Kickin’ it with Ronimo Games – Awesomenauts: Starstorm
If you’ve played Awesomenauts on PC, XBox 360 or PS3 then you’re familiar with Ronimo Games. They’ve taken to Kickstarter to fund an expansion pack for the MOBA platformer. We sat down to talk with them about the campaign and get the inside scoop on the expansion.
4cr: Thank you for joining us this week. Can you please tell us a bit about Ronimo Games?
Hi! Well, we’re an independent studio from Utrecht, which is a city in the center of the Netherlands., There’s 15 of us working here, and last year we released a game called Awesomenauts for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and brought it to Steam a couple of months later. It’s our 2D-take on the MOBA genre, and plays out like a fast version of DotA or League of Legends mixed with a little bit of Smash Brothers. It has lots of colors, wacky characters, and kind of looks like an ’80s saturday-morning cartoon, but at it’s heart, it’s a serious competitive multiplayer game.
We’ve been working on more content for the game ever since we launched it, and have more than doubled the roster of playable characters with free updates, and added a free map. A couple of weeks ago, we launched a Kickstarter campaign to try and fund an expansion pack for the game. We reached our goal in less than a week and are now more or less half-way through the campaign. It’s been a ton of fun already, and there’s loads more to come!
4cr: Ronimo is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to secure funds to develop Awesomenauts: Starstorm, Downloadable Content (DLC) for Awesomenauts. What will Starstorm focus on?
On one hand the Starstorm expansion will expand the number of playable characters even further, and it currently looks like we’ll also be adding a map. That’s actually a stretch goal, but we’re super close to making that right now, so if we don’t run into any major problems we’ll probably make it.
On the other hand, and probably the most important thing in the Starstorm expansion, are a couple of improvements for the game as a whole. We’ll be working on a spectator mode to allow players to watch matches as they happen, which we hope will bring a big boost to the competitive community and make tournaments even more fun to watch for everybody. Furthermore, well be adding a ‘World Chat’ feature that people can use to team up with other players, discuss tactics, and just hang out in the main menu. All in all, we hope these features grow the content of the game, and expand and strengthen the community.
The Kickstarter allows us to invest in several features that we wouldn’t be able to fund otherwise, so rather than take the small steps we’ve been doing with every update until now, we’ll be able to take a massive step forward in one go.
4cr: How many people will be working on Starstorm?
It’s hard to say how many people will be working on Starstorm exactly, because a lot of our time also goes into maintainance on the game itself, making sure the balance remains in place, fixing bugs, and those sort of things. One part of our team will be working on all the new stuff that will be included in the Starstorm expansion, while another big part of our team will continue to work on Awesomenauts in a way that is not directly related to all the new things from the Starstorm expansion.
4cr: Have you considered any stretch goals to improve Starstorm even further?
We actually already have a couple of stretch goals lined up! The base goal was set and $125,000, and we broke through that in the first week. We’re now coming up on the $200,000 mark, at which we’ll add an all-new map to the Starstorm content.
After that, at $270,000, we have the next really big feature in the Starstorm campaign: a Custom Games feature. This will allow players to customize the settings for their private matches, and create a public lobby that other people will be able to join from a browser. It’s mainly meant for people who want to play something a little different from the basic competitive mode, and gives them enough flexibility to make totally crazy and hilarious game modes. We already know people are playing custom games with unique rulesets (like Yolonauts, Pokénauts, and a couple of those) even without all these features, and it’s just hilarious to watch and play those games. We want to give them better support for that, and the Custom Games feature is meant to do that.
Beyond that, we have modding support lined up, which will see us release our own editors so that people can make their own new maps, characters, and complex AI-structures. If we get there, that will totally transform the game, and make it a much more free-flowing experience. If we get there, anything can happen really, as our community has already proven to have an ample supply of awesome, crazy ideas. They’ll really be able to make anything, as they’ll be using the exact same tools we do.
4cr: You’ve mentioned that a console release for Starstorm is not in the cards, or at least for current gen consoles. With the way that the Wii U and the PS4 have opened their arms to indie devs, and since you can self-publish on both platforms, does that mean an Awesomenauts release for Next Gen consoles could be considered once the content has been completed for PC, Mac and Linux?
There is actually a Playstation 4 build of the game currently in development, and we have every intention of releasing the Starstorm content there as well. A lot has been said of making updates on consoles easier for developers, and we hope the platforms will allow us to keep the game updated almost day & date with the PC version. Probably still not going to be entirely the same process, but we’ll do what we can.
The reason why we previously couldn’t keep the game updated on consoles has to do with the fact that our publisher filed for insolvency shortly after the game launched. We couldn’t do updates on the platforms without their help, so were only able to release two more characters on console. We have released plenty of additional characters on Steam since, but have no way of releasing them on console right now. The situation will be different for the Playstation 4 version – we self-publish, so will be able to work on updates ourselves. If everything is as developer-friendly as they appear to be at this time, we’ll definitely be able to keep everything updated!
With regards to the WiiU, we currently don’t have plans to bring Awesomenauts to the platform. There is only so much we can work on at one time, and we rather focus on getting one thing done right, than end up with multiple things that didn’t quite get the attention they deserved. I can’t say that it will never happen, but there are no plans for it right now.
4cr: We’d like to once again thank you for your time. Would you like to add anything else before we sign off?
You’re welcome, and I don’t think I have a lot to add about the game. This is the very first time we’re doing a Kickstarter though, and we’ve been quite overwhelmed by the success we’ve had with it so far. We expected it to be a bit crazy, but never anticipated it would be this exciting. Kickstarter is definitely going to be a milestone in the life of our studio and Awesomenauts, and has shown us once again that there are no bounds to the awesomeness of our community. We’ll keep working on the game as long as there is support for it from our community, and the way things are looking right now, we still have plenty of miles ahead of
We here at 4cr wish you the best of luck with the campaign and look forward to checking out Starstorm!