Heuris, Stone Shire, and the future
Finger Gun Games is an indie studio based out of Denton, TX. The studio hasn't been around very long, but the young team has some great plans for the future. Finger Fun is a two man team that currently has two games in development for the Wii U. These two games, Heuris and Stone Shire, are planned to be exclusive to the Wii U eShop.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Samuel Skidmore and Cordero Wilson from Finger Gun Games. Samuel, the creative director, and Cordero, the programmer, are two passionate gamers who want to offer Wii U owners the best gaming experiences they can. The following is a transcript of a recent interview we conducted.
Zachary Wickwire: First off, I'd like to thank you for agreeing to this interview today.
Samuel Skidmore: We'd like to thank you for interviewing us.
Zach: I'd like to start off by asking how Finger Gun Games got its start.
Sam: Well, Cordero and I went to the same University and were members of the UNT game developer's club.
Zach: UNT? That's the University of North Texas, right?
Sam: Yes. I was actually the club president at the time and I can't remember who approached who first.
Cordero Wilson: I initiated it.
Cordero: After I got accepted into the Nintendo Developer program, I went to Sam and asked if he wanted to start a small company making Nintendo games.
Sam: I was excited to help out.
Zach: Okay, so you are still a very young developer.
Cordero: As a company, yes. I was making games before this, which is how I was able to become a Nintendo dev.
Sam: I'd organized some student projects, but nothing was published.
Zach: Finger Gun Games currently has two games in development for the Wii U, correct?
Cordero: That's right.
Zach: Can you tell me about Heuris?
Finger Fun Games Interview
Sam: Heuris is a cyberpunk themed shoot 'em up where you play a hacker breaking into mega corporations databases.
Sam: The gameplay is similar to most Shoot 'em ups.
Cordero: There aren't many shmups on the Wii U, so it sounded like a to go ahead and make.
Zach: That's very true. Is Heuris a top down or side-scrolling shoot 'em up?
Sam: It's mostly top down with side-scrolling sections to mix things up.
Zach: I like hearing that. I always enjoy seeing a game with multiple different play styles.
Sam: That's what we try to do.
Zach: I imagine the game is still very early in development, but is there anything else you'd like to add about it?
Cordero: Well, it has rpg-like elements. Based on what ship you use, you get different play styles and weapons. We hope that will help make each player play in their own way.
Zach: I was wondering about that. I saw a screen shot you released with different class names about the ships.
Finger Fun Games Interview
Sam: We are currently naming the different "ships" after different D&D classes.
Zach: I'm a fan of D&D, so that's very cool to see.
Sam: I also forgot to mention that each mega corporation database you "hack" has a special trick the player has to deal with.
Zach: I imagine this "trick" is something you want to keep under wraps for now.
Sam: Look out for the Python Security Script.
Zach: I'll keep that in mind. Do you have a target date for Heuris?
Cordero: We're looking at the first quarter or summer of 2015.
Zach: Awesome. That game looks and sounds great. I look forward to playing it once its ready.
Cordero: Me too.
Zach: (Laughs) Moving along, let's talk a bit about Stone Shire. It seems to have gotten a little more attention than Heuris.
Finger Fun Games Interview
Cordero: It's only natural. Minecraft is one of the biggest success stories in the gaming industry.
Zach: Yes that's very true. Was the lack of Minecraft on the Wii U your main inspiration behind Stone Shire?
Cordero: Pretty much, yeah. The other inspiration is that we always wanted to do a fantasy D&D game on a console. So, we decided to mix the two together.
Zach: So the game is going to feature some D&D style RPG elements?
Sam: The game is going to feature different starting races with special abilities.
Zach: That's certainly different from Minecraft. How many races will there be?
Sam: In the initial release it will be either 3 or 4. The human, dwarf, and elf. A fourth is being debated.
Zach: Is there a potential for more after launch?
Sam: Yes. We have an idea for DLC that will likely take another year of work or so. It will include some more races and something else very interesting, but that last bit is still a secret.
Zach: I'm always up for interesting things, and it makes sense that you can't reveal everything this early.
Sam: It's a feature also lacking in Minecraft. Basically the races give you special abilities.
Zach: I have seen you mention that you plan to continue to support the game with patches after launch. Will that be for the foreseeable future or only a limited time?
Cordero: Well, this type of game is a game where you always feel like it can use better things. However, you have to balance the patience of consumers with what you really want to put in the game. So to appease everyone, we're going to release a base game that should have enough fun to keep people happy. It will be a complete game. However, we will continuously release patches adding new things mainly because more content is always better. Most of these will be free. Only significant changes that add new features will be DLC. Those will most likely be big packs of thematic features.
Zach: It's great to hear you plan on supporting the game post launch. Stone Shire sounds like a very ambitious project.
Sam: It is. We're both really excited.
Cordero: If we weren't passionate about it, I doubt we would have been able to take up the responsibility. Now people have high expectations for us, so the pressure is on.
Zach: Yes, but what I've seen looks good. I really liked the water physics demo you released.
Finger Fun Games Interview
Cordero: Thanks. Programing that was nights of tinkering and experimentation. It still needs some refining, but it'll get there.
Zach: I understand. Do you have any other plans for Stone Shire to differentiate it from Minecraft and other similar titles?
Cordero: One idea is having a mission mode. Basically, there's a lot of different challenges you can take on. When you do, it generates a map for you and has you set out to accomplish that task without dying and in the least amount of time. For instance "Go find the gold." Or something like "go find the holy grail." Or even "find a way out of the desert without dying of thirst." Missions like that.
Zach: Interesting. So it's like a campaign from D&D?
Zach: That makes sense, given the inspiration.
Cordero: It'll get even more fun with multiplayer.
Zach: So multiplayer is planned? Will it be local or online?
Cordero. Both. Someone even said we should allow 5 players locally due to the GamePad. (laughs)
Zach: So its safe to say the game will support controllers other than the GamePad?
Cordero: It will support the GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller, and the Wii Classic Controller. It should support the Wiimote and nunchuck combination, too. The only reason it won't support the Wiimote alone is because I believe it won't have enough buttons.
Zach: I like to hear that. I like my GamePad, but I use my Pro Controller far more often when I play the Wii U.
Cordero: It feels good, yes. Can't wait to use it when Smash Bros. Wii U comes out.
Zach: (Laughs) Same here. Will Heuris and Stone Shire support off TV play?
Cordero: Yep, they will. If there's one thing I thought the GamePad was great for, it's being able to sit back in the bed and play your favorite game whenever you want.
Zach: I completely agree.
Cordero: That GamePad is too delightful of a peripheral for something like a voxel game.
Zach: Yes, it seems like it really suits a game like this. Well, is there anything else you'd like to add about Stone Shire?
Cordero: That it will be released before Heuris is. We're shooting for a release in the next two to four months. A game like this takes a little time, so we can't make the holidays unfortunately.
Zach: Okay, so late 2014 or early 2015?
Cordero: Yeah, and we'll try to release a demo, too, to at least get people ready for it.
Zach: That would be fantastic. After talking to you guys I am very excited to play these games. I'll have to see about being the reviewer both of these. Do you guys have any plans for the future of Finger Gun Games beyond Heuris and Stone Shire?
Cordero: Of course, we plan to become a full fledged company and continue brining games to the Wii U and 3DS.
Zach: Do you have any plans for the 3DS right now?
Cordero: Yeah, definitely. We want our games on it as much as the Wii U. We're not licensed to developed for the 3DS yet, but we're sure that'll change after we release our games.
Zach: I sure hope so. Well, do you have anything else you'd like to add before we wrap this up?
Cordero: I believe we've told you all that we can at the moment. We'll keep sending updates through our Facebook page. We're making an official site for the game as we speak, so that will be a more presentable place to reveal news.
Zach: That sounds great I can't wait to see the website once it's finished.
Sam: We may actually have an iPhone and Android gaming coming out in the future as well, but that one is top secret.
Zach: I'll have to keep my eyes on your Facebook and Twitter for that one then. I just have one last question for you guys, what are some of your favorite games?
Zach: It's okay, I know its a hard question.
Cordero: I have a lot of favorite games. I guess my favorite of all time would be the Donkey Kong Country series, especially the games on the SNES. One of my dreams that deal with the future of our company is related to that actually.
Sam: I'd say the Paper Mario series, Super Crate Box, Binding of Issac, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf, that last one is a card game. Oh yeah, and the Dark Souls series, and of course, Dungeons and Dragons.
Zach: Alright, well thank you again for taking the time to talk to me today.
Sam: Thank you for talking to us.
Cordero: We appreciate it.
Finger Fun Games Interview
Thank you again to Samuel and Cordero for agreeing to this interview with us. Finger Fun Games is a very promising young company with a bright future. For the latest on Heuris and Stone Shire, be sure to check out Finger Gun's Facebook or @FingerGunGames on Twitter. Let us know your thoughts on Heuris, Stone Shire, and Finger Gun Games below.
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