Welcome to another Indie Interview with me masofdas.
Would you like to introduce yourself and tell us about you & your team?
I'm Tulio Gonçalves the founder of WaterMelon and designer of Pier Solar and the Great Architects. We're an U.S. company founded in Iowa, and our team is spread all around the world. My business partner and co-founder of WaterMelon used to live in France but now lives in China, we have programmers in Spain, Germany and Estonia, music composers in Sweden and England, etc a very multi-cultural team.
Can you tell us about your games?
Our released game is Pier Solar, a classic JRPG game, very inspired by games such as Phantasy Star IV, Lunar and Chrono Trigger. We released it originally for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and recently brought it up to Dreamcast, along with the modern platforms including PC (Win, Mac, Linux), PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, Ouya, Fire TV, and currently working on mobile Android and PS Vita. Besides Pier Solar we have 2 other games in development, codenamed Project Y and Project N, Y is a beat'em up for the Sega Genesis, set to be a spiritual successor to Streets of Rage, and N is an Action Adventure game for Super Nintendo.
What games inspired you in making this game or any other medium?
For me it was mainly the RPGs that I played while growing up. I drew inspiration from Phantasy Star (SMS), Phantasy Star IV (MD), Shining Force II (MD), Lunar (SCD), Lunar Eternal Blue (SCD), Popful Mail (SCD), Albert Odyssey (Saturn), Wild Arms (PlayStation) and Chrono Trigger (SNES).
Part from your own game, anything you’re looking forward to or enjoyed this year?
As far as enjoying goes, I think what pleased me the most so far was seeing the prototypes of Pier Solar for the Dreamcast arriving from the factory. There are lots of expectations about things to come, and for me I just can't wait to see Project Y finished.
Why did you decide to originally make a game for the Mega Drive a system 20+ years old and that system, not the SNES for instance?
Well it was meant to be a hobby, not a full time job, but we got a lot of support and we are where we are now. It was a dream for most of us at WM to make a Mega Drive game since it was the favourite system of most of us. During the console wars we took the side of Sega so none of us had much interest in making a SNES game. Plus, at the time, in 2004, the MD community was way more active than the SNES scene, so that probably contributed too.
What do you think of the RETRO VGS and the whole indie/homebrew scene of bringing out new games for retro systems?
It's a very nice idea and that's why we're supporting it. There's something special about cartridges so I'm very excited about it and all the possibilities it represents.
Could we see in the future game come to the PS2 for instance like how games are coming to the Dreamcast or Mega Drive?
Hmm we don't really have anyone expert in PS2 programming in our team so that's probably not going to happen with a 1st party WM Title. But if a developer wants our help publishing his PS2 game, we'll be glad to help make it happen.
On Pier Solar it has gotten mixed reviews when it came to systems such as the PS4, with some praising it to being like Phantasy Star or Lunar but some negative saying the game felt to old & did nothing new, of course the game was originally on the Mega Drive do you feel that it held it back from doing something new or was your goal to make a spiritual successor to like of Phantasy Star?
Pier Solar HD was really meant to be a port of that Mega Drive game. It's what we've been saying since the Kickstarter. We wanted to bring our game to those who wanted to play it but didn't have a Mega Drive anymore. But I believe most negative reviews took PSHD as a remake of the original, and assumed we'd adhere by all modern standards that simplify the mechanics and basically play the game for you if the AI notices you're getting lost. While I see nothing wrong with that, it wasn't really our proposal with this game, it's a straight port with a few additions and improvements based on feedback from our Mega Drive customers. But in any case, we learned a lot from the process and it really taught us a lesson about what the market expects, so I think we got benefits from both good and bad reviews.
Glad to talk to you today Tulio
Thanks for the opportunity
Pier Solar HD is available now on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mac, Ouya, Fire TV and Wii U more info can be found on it and both Projects along with games Watermelon have published here http://www.magicalgamefactory.com/ or follow the twitter @watermelongames