Today's announcement of ZEN Pinball's collaboration with Capcom was certainly a bizarre, unexpected one. We chatted with ZEN Studios' managing director Zsolt Kigyossy on the surprising success of ZEN Pinball, the studio's future plans with PlayStation Network, and how the Street Fighter deal came about in the first place.
ZEN Pinball debuted as the top-selling PSN game in May. Was the team surprised by that achievement?
Not too surprised! We've been working on perfecting our ball-and-table physics for six years now, so I guess our team's passion really shines through in the game. Although, with so many new games coming out each month we couldn't simply rely on quality to make our title stand out, and for that reason we owe much of our success to the huge support that we received from both Sony Europe and America. Not only that, our studio owes a big thanks to the PSN community for supporting our titles and helping drive ZEN Pinball to the number one spot. We couldn't have achieved this success without our dedicated fans.
ZEN has released two PlayStation Network exclusives in succession. Why choose PSN? What are some of the benefits, versus releasing on Xbox Live Arcade?
Actually, our first digital pinball title was Pinball FX and was developed strictly for XBLA. It quickly became one of the most popular titles on the console and we noticed there was a huge opportunity to bring it over to PSN as well, so we made a few modifications, included several new features and brought it over to PSN as ZEN Pinball. As for The Punisher: No Mercy, there is the well known size limitation on XBLA and that's why we didn't have the opportunity to bring it out on that console. Otherwise, with digital distribution continuing to expand we know that it's extremely important for our team to be well versed on both platforms. That said, we're working on a variety of exciting projects that will continue to support not only PSN, but XBLA as well!
Why do you think ZEN Pinball has resonated with the PS3 audience? Why do you think ZEN's other PS3 title, The Punisher: No Mercy, wasn't able to meet the same success?
Not only is Pinball great fun, but it offers a true arcade experience for both casual and hardcore gamers alike! It's rare to find a game that's easy enough to pick-up-and-play but still offers a challenge in the long term. With No Mercy, our main focus was to create an old school FPS with exceptional value and a solid online multiplayer experience that included the style and grit from the Punisher MAX franchise, and we feel we've accomplished this. However we do understand there are a few issues with online lag time and such, but we've been working on a patch to fix these problems and it's expected to be available very soon. We will also have a demo available so consumers can test the game before they purchase it.
Who proposed the rather unique collaboration between Capcom and ZEN for the creation of the new Street Fighter tables?
Here at ZEN Studios, we are long time Street Fighter fans and have a great relationship with Capcom, so the idea came naturally.
How will the team translate the unique characteristics of Street Fighter into pinball?
The locations, missions, and even the tempo of the game is in line with the Street Fighter franchise, though the biggest influences that we've translated over are the characters, such as Ryu, Ken, Guile and of course M. Bison. That said, all eight characters are well known in the Street Fighter franchise, so fans will have no difficulty in recognizing them.
Can we expect other collaborations between third parties and ZEN Pinball in the future? Ideally, what would you like to see?
Absolutely, we have several exciting tables in development but I'm going to have to hold off on any announcements, as we're still finalizing the details. Make sure to visit www.zenstudios.com for more information.
How will the DLC be priced? Can we see regular updates in the future?
Yes, our team is committed to delivering the highest quality pinball experience, and for that reason we'll be offering a great selection of expansion tables within the coming months. Currently the team is working on a few brilliant new tables, and they'll be priced very fairly. Thanks so much!