Tomorrow is a big day for Ravenous Games. Just over a year ago, they brought one of the best retro style platformers to iOS: the critically acclaimed League of Evil. With big shoes to fill and high expectations to meet, the much anticipated sequel, League of Evil 2, is launching tomorrow. I was lucky enough to be able to chat with Derek Doucette, the owner of Ravenous Games, about the League of Evil franchise, the development process, and some other really interesting stuff.
So, as some people may not be aware, the first League of Evil game was originally a web based Flash game that was created by Woblyware. What can you tell us about the role Ravenous Games played in bringing it to the iOS platform?
When I originally came across League of Evil, I knew immediately this would be a great iOS title. I contacted the author, Woblyware, and we worked together on bringing it to iOS. I ported the game from Flash to Objective-C, and Woblyware created additional content for release. Through updates within the year, we nearly tripled the original launch content. Ravenous’ role in all of this was creating the critically acclaimed control scheme that has made LOE1 so popular with its fans. We are also responsible for the marketing of LOE1 and continue to build the brand.
How did that process change with the development of League of Evil 2?
Development changed a LOT compared to when we worked on LOE1. This time around, we didn’t have much for existing assets. Woblyware created about half of the new maps, a few new enemies, and all the music for LOE2. They were also responsible for making sure that LOE2 felt and played similarly to the original. Bulletproof Outlaws created all new game art, and designed an interesting plot to play through. Code wise, the game is based off the same engine, but I had to rewrite and refactor a lot of code to improve the game and add in the new stuff we are supporting. The game should play a lot smoother, control even better and look fantastic.
So, LOE2 is basically the lovechild of Ravenous Games, Woblyware, and Bulletproof Outlaws. What was it like working with three entirely different teams on one title?
Yes, LOE2 is a collaborative effort between three teams. Working with three teams at times is a little tricky. However, the guys I worked with on this are very talented, and we didn’t have any obstacles we couldn’t overcome.
That’s equal parts awesome and impressive.
You said the controls were a major contributor to the massive success of LOE1. Did you even dare to try to improve them for LOE2?
We didn’t dare try and change the size or placement. We did try to make sure the character was more responsive to the controls. LOE2 feels faster, more responsive and plays tighter.
Retina quality graphics seem to be a big deal for LOE2, and we’re stoked to see it. What else can your fans expect with this release?
Lots! We’ve added costumes, a couple new baddies, BOSS BATTLES! [We also added] higher frame rates, tighter controls, and comic book-style cut scenes.
Are there any plans in the future to port LOE 2 to the Mac App Store? What about Android?
There is some discussion happening about bringing the game to the Mac App Store. No plans on porting to Android right yet.
What made you choose to start developing content for iOS instead of Android?
Android didn’t really have much traction when we first got into iOS development. Now that Android has the install base, Android users don’t seem to want to pay for apps. This makes developers look at other revenue sources such as advertisements in their apps. We don’t want to put ads in our games, so until the paid market shifts, we probably won’t be on Android.
That makes sense. Can you give us any hints about what’s in the pipeline for Ravenous Games?
Now that LOE2 is completed, we are going to work directly with Woblyware to bring out two or three more pixel games before the year is out. We’ll send along more details when we have them.
EXCITING! One final question: the LOE franchise clearly pays homage to the 8-bit era of gaming. What’s your favourite game from that time?
I’m not sure about you guys, but holy moley, tomorrow can’t come soon enough. Between the improved graphics, the new boss battles, and the overall improvements to gameplay, there’s no question that this game will be a hit. It combines everything that retro gamers love with a healthy side of current generation game quality. If it’s anything like the first one, we’ll also be able to look forward to content out the wazoo.
And if you thought it couldn’t get any better than that, League of Evil 2 will be available tomorrow at a special launch price of only $0.99.
A few of my friends and I have spent the last week replaying League of Evil 1, trying to clear every level with a 3-star rating. Now we’re ready for more. Are you?