At last month’s EGX (Eurogamer Expo), Remy Chinchilla of Tequila Works was interviewed about the Nintendo Switch version of RiME. Details on some of the features exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version have been detailed for players. RiME will arrive on the Nintendo Switch in just a few short weeks. The Nintendo Switch version will launch in North America on November 14th, and in Europe on November 17th.
That EGX interview was done by Dave Aubrey of wccftech.com, as he played the Switch version of the game. Remy talked about how they decided what Nintendo Switch features to utilize in the Switch version of RiME, opting to only implement those that made sense:
“One of the features we put in was the HD Rumble. Yeah, it’s really cool. The designers put in a curve to how much they vibrate depending on what you’re doing in the world. The only thing really in there is in the menus – you can touch the screen. But that’s all, because we didn’t want to add any other gimmicks. RiME was never planned with any gimmicks in mind, and we thought if we add them now they might not fit with the game as we intended.”
We also wanted the players that only played on Switch to have the same experience that players who played on PS4 or other consoles have had. If we put in the gyroscope or something like that in puzzles, then it would’ve been different to the way it was played elsewhere.”
Remy also detailed some of the challenges they faced with porting RiME to the unique Nintendo Switch console:
“There were some challenges in porting to Switch, we had to optimise a few things. It was also due to the software, Unreal. We started porting on Switch around a year ago, and at first the Unreal Engine wasn’t ready straight away on Switch. We had to integrate several versions on the engine that were released. There was some middleware and software where the support wasn’t there on day 1, so we had to adapt.”
It turns out that Tequila Works had some help on this front. They were supported in this endeavor by Tantalus, an Australian studio that already has experience with Nintendo hardware after having ported The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD to the Wii U.
“The good thing about Tantalus being in Australia is that when we get home we send an email saying what we did and they pick that up immediately afterwards, and when they finish their day, we start immediately afterwards. I used to say the sun was never out on RiME because there was always someone working on it around the world. We took advantage of it when it comes to organization because if you ask for something to be checked in the evening as you leave, it’ll be ready for you in the morning. It was great. Tantalus did all of the code, all of the logic, and we helped with optimising assets because we couldn’t use all of the original assets, but we did our best to keep the same visual style.”
Remy also talked a little about one of the developers’ goals as they created RiME.
“One of the things in RiME we wanted to do was to make sure there was no tutorial. And there is no tutorial, text or dialogue and there’s very limited HUD. We wanted it to be intuitive and as smooth as possible, so players could just turn on and enjoy it immediately.
Remy then went on to talk about the level of devotion and love the team put into the game, with members often working late to make things perfect. That is dedication.
“There is a lot of care, I know that the artists looked at every inch of the world and polished and they really cared about it. They would stay at work past 6pm because they wanted to make it perfect. […] We have a dynamic night cycle too, and the shadows are rendered depending on the position of the sun, so you’ll be able to see plenty of unique sights in RiME, and you can get a different view of the world depending on the time of day.”
Remy also went into some detail about their goals with the puzzle design in RiME as well:
“When you look at the puzzles in place, there’s quite a few mechanics; presentation, perspective, push-pull, and none of these are taught with a straight tutorial halfway. Which is what we wanted. That’s also why there’s minimal HUD. This is the kind of game where we want you to be completely immersed into the world. Just forget it’s a game, and experience it.
We did quite a bit of user testing to see what was obvious to the player, what wasn’t, what was frustrating, what wasn’t. Puzzles are very subjective, sometimes we have people getting stuck on easy puzzles, and others who are flying through them because they’ve played games before. […] Perspective is a big element in a few puzzles. Since RiME is very visual, for us it’s very important. We play with it because it’s something that’s always used in games, perspective, and it’s something we really wanted to use to change the way the player sees the world.”
In the end, RiME has been a very personal project for the team at Tequila Works, and Remy talks about them with a deep respect for both them and the work they’ve done to make RiME the best it can be:
“It’s really a personal project. I’ve been in games for years and it’s the first time that I’ve seen a game where the whole team is 100% passionate about it because we wanted to do something different. For me, it’s the first game I’ve done that doesn’t have blood, shooting or violence. And it still has its storytelling, and it has a deep meaning behind it. We have a lot of staff who worked at big companies, and these people came together at Tequila Works to create something different, something unique and personal.”
In addition to this interview from the guys over at wccftech.com, there is also some gameplay footage from EuroGamer of RiME on the Nintendo Switch that you can check out: