were many criticisms of the original game due to its difficult and almost loose control of protagonist Maxwell. Slaczka says that this issue was fixed in Super Scribblenauts, and that fix has come over to the iOS platform. A second control scheme via virtual joystick was also added.
“Making the virtual joystick as good as it can be was a big concern. Overall, though, Apple’s system is very nice to work with in porting the game over, and the functionality of the touch screen is really ideal for Scribblenauts.”
We also wanted to know Slaczka’s opinion about the future of handheld gaming. This is a pretty amazing transitional time between the traditional handheld console market, with gaming-centric features, and the new smartphone world, with games only one of the features included with a device. What does this veteran of the traditional handheld console market (5th Cell also developed Drawn to Life and Lock’s Quest, two highly regarded game releases) think of the current trend?
His initial response is fairly non-committal, which makes sense. Don’t want to burn any bridges, right? “Well, all of this generation’s handheld consoles are not even to market yet, so I think it is much too early to call any clear winner,” he said. “The 3DS is still in the early stages of its lifecycle, and we can only speculate on the PS Vita, but I’m really interested to see how they both hold up as their game selections mature.”
Continuing, Slaczka says, “However, I really like the iOS setup. It is concise and accessible to anyone who wants to develop for it, which has really changed handheld development. We will definitely be working more on this platform.” Great news, indeed. When asked about future plans, of course, he was less than forthcoming. We can only continue to keep our eye on this developer into the future, and will share details as we find them out right here.
Released: 2011-10-12 :: Category: Games
Oh, and here’s a quick video of The Portable Gamer’s coverage of the original NYC launch event for Scribblenauts, starring none other than Mr. Jeremiah Slaczka himself. Enjoy!