We’re big fans of anime. We’re big fans of retro gaming. Put the two together and you have us salivating and that’s exactly what the guys at Jeviathor Games in Malaga have come up with. Feast your eyes on the game’s loveliness and let Fran, Eduardo and Sergio tell you more about their awesome project Wonderous Marbles!
We’re big fans of the 16-bit consoles so when we heard about Wonderous Marbles we were very pleased! Can you tell us a little bit about the game, the plot and how you came up with it?
Francisco: Wonderous Marbles is an action 2D game with fights, platforms, weapons, explosions, vehicles, magic, a lot of bosses and other enemies, towns and a vast variety of stages. The game can be played by one or two players with collaborative mode on the same PC (we like this! – Ed).
We like 16-bit games so much so we decided to avoid complicating the plot unlike games made nowadays. We prefer games with simple and straightforward gameplay, so in general terms it is a simple story like the 90s 16-bit games.
The story is located in a world where there are magic spheres (called ‘Wonderous Marbles’) connected with the basic elements of nature: earth, fire, wind, water, light and darkness. These spheres have magic properties with unbelievable power. In ancient times they were used to do good but an evil guy, called Marblester, appeared to take them all and rule the world! (we love this! – Ed)
Our heroes, Hank and Vajra, are two orphan siblings who have the special ability to control the magic within the marbles. Hank stands out for his ability in melee combat whilst Vajra is a sorcerer with outstanding magic power. Their old master, Gurtados Norris, knows of a supernatural connection between them and the marbles, so he guides them through an amazing adventure.
These children are entrusted to take part in a war against the Marblester’s Empire, breaking through countless enemy hordes commanded by powerful and dangerous bosses of all kinds, across the length and breadth of 10 worlds fraught with danger.
What 16-bit games have inspired it?
Eduardo: The first idea was to make a ‘single-screen-platform’ game, inspired by Snow Bros and Tumble Pop. While we were developing and playing the first prototype a lot of new ideas came up, so we began adding more and more features to the game. So a lot of new RPG elements, as well as ‘Metroidvania’ features were been added to the game.
Afterwards, games like: WonderBoy, Megaman, Castlevania, Zelda, Seiken Densetsu 2 and 3 and Super Mario were an inspiration.
In respect of artistic design, the game has been inspired by Mirage Silouette and Astal, from Sega Saturn, and Capcom classics like King of Dragons, Three Wonders and ChikiChiki Boys.
How did you come up with the title and are you big fans of playing marbles?
Francisco: The title cames up after listening a song by the progressive rock band Yes, titled Wonderous Stories. I thought it could be good to make a reference to this legendary band (good call – Ed). The word ‘marbles’ was chosen due to the magic balls of the game, they look like marbles but a little bigger. We thought that ‘Wonderous Marbles’ would be a more attractive title than ‘Wonderous Balls’ or ‘Wonderous Spheres’.
All of us have played marbles in our childhood, especially Sergio and Edu who played with marbles a bit too much until they began to play video games.
How many of you are there at Jeviathor Games and who does what?
Sergio: Eduardo and I are programmers and Fran is the graphic artist and music composer. I take care of the characters’ behaviour, including the AI. On the other hand Edu is responsible for graphic rendering as well as other programming task like effects, physics and gameplay. Fran takes care of all the game art including character design and animation, backgrounds and item design. In addition, he is composing the game soundtrack in his free time.
The game has a very Studio Ghibli feel to it. Is this what you’re aiming for and how did you do it?
Francisco: We really appreciate that. We’re all big fans of manga, anime movies and series. Since I learned to draw it has been a great influence.
Other great artistic influences are Yoshitaka Amano (designer of the beginnings of the Final Fantasy series and animation movies like Tenshi no Tamago) and Akira Toriyama. Katsuhiro Otomo and Masamune Shirow are other influences for me.
As for my videogame influences, the Super Mario Bros saga from Shigeru Miyamoto, Treasure games like Gunstar Heroes or Guardian Heroes, arcade games from the arcade system board CPS-1 and CPS-2 of Capcom, the wonderful SNK with its powerful NeoGeo, some Sega games like the Shinobi saga and the amazing IREM with a 90’s spectacular catalogue.
Finally, a special mention for Secret Of Mana.
Sergio: In our city Malaga there is great activity in the video games field. Malaga has several events dedicated to video games, for instance Gamepolis, one of the most important fairs in Andalusia. Moreover, Spain has Barcelona Games World and Madrid Games Week too, some of the most important fairs in Europe. It is surprising to see so many video game studios with so many great ideas. It is a relief to think that you are not alone in this, there are more people in the same situation and with similar goals.
Here also there is an association called Malaga Jam, a great initiative created some months after a Global Game Jam event. We participated in the Global Game Jam event and it was an awesome experience.
Also, there’s mentoring, training and workshops for video games startups, as well as co-working offices for the new game developers from Malaga.
We meet new gaming studios from Malaga like Rodaja or Tale Studios who’ve published some games on Steam and Android. Tale Studios has gotten Greenlight for Breaking Fast, their new game. We also know about a developer called Locomalito who launched Maldita Castilla in 2012 (a PC game like Ghost ‘n Goblins), now he has launched it on PS4, Xbox One and on Steam Greenlight.
I know David at Undercoders is a big burger fan – what’s your favourite food to eat when working on games?
Sergio: My favourite food when working on games is pizza. I really love it. A day playing games, working on games, and eating pizza is a great day.
Francisco: When you work a lot of hours I prefer pasta. Out of work hours I like barbecued food.
Eduardo: My favourite food for work (and not work) is paella, though I prefer white rice or pasta salad on hard days at work. Also, I cannot work without coffee or Monster! (other energy drinks are available, 🙂 – Ed)
I see you’re planning to bring the game to Steam which we’re extremely looking forward to – what are the plans for the game over the next six months and when can we expect it on Greenlight? Are you running a Kickstarter or is the funding sorted?
Eduardo: We are improving some details, correcting bugs and adding some suggestions from people we know. We are working in a promotional video and a playable demo too. When the video is finished we will launch the game on Greenlight. Our product is nearing beta phase.
We are adding an important new change in the game system. We think this new feature will make Wonderous Marbles to be more funny and original. Stay tuned for news and updates on our Twitter and Facebook profiles! We expect to finish development of Wonderous Marbles in 2017.
For the moment we are not running in Kickstarter nor similar.
What was your first console growing up and favourite games to play on it?
Sergio: My first console was a Master System and my favourite games were The Ninja, Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Streets Of Rage 2.
Francisco: My first contact with videogames was with Commodore 64, a little later I got the Atari 7800 and after that, the Super Nintendo. A friend of mine had the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, so it also influenced me so much because I went to his house a lot to play. Arcade saloons were an important influence to me, I recall fondly the first time I played a beat em up on an arcade machine, Golden Axe. It was a shocking moment.
Eduardo: One of the first games I remember is Super Mario Bros for NES from a friend of mine. Although the game that marked my childhood was Street Fighter (2), it was shocking the first time I saw it on an arcade machine in my little village. Like Fran, the SNES was my favourite console from childhood. My favourite and more influencer games were: Final Fight and Cadillac & Dinosaurs on arcade, Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Secret of Mana, Illusion of Time and Killer Instinct for SNES. I also have a good recollection of PC games like the first Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle.
What’s your favourite platform to play games on these days?
Sergio: My favourite platform is PC. I really like consoles but nowadays I play more PC games than current console games.
Francisco: I play on emulators on PC and also on PSVita, I love the game Dragon’s Crowns, by Vanillaware. I don’t like much the new 3D games, with some exceptions. PC is my favourite platform.
Eduardo: The three agree on PC, although I like WiiU so much, I think its Mario Kart is a masterpiece. Nowadays I use Steam to play indie games, classic arcade games on MAME and some FPS. The new generation Playstation and XBox don’t attract me so much although sometimes I play with friends FIFA and the new Mortal Kombat and Killer instinct.
If you could go for a drink with any video game character, who would you choose and why?
Sergio: I would choose Cid (Final Fantasy VII) because he is my favourite character in the game and he could tell his story in an epic way.
Eduardo: Duke Nukem, we’d go to the most dangerous pub in the city and come back home later and drunk for sure.
Better take care with that one Eduardo! Guys, thanks so much for stopping by. Needless to say we’ll be keeping an eye on the game and giving you a thumbs up on Greenlight.