In an exclusive interview with The Fly, Pawel Miechowski, partnerships manager at Polish video game publisher and developer 11 bit studios, discussed the recent launch of "Children of Morta," its popular city-building game "Frostpunk," and other topics.
'MORTA': "Children of Morta," an action role-playing game published by 11 bit and developed by Dead Mage, launched last Tuesday for PC to largely positive reviews. Prior to the game's release, a playable demo was made available, and the full game will soon be available on Nintendo Switch (NTDOY), PlayStation 4 (SNE), and Xbox One (MSFT) consoles. When asked how 11 bit felt about the game prior to launch, Miechowski said that much of the pre-release reception had been "super positive."
"The game has been shown on numerous gaming events all around the world and then there was the demo event and from all of these we've gathered massive feedback, [much] of which was super positive," Miechowski said ahead of the title's official release. "That helped us not only to improve the game but also ensured us that we were on the right track. Now, as I write this, first reviews pop up and they are great. Just to quote TechRaptor here, 'Children of Morta' is "A beautiful world brought alive by beautiful pixel art, catchy music, and incredibly compelling gameplay that holds the whole package together.' The demo event was very successful in terms of numbers too as the group of members on Steam grew largely and the game's wishlist got extra dynamics in its growth."
'FROSTPUNK': City-building survival game "Frostpunk," which is both developed and published by 11 bit studios, launched exclusively on PC on April of 2018 to generally favorable reviews, and the title was nominated for several awards, including "Best Strategy Game" at the Game Critics Awards. The game will become available on PS4 and Xbox One on October 11 of this year, and Miechowski said that the content ported from PC to consoles will stay the same, though there have been some user interface and control changes. "It's a bold statement, but I believe the game proves that we've raised the bar high when it comes to strategy games on consoles," he told The Fly. "Everything plays and feel[s] natural with a gamepad in hand and that was not an easy [thing to make happen]. The UX design for consoles took us months but 'Frostpunk' is a game in real time, where you build a city and manage entire community of this city. That was challenging but we're super happy with how the game plays on consoles. And if you ask about issues, the biggest thing was that the game was not perfectly optimized, so we had to re-write big portions of the code to take away some use from both the processor and the GPU. That's done and that's also a lesson for us for the future."
'MOONLIGHTER': Action RPG title "Moonlighter," published by 11 bit and developed by Digital Sun, was the first 11 bit game ported to the Nintendo Switch. When asked whether the company is pleased with the game's performance on the console, Miechowski said that "Moonlighter" turned out to be "one of the bestsellers" on the console at the end of 2018 "and this year too," as it sold well in Japan after its premiere. When asked about plans to release more games on the Nintendo system, the partnerships manager noted that "Children of Morta" will be launching on the console on October 15 and that he "definitely" hopes that future 11 bit titles will land on the Switch later on.
PUBLISHING PROCESS: When asked to describe 11 bit's process for selecting which games to publish, Miechowski said that the company has a tendency to be "picky." "As a developer we know the drill, we know what is needed from the dev's side," he told The Fly. "At the same time, we've been publishing our games on our own and doing everything from A to Z - marketing, PR etc. We've got more than solid know-how about the publishing in games industry. And the publishing at 11 bit is driven by a very concrete philosophy that can be shortly described as Make Your Mark. Be it a mark in widely understood popculture, gaming community or a gamer's mind. We want people to think about what they've experienced even after they stopped playing. And that makes us a picky publisher. We need to understand the game well, we need to love it as much as the developer loves it. That way we'll be able to understand the game and the mark it wants to make. And we'll be able to communicate its message to the gaming community."
STADIA: On the topic of Stadia, Google's (GOOGL) upcoming video game streaming platform, the 11 bit studios partnership manager said that the game maker "constantly" monitors what's going on the broader video game industry but declined to say whether 11 bit plans to make any of their games available on Stadia or another streaming service. "We're constantly watching what's going on on the market and [keeping] our fingers on the pulse," he said. "I just can tell that we'll be ready when such services are going to take over the market."
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Keywords: children of morta, frostpunk, nintendo switch, video games, stadia, game on