Sundered: Eldritch Edition Interview – Thunder Lotus Discusses Nintendo Switch Development and Implementing Multiplayer
DualShockers recently talked with Thunder Lotus about Sundered: Eldritch Edition, why they added multiplayer, and the studios' relationship with Nintendo.
Thunder Lotus, the developers behind Jotun, released Sundered for PC and PS4 last July. While DualShockers loved this Metroidvania with procedurally generated environments, it flew somewhat under the radar. Today, Thunder Lotus has brought the game into the limelight once more today with the release of Sundered: Eldritch Edition for Nintendo Switch and Xbox One and the Magnate of the Gong update for PC and PS4.
Sundered: Eldritch Edition features a brand new questline and notably adds local multiplayer into the mix. In anticipation of its release, DualShockers talked with Rodrigue Duperron, Thunder Lotus’ Marketing and Communications Specialist, about Sundered: Eldritch Edition’s new content, why the developers decided to port the game to Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, Thunder Lotus’ relationship with Nintendo, and how the studio went about implementing multiplayer.
Tomas Franzese: Why was Sundered’s launch initially limited to just PC and PS4?
Rodrigue Duperron: We had a timed exclusivity deal with Sony which gave them first crack at the console release. Now that that period has run its course, we’re happy to be bringing Sundered to our fans on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One!
TF: How long has Thunder Lotus been working on the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch ports of Sundered: Eldritch Edition and what encouraged you guys to finally bring it over?
RD: We’ve been working on the ports for the better part of 2018. Though we have other unannounced projects running in parallel, we generally want all our projects to be made available as widely as possible – so it was mostly a question of when, not if.
TF: Having released Jotun on both Wii U and Nintendo Switch, have you noticed any significant shift in Nintendo’s attitude towards working with indies? Did their attitude encourage this Sundered port?
RD: As far as our direct contacts with Nintendo go, the specific people we’ve had the pleasure of dealing with since 2015 have always been enthusiastic about working with us and indies in general. We can’t speak to their shifting corporate priorities in that regard, but their content managers have a job to do, and in our experience, never made us feel anything less than valued partners.
TF: Does Thunder Lotus believe the Nintendo Switch eShop is as friendly and lucrative for smaller developers and indies as is generally perceived?
RD: It certainly has been in our experience, but the market is evolving rapidly. We don’t believe any system or eShop can be taken for granted anymore, as far as release profitability is concerned. There’s no shortage of great games in general – and great indie games in particular – on any storefront at this point. So if a developer or publisher’s marketing plan is one point: “Release on Nintendo eShop, stat.”, that’s risky, to say the least.
TF: Will the Xbox One version of Sundered feature any special enhancements when played on an Xbox One X?
RD: No Xbox One X-specific enhancements on this release. Sorry to disappoint!
TF: What’s the premise behind Magnate of the Gong’s new quest chain?
RD: We certainly wanted to give players a look behind the curtain to see who (or what) was ringing the infernal gongs that send hordes swarming to the player. But, let’s just say that Magnate doesn’t take appointments, so players are going to have to jump through a series of proverbial hoops to unlock the Magnate’s door.
TF: What has Thunder Lotus introduced within this quest and the new areas to help them stand out from what’s in the base game?
RD: It’ll be obvious both to new players and Sundered veterans that the level designers wanted to have a little more fun with the new areas, which expand on some gameplay ideas from the main game and play out more as extended puzzles than the classic Metroidvania “long-way-around-to-unlock-a-
We also wanted to give the player a chance to fight the existing bosses a second time in the end-game, if he/she chooses. To really put all the abilities, skills, and learnings acquired throughout the game to the test.
TF: Was it difficult to implement co-op into a game not originally designed with it in mind?
RD: It was a challenge, but a very early proof of concept told us that we were on the right track. We wanted it to be an easy jump-in/jump-out sort of experience, keep the game as swift and agile as its initial design, without adding a lot of systems and baggage. We’re happy with the result, and the team had fun getting it done.
TF: Were Magnate of the Gong’s quest chain, new areas, and new boss designed to work better with multiplayer?
RD: Not specifically, no – certainly wanted to introduce a fun, new way of experiencing Sundered with this update, but we’re well aware that many people simply aren’t interested in couch co-op, and we didn’t want to disappoint the existing players and fans by making multiplayer a must. So the new content had to play as well in both single and multiplayer; we feel we’ve accomplished that here.
TF: Are there any plans to add online multiplayer in the future? If not, why is this feature being omitted?
RD: Short answer is no. Any developer who’s gone down that road will tell you – online multiplayer isn’t a feature you can just shoehorn into a game; if you haven’t designed for online from the get-go, you’re in for a world of hurt, production-wise. And the fact of the matter is, we simply don’t have online expertise under our belt at this point.
If and when we do an online game, it will confidently be at the same level of quality we try to bring to all other aspects of our productions. We’ll see what the future holds, but there are currently no plans to bring online multiplayer to Sundered.
TF: Thunder Lotus seems very enthusiastic about finally adding multiplayer in Sundered: Eldritch Edition. Does this mean multiplayer is something Thunder Lotus plans on focusing on or implementing in future titles?
RD: That would be telling. We’ll see what the future holds!
TF: Is there anything else about Sundered: Eldritch Edition that you’d like DualShockers readers to know?
RD: Just that we’re out on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One on December 21st, and that Eldritch Edition also arrives as a free update for existing players on PS4 and PC/Mac/Linux at the same time! Resist or Embrace.
Like Rodrigue said, Sundered: Eldritch Edition is available on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One starting today. The PC and PS4 versions of the title are also available with the new Magnate of the Gong content, with the PC version available for purchase on Humble Bundle. If you are interested in the game, consider checking out DualShockers’ thoughts on Sundered: Eldritch Edition.
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