INTERVIEW WITH ENJOY UP
EnjoyUp is one of the clearest examples of perseverance and good work from the development studios created in Spain. In just two years since the company’s inception, they already have two titles in international circulation for Nintendo DS ™ to their credit, and have two more titles in the works. Their latest folly, Little Red Riding Hood: Zombie BBQ, produced by Gammick Entertainment, is an unusual and humorous shooter that threatens to get every player hooked. We dig deeper into the work from this emerging Spanish group by sharing words with its director, Julio Moruno.
Who are you and how did EnjoyUp come about?
The team of EnjoyUp is composed of five people plus three collaborators. It was created in 2005 by Jorge Biedma (JoBi) and I. At that time we were developing a project Chronos Twins, which JoBi had dreamed up one day, and it was a very original game. Later Javier Menossi and Ivan Pajuelo created the sound portions, and once Chronos Twins wrapped up, a new production company called Gammick Entertainment proposed to us a joint project. From there came Zombie BBQ, and then others came aboard the project such as Roberto Granado (Programmer), Israel Sanchez (Graphic designer), José Manuel Ruiz (Programmer), and Elias Sanchez (Illustrator).
Why have you focused for the time being in the development for handhelds, and specifically for Nintendo DS?
When we started Chronos Twins there was no Nintendo DS and we had a lot of experience with other consoles especially GBA. While the project was finishing up and with the GBA in a delicate situation for original titles, Nintendo introduced the Nintendo DS with the feature of having two screens so the publishers asked us for a Nintendo DS version, since Chronos Twins seemed ideal for it.
The idea of Zombie BBQ is at the very least, daring. From where did it arise?
The idea came to us through Gammick; we were thinking about what project to make and Jose M. Iniguez, their Head of Production proposed this idea, since they saw that we were perfectly suited for the action genre.
Why did you choose a genre as hackneyed as the shoot'em-up?
That genre was chosen because EnjoyUp had experience with it and, although it is really very "trite", it still has many options to exploit. On the other hand Zombie BBQ puts a fresh spin on this genre by mixing it with the world of fairytales, and taking characters we all know and altering them in a bizarre new way.
A lot of specialized media, European as well as North American, are generating amazing buzz even before the game’s release, which has created high expectations. Is it scary trying to live up to such expectations?
Well, it's always good to create high expectations, but the most important thing is that the player is happy with the product and has a great time with Zombie BBQ.
What type of process do you go through when it comes to tackling the design of this type of game?
We start with a concept and proceed to a design that is as detailed as possible, and above all play with, test and polish all the little details that make up a Shoot'em up.
What has been the biggest challenge that you have faced in the development of Zombie BBQ?
Probably with respect to that was the generation of enemies in the levels, as it is the most delicate point for this type of game. Also the creation of the Final Bosses, since they present a large number of attack patterns that are more spectacular than anything that’s ever been seen in a Nintendo DS. This, as well as the rest of the concepts for the game, wouldn´t have been possible to realize without Ikari Studios, which from the first moment involved themselves completely in the project, being responsible in a big part of the final look of Zombie BBQ.
Does the fact that one of the playable characters, Momotaro, who’s from Japanese folklore, show a nod to the Japanese market and that you’re counting on reaching the Far East?
Yes the incursion of Momotaro is a clear nod to the Japanese market, although that market is complicated and few European games have the privilege of publication in Japan, although it would be a major honor to see it in the stores of Akihabara.
What are your future plans for Little Red Riding Hood and Momotaro?
For our part we have no plans to follow the Zombie BBQ saga, although we believe it is a saga that will stir up a lot of talk in the future. The saga’s continuation depends on Gammick as it is the producer of Zombie BBQ.
At the risk of sounding indiscreet, what does the future hold for EnjoyUp? Will you continue developing for handhelds?
The future of EnjoyUp is geared toward a downloadable game like for the WiiWare, since we believe in the near future handhelds will be able to download. There will always be opportunities for us especially with the arrival of the new Nintendo DS (DSi) that also uses a WiiWare download service.
Finally ... do they live happily ever after?
Of course ... that's what always happens in any self-respecting story. Or will it?We also want to thank all those who believed in our projects and hope that they enjoy the next ones to come from EnjoyUp Games.