Interview: 1000 Tiny Claws
At the Eurogamer Expo, I had the pleasure of being able to inverview Jeff Tanton, the producer of 1000 Tiny Claws, the next game from Mediatonic. Here is that interview, enjoy!
Ben: So, 1000 Tiny Claws?
Jeff: 1000 Tiny Claws. It’s obviously the third Mediatonic mini, after Monsters and WTF, and we’re really excited. It’s going to be released in October, the start of October. Once again we’re combining the US and Europe release.
Ben: Trying to get those as close as possible.
Jeff: Yeah, it just really helps. Fundamentally, the game is about a whole bunch of sky pirates, who have unwittingly unleashed a curse on all of the sky islands. The island is overrun, and you, as part of the first mate of the crew, are tasked with having to go back and basically tidy up their mess. You play as Rana, who is the very capable, sensible person who holds the crew together. The actual captain is this guy called Captain Bluebell, who is basically Father Christmas, if Father Christmas had let himself go a bit and taken up piracy. His heart is entirely in the right place, but his brain… wanders. He’s been a pirate for so long that he fears nothing. He’s absolutely sure that everything is going to work out fine. So that’s the story, and the game itself is…
Ben: The screenshots make it look like it differs quite a bit from your previous games, with WTF and Monsters, you could tell instantly what the game is, but with 1000 Tiny Claws, the game could be a variety of things? Is it a hack and slash action game, or something entirely different?
Jeff: Hack And Slash is probably a good way of describing it. From the moment you start playing it, you’ll totally get it. We’ve kind of spliced some genres together, like the original idea we had was a dungeon crawler, and the original artwork for that is so far away from what we ended up with that that was the core. We played a lot of Super Smash Brothers during the development, Jim is ridiculously good. I found myself flying off the stage for the 50th time whilst they duked it out on a platform. We took that place to 1000 Tiny Claws, you send stuff flying. Like Super Smash Brothers, you only defeat anything if it’s knocked off the island. You get to send waves of bugs flying in to the air with a single slash.
Ben: That must be something to see.
Jeff: Obviously you’ve got things like combo attacks, but we really want to make sure that the thing you’re doing 99% of the time is going to be fun. I think the minis platform has been excellent for us, it kind of allows us to take that first step into making device based games. It’s a substantial thing, and what’s great about minis is we get to run free a bit, create some really interesting titles. We’re always pleasantly surprised when people pick up and like our games. We’re lucky to have some really great artists and animators, the visual style of our games is great.
Ben: So is this the first project you’ve lead at Mediatonic?
Jeff: Yeah, it’s massively exciting. I’ve been here for a couple of years now, it was great to be here helping out with our flash games like Amateur Surgeon.
Ben: Amateur Surgeon? You guys made Amateur Surgeon?
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, that was Jim again.
Ben: I used to play that at school.
Jeff: I’ll tell Jim! It was a really good title for us. The whole title came from Trauma Center, and Jim just sort of furiously mapped out all these characters and ideas. That game still opens doors for us. I’m very aware that as this is my first mini, there’s a quality standard there already.
Ben: It’s a lot to live up to.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly.
Ben: So, with 1000 Tiny Claws, are the environments more open?
Jeff: The environments are sort of more arena based, with each stage taking place on a sky land. You have all of these bugs swarming on you. Every time we do minis we learn more about the platform, and what we’re capable of as well. I really can’t wait for you guys to see it in action.
Ben: Thank you very much for your time, I hope this thing picks up the audio.
Jeff: Yeah, I really hope s- (Recording cuts off here.)
Thanks very much to Jeff from Mediatonic for entertaining my questions, look for 1000 Tiny Claws next month.