Shu is a colourful platformer coming soon to the Vita. We caught up with Daley from Coatsink to find out more.
Hello Daley, thanks for talking to us! Can you give us a little background on Coatsink and Secret Lunch and how you/they got into developing games?
Hello, not a problem at all!
Coatsink was established in late 2009 by long time friends Tom Beardsmore and Paul Crabb. We started out with developing mobile and tablet games. We were fortunate in that our first game, Pinch, was a success and it acted as a launch pad to allow us to continue developing games.
Since then we have released a few other titles, such as Chip, which we released on Steam, and Esper which is currently available on the Innovator’s Edition of the Samsung Gear VR. We’ve grown considerably, with a team of over 25 developers, we continue to work on multiple games for a variety of platforms.
Shu looks stunning and is very enjoyable. Can you explain what it is all about?
Shu, our protagonist comes from a little mud brick village perched on cliffs over-looking the sea. He lives within a peaceful society which knows not of war or wealth. The bliss is disturbed however when a vile storm begins to consume everything in its path.
The player will help Shu and a variety of villagers escape the storm, by means of jumping and gliding through an array of landscapes, including lush forests and forgotten ruins that tell a story of old.
What was the inspiration behind the game? What games would you describe it as a mix of?
We’ve taken a lot of inspiration from a number of games and movies. Donkey Kong Country Returns is touted as an office favourite. We’ve also been influenced by the likes of Abe’s Oddysee, Klonoa, not just for how they look but how they feel.
Disney and Studio Ghibli are major touchstones when it comes to shaping the appearance of the game, we’re also big fans of the art style seen in Windwaker!
There are many different characters to play through. How difficult was it to decide on their look and effect?
We’ve put a lot of work into bringing the characters to life. To begin with we went through the simple design process of ticking boxes, such as gender, age and size. We wanted to give the characters abilities which would not only reflect their physical appearance but gel well with their personalities.
As is often the case with character development we have put a lot of time into giving each character their own traits and quirks, like the way they stand or run and the clothes they are wearing, to make them seem that little bit more real.
As we are talking about characters, does the game play differently when using different characters? Do you have a favourite combination?
The characters absolutely bring their own flavour to the game when using their abilities. Each level is built in a way which means you can journey through it with or without a certain ability (based on which characters are present in the corresponding level). This means that the player has multiple routes to explore and different means to escape the pursuing storm.
Melo is a favourite of mine. I enjoy the fact that he has a long Santa-esque beard and falls asleep when he is standing still.
How long would you say that game will take to complete?
To fully complete Shu you’d be looking at 4-5 hours. There are 24 levels, each filled with collectables.
Is there anything you can tell us about the PlayStation version that isn’t already known?
We’re working on implementing online leaderboards where people can upload their times, as Shu is very much a speedrunner friendly game.
What made you want to bring the game to the Vita?
We’re big fans of handheld gaming! We like to think that Shu is the type of game you could dip into for a while as you lay back on the sofa. Handheld gaming offers a more personal experience. Portability is another big factor, being able to play games while you travel or just on your lunch break at work is a blessing!
Are there any obvious differences in terms of content or performance from the Vita version to PS4?
The Vita will have an exclusive feature called the Refuge. The Refuge will act as a place where all your collectables are stored. It’s essentially a trophy room!
In terms of performance we’re aiming to have as little difference between the two as possible. We want Shu to be a great experience on both platforms.
Do you have a release window and price point in mind?
We’re looking to have Shu released in the first quarter of 2016. In terms of price that is something we are still looking into and discussing, but don’t expect Shu to break the bank.
What challenges, if any, did you have to face with Vita development?
The Vita is a significantly weaker platform to develop on than the Playstation 4. We ran into a lot of issues with optimisation, but we managed to work through it in the end!
Are there any games that stand out for you on the system? What are your favourites?
Persona, Freedom Wars and Little Big Planet are office favourites.
Coatsink are working on other PlayStation titles, including SuperGlad. What are the chances of a Vita version for Superglad?
We fully intend on releasing SuperGlad onto the Vita! We will have more information on that later in 2016.
What’s next for Coatsink?
We’re currently working on Esper 2, a sequel to Esper. We are also working alongside Boneloaf, to bring Gang Beasts to the Oculus Rift!
We would like to thank Daley and Coatsink for their time. Shu is expected some time early next year, and we will bring you more news on that as we have it. Are you looking forward to Shu?
This interview first appeared in Issue 7 of The Vita Lounge Magazine. Stay tuned to the magazine for more new and exclusive content soon!