Joystiq interview: Renegade Kid versus the Moon


When independent developer Renegade Kid first announced its follow up title to last year's Dementium: the Ward, few details were offered as to what it was exactly that the studio was up to.

Titled simply Moon, the game was said to again be played from the first-person, but beyond the vantage and supposed setting, we were left wondering. It didn't take us long to tire of the guessing game however, so we arranged to speak with Renegade Kid's owner and creative director Jools Watsham to find out more about the company's latest offspring, how it differs from Dementium, and why the studio opted to go with a different publisher, in this case Mastiff, rather than Dementium publisher Gamecock. Read on to see what he had to say.
%Gallery-20326% Hi Jools. When we last spoke, I neglected to get some background on you for our readers, so I'm hoping to rectify that oversight today. Can you give us a little background on yourself, who you are, what you do, and most importantly, what you had for lunch?

My name is Jools Watsham, and I am the creative director and owner at Renegade Kid. My role on Moon is game director and producer. Fellow owner and art director, Gregg Hargrove, and I founded Renegade Kid in early 2007 after having both developed games for over 15 years and having produced over 30 titles on every platform from the original NES through to today's consoles. I had noodles for lunch.

Looking to Moon, how long has it been in development? Did work begin before Dementium: The Ward wrapped?

We started the development of Moon in December 2007.

What we know about Moon right now we could fit in a thimble, and it would probably still rattle. Could you shed a little light on this project?

Moon is a sci-fi action adventure title that utilizes the Renegade Engine 2.0. Our basic focus is to go beyond what we did with Dementium in regards to the action adventure/FPS genre, while continuing to push the DS's power. We think there's a lack of original single player adventure games on the DS and we'd like to help fill that void.

And how is Moon different from Dementium? How is it similar?

Moon is different from Dementium in the sense that Dementium relied heavily on its thick atmosphere, whereas Moon has a stronger focus on action and story. Their similarities don't go much beyond the fact that they're both viewed from the first person perspective and involve shooting.

I'm curious, what lessons did you take away from Dementium that are helping you in creating Moon?

The save system. Most people hated the save system in Dementium (an issue we fixed for the Japanese and European versions). Moon is structured very differently than Dementium. The game is presented in episodes, and within each episode there are checkpoints that save your progress. The play experience in Moon supports the mobile nature of DS gaming.

As you mentioned, Moon will once again be played from the first-person. Is the Renegade Engine 2.0 on which you said the game is being built the same technology you developed for your first project?

Moon utilizes an enhanced version of the engine we used for Dementium, called the Renegade Engine: a much more streamlined edition.

To use the words for your own press release, how has this technology been 'jacked up to the next level?'

We're being much more ambitious with the environments, particle effects, enemies and cinematic cut-scenes. So, we're pretty much firing the DS on all cylinders. Even though we pushed the DS with Demenitum, we were still being slightly cautious due to our time frame and growing experience with the platform. This time around with Moon, we are being a little less cautious while still being expressive and ambitious.

When it was first announced, Moon was described as "always disturbing," an atmosphere that it seems would be difficult to elicit on the small screen. Can you give an example of how this game will attempt to disturb the player?

We've put a large focus on the story in Moon, which unfolds as you progress through the game. The tone is one of mystery and discovery. That's about all I can say right now.

Much ado has been made of your company's decision to work with Mastiff to publish Moon rather than Dementium publisher Gamecock. Is this a case of a storm in a teacup, or should we be reading between the lines here?

Yes, it is a storm in a teacup. Our decision to work with Mastiff was purely based on our desire to work with Bill Swartz and the other fine folks over at Mastiff. It wasn't a case of choosing between Mastiff and Gamecock, or any other publisher for that matter. We're still buds with the Gamecock team, and we are connected in a secret way that will be announced soon.

So you plan to work with Gamecock again then on future projects?

Yes.

When we last spoke with you, you talked about the sense of freedom offered by working with Gamecock. Is the feeling similar with Mastiff, or do they keep you on a tighter leash?

Working with Mastiff is great. We have the freedom to develop our IP, while benefiting from their insight and development experience. It is a partnership.

Besides the DS, Renegade Kid is an authorized Wii developer as well. Why not bring Moon to the Wii?

The reason we wanted to develop Moon on the DS first was to take advantage of our Renegade Engine. To be able to focus on the content of a game and not worry about the engine is a wonderful and rare position for us to be in. We would love to see Moon on the Wii. Perhaps if Moon is received well, a Wii version may very well be in its future as well as a DS sequel too ... who knows.

Last question. Let's say you are stranded on the moon. What's the one possession you'd have to have with you, and why?

I can't think of a single material possession that would help me on the moon. Sure, my DS would be nice, but then I'd need my games – not to mention an unlimited source of electricity. And then I'd be exceeding the limit of "one" possession. So, even though I do not consider her a possession, I'd have to have my wife with me on the moon, so I'd have someone to help me open the hatch ...

This article was originally published on Joystiq.