FuturLab’s Velocity 2X was one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2014. The game, which features clever mix between a shoot ’em up and sidescrolling action, also became well known by being featured as a free PlayStation Plus title during its launch month. Four years later, Velocity 2X has yet to get a sequel, but will be receiving a Nintendo Switch port.
Recently, in the lead up to this four-year anniversary and Switch port, I talked with James Marsden, Owner and Director at developer FuturLab. With ample hindsight, he reflected on what could have been done differently while also discussing the Nintendo Switch port, physical releases, and the future of the Velocity franchise.
Tomas: Why did FuturLab decide to bring Velocity 2X to the Nintendo Switch?
James Marsden: We made the decision soon after Switch was released, as we love the platform and think that Velocity 2X is a perfect fit for it. However, we didn’t have the capacity to bring it over until now for various reasons.
T: Has Velocity 2X received any major Switch-exclusive features or content?
JM: In regards to Switch-exclusive, we’ve used HD Rumble to add a lot of subtle details to making the game feel even more tactile. Plus, playing with detached Joy-Con has become my favorite way to experience Velocity 2X. It allows your arms in more relaxed, natural positions. For me, at least, it helps me get ‘in the zone’.
T: Have there been any big challenges in developing the Nintendo Switch version of Velocity 2X?
JM: To be honest, it wasn’t a difficult port. We have some very talented folks here at the studio who managed to bring the game over and make sure that nothing was compromised in the port for Nintendo players.
T: After developing a game for the system yourself, do you think the Switch lives up to its reputation as a great home for indie games?
JM: Absolutely! The Switch gives you an amazing experience whether it is on the go or at home. For a title like Velocity 2X, it’s perfect because you can spend hours perfecting your run or minutes just getting through a level or two.
T: FuturLab supported the PlayStation Vita pretty heavily. Do you see the Nintendo Switch as a successor of sorts when it comes to the concept?
JM: We were big fans of the PS Vita here at FuturLab which, for a time at least, was also seen as a great home for indies. The Switch has taken up that mantle since then and we’re very happy it has. It’s a beautiful and incredibly versatile machine.
T: If Velocity 2X is successful on Switch, would that inspire you guys to bring other FuturLab titles to the hybrid console?
JM: Potentially, but we have no specific plans as of yet.
T: Velocity 2X had a somewhat infamous physical release in the past. Has this turned FuturLab off of releasing future titles physically, including this Switch port? Or is it just a matter of the publisher?
JM: When it comes to a physical release, it’s completely up to the publisher, Curve Digital, who we have a great partnership with.
T: Your studio recently discussed on Twitter how releasing Velocity 2X on PS Plus at launch really boosted the player count, but hurt overall sales and appeal to publishers. With those problems in mind, do you think this service is still beneficial to small developers, and is it something that FuturLab would ever take advantage of again?
JM: I absolutely think that PS Plus is beneficial to developers. While it may have hurt our sales, it put our game and our name in front of a huge amount of people and we gave us a huge fanbase. It has done our studio a world of good and given us opportunities we would never have had otherwise. If we were offered to be showcased on PS Plus again, we’d probably take it.
T: Now that we are almost four years out from Velocity 2X’s initial release, is there anything you would’ve changed about the game?
JM: We’re extremely happy with Velocity 2X and thankfully players and critics seem to agree with us. We have a 90 Metacritic score on Vita. For the Switch version we’ve adjusted button placement to allow people to teleport more easily than on other platforms. Apart from that, I honestly wouldn’t change it. Everything we want to do with the IP moving forward is planned for a sequel. We want to continue surprising players with how much can be added to this simple formula, should we get the chance to of course!.
T: On that note, Where would you take the series if you were able to get another entry (Velocity Supernova) greenlit by a publisher?
JM: Haha… I’m afraid I can’t give that away, but hopefully I’ll get to answer that question at some point, because the answer is very cool…
Velocity 2X is currently available on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS Vita, and Xbox One. Nintendo Switch will join that lineup on September 20.