We’re currently playing MechRunner to give you a review for the game, so we figured now was the perfect time to get in touch with Spark Plug Games to talk about the game’s long development path to PS4.
PS4B: Hi! Thank you for taking the time to join us at PS4blog.net. Would you mind getting us started by talking a bit about yourself and your work?
Thanks for having me! I’m John O’Neill, the main programmer on MechRunner, and have been working on it from the beginning of the project. We’re a small team, so there’s a lot of hats that get worn when working on projects like this and trying to stay alive in this indie market. It certainly has been a long time coming, and we learned a great deal about the challenges of trying to manage a business and stay alive while building a game of this scale with a small team.
PS4B: After a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2014, a lot of hard work, and a considerably long approval process over at Sony, MechRunner is finally available on PlayStation 4. How would you describe the game to someone who has not had a chance to hear about it?
The game is very much a run-and-gun style release but in the arcade genre of a runner game. We had a lot of love for robots and mechs from work we did in the industry years ago, so if you love giant transforming robots that carry an arsenal of cool weapons, you’ll love jumping in and blowing stuff up in this game!
PS4B: How goes the development of the PS Vita version of the game? Any ETA on when we can expect that version to be out in the wild?
Now that we’ve finalized the PS4 version, we are hard at work getting the Vita version optimized. Some of the challenges we faced when doing the conversion (and which we’re still working through) had to do with targeting one code-base and set of assets between the various platforms. We will have updates on the Vita version in the upcoming months, but one thing we have learned is to not promise a release if we don’t have a firm grasp on all the requirements from the console certification process.
PS4B: Are you considering working on some extra bosses for the game to be made available as DLC or as an update to the main release?
We would love to add additional content and unlock the work we did on the other bosses, since so much of that has already been designed and built in the game. We had to make the difficult decision to disable a couple of those bosses in order to get the game out, but all the work still exists, and it is a possibility that we will do a DLC or update in the future.
PS4B: Along with the PS Vita port of MechRunner, what is next for Spark Plug Games?
There’s always cake. We like cake. There’s always new ideas that we are experimenting with, and hopefully can announce something soon!
PS4B: And that’s all the time we have for today. Would you like to add anything else before we go?
We learned a great deal going through this process, both as a small team as well as realizing that promising release dates before it was time can burn you. Sony was very helpful to us throughout the process, and it’s incredible to see the game running on the PS4. Building new games and coming up with exciting mechanics is still something we love to do and will continue doing it in the future, but we’ll go in with more effort on the communication side of things and keep our community informed along the way.