Tyrone Rodriguez is the man largely responsible for making the upcoming WiiWare version of Cave Story happen. He got in contact with Daisuke Amaya, aka Pixel, seeking to collaborate on a commercial port of the freeware hit. They eventually decided on WiiWare, and now Rodriguez's company Nicalis is working with Pixel to port and update the classic for a new console.
When the official announcement came out, we sent a few questions about the development of the new version, the changes being made, and the future of Nicalis and Cave Story. We've posted the interview after the break. If you'd like to see the current state of WiiWare Cave Story, you can see two gameplay videos, as well as another interview done by GameTrailers, here.
Is Cave Story on WiiWare based on ported code or on new code? How many people are working on it?
We're using the original code created by Pixel and porting it for the WiiWare version. Currently we have six people working on the project. Most of the work is heavy on the art and audio side.
What is the concept behind the new music? Is there a certain style in mind? For example, the original music is very 8-bit. Will this music be available outside the game, as a CD or a download?
We're doing our best to stay true to the original music and aiming to give the audio a slight enhancement similar to what we've done with the graphics. The audio (both music and sound effects) floating around on some sites currently is still very work-in-progress and not indicative of what the final game will be so players should expect significant improvements to what they're hearing now. As of right now we don't have any plans to make the audio available outside of the game, but it's a possibility.
Have you or Pixel been tempted to refine any gameplay or design elements of Cave Story in the porting process? If so, have you?
There is one thing I'd like to change. It's very minor and we're discussing it. The change hasn't been implemented yet and I'm not sure if we'll do it or not.
The font has changed in the WiiWare version. Was this done as a consideration for TV viewing? Is this typeface final?
Yes, we changed the font primarily to make sure it looks good on a television and the retro font might have been too much for new players to really swallow. Even though the game was designed at 320x240 resolution, there have been some issues we've had to battle going from a game that was originally played with a high-resolution monitor down to 480-interlaced mode. Unless we encounter any fatal issues using this font, it will be the one used in the final version of the game.
Is the DSWare download service something that you find interesting for Cave Story?
If it's anything like WiiWare, DSWare sounds great, but I honestly don't know enough about the service yet to speak with any form of experience. As for Cave Story on DSWare, we have no plans as we're focused on bringing the game to WiiWare.
Is the agreement with Pixel limited to Cave Story, or could we see Nicalis-developed versions of other existing games, or new Pixel/Nicalis co-productions? Would the Wii be a likely platform for future Nicalis works?
There is a strong possibility you might see other Pixel games in the future. It's not a guarantee, but it's not out of the question either. The Wii and WiiWare are fantastic and we'll continue to develop for it and other viable platforms. For now on the console side, we're sticking to WiiWare and--hopefully, PSN in the future.