Interview: Mutant Mudds Super Challenge Brings Difficult Platforming to Wii U & 3DS

Interview: Mutant Mudds Super Challenge Brings Difficult Platforming to Wii U & 3DS - Article

by Tyler Treese , posted on 08 March 2016 / 3,634 Views

Mutant Mudds was a surprise hit for indie studio Renegade Kid, and one of the early highlights for both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Now the evil Mudds are back for a second time and they're even more difficult. Called Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, this new platformer is designed specifically for veteran players.

To find out more about this Nintendo 3DS and Wii U release, we reached out to Renegade Kid's Jools Watsham.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge

VGChartz: You've taken a game that already offers up a very healthy challenge, and essentially ratcheted it up a notch. How have you managed to make the experience even more difficult?
Jools Watsham: The goal for Mutant Mudds Super Challenge was to present a continued challenge, as if you just completed the original Mutant Mudds adventure and are picking things up directly from that moment. The original Mutant Mudds has a gradual difficulty curve that increases over time, presenting the most challenging levels towards the end of the game. With Super Challenge I threw the concept of a difficulty curve out of the window, and made every level challenging instead. Generally speaking, the levels are all equal to the "hard" levels in the original Muddsin terms of challenge. Some may lean towards being a little easier than that and some may spike up to be a little more challenging. I think Muddy fans will be well equipped to handle them.
The difficulty is accomplish by presenting the platforming and enemy challenges in certain configurations that require the player to be familiar and skilled with the player controls, i.e. tailoring the jump heights and distances to the max distances, placing enemies in tricky spots, and adding a few more death spikes.
In addition to this the player is required to collect all of the gems in each level in order to unlock the boss door for that world, so the positioning of the gems also becomes a game design tool for presenting challenge.
VGC: There's a fine line between challenging and being unfair, and that's something the original Mutant Mudds handled very well. Do you ever worry that you're creating stages that are too devilish?
JW: I think the best kind of challenge is a fair one, And that is the most difficult sort of challenge to create from a development point of view. This is a belief that I have carried with me into the level design of Super Challenge. I am confident that the levels are still a fair challenge. My goal was not a devilish one. My intention was not to sit back in my red leather armchair wringing my hands with wretched delight as fire bellows up behind me at the thought of sad mortals dying at the hand of my levels. No, my goal was to present a fun and challenging experience that players can overcome with some effort and skill. In addition to presenting a healthy challenge, I also focused on presenting a new experience for players familiar with the Muddy universe.

VGC: One of the big additions to Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is boss fights. How do these change up the established gameplay, and what can players expect to see? Are these standalone levels, or are these encounters at the end of a level?
JWYeah, we're really excited to finally be able to add bosses into the Mudds experience. There are five boss fights in the game, each behind their own locked door in each of the five unique worlds. They are stand-alone experiences that are contained within their own levels. 
I think we've managed to present a nice variety of boss challenges that range from traditional and simple encounters to some that leverage the unique layer hopping abilities in Mutant Mudds. I think they present a wonderful sense of grandeur to the experience and compliment the adventure really well.
VGC: Does releasing on both Wii U and 3DS offer up any unique challenges during development? Were there ever any concerns about platform parity?

Matthew Gambrell handles the programming for our 2D games, and I must tip my hat towards him for his accomplishments with the streamlined development pipeline that he has created. I expect on his side of the experience he's wrestling a 100 ft. octopus while trying to keep everything under control, but on my side it is all very clean and simple.

From my perspective, we essentially develop one game that takes into consideration the unique qualities of the 3DS and Wii U platforms, such as screen size, etc. We initially get everything running on the PC because we can develop rapidly without any extra hurdles to worry about. This allows us to play an essentially emulated version of the game on 3DS or Wii U at any moment to ensure everything look right for the target platform.

At some point in the development of the game I switch almost exclusively over to playing the game only on the target device itself to ensure the look and feel that I am experiencing is the same as the player's. It works very well thanks to Matthew's huge and impressive brain.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge

VGC: Mutant Mudds was a huge success for Renegade Kid. Do you worry that raising the difficulty might limit the amount of players interested in this sequel?
JWYes, I do worry about that! (laughs) But, it is something that I think fans of the original game will like a lot. If I was a fan of the original, having not developed it myself, I would personally love a direct continuation of Mutant Mudds with no hand-holding and more challenge that I can really get my teeth into. Hopefully I am not the only one!
VGC: You already had a very solid foundation to build off of for Mutant Mudds Super Challenge. Is it easier to develop a sequel rather than an original title since you already have that base, and how does that change your design philosophy?
JWWhen it comes to game development, I don't think the word "easier" really ever applies, but I understand why that may seem like the case. What it means to us is more time and effort can be poured into other aspects of the game to make them extra special.

My philosophy had to change in that I had to assume many players playing Super Challenge would be very familiar with the original Mutant Mudds. This can be a blessing and a curse. This challenged me to come up with new ideas to keep the platforming experience interesting and fresh.

Adding the bosses was of course a natural addition, but I felt that we needed to add even more to ensure the game complimented the original as a standalone title with additions such as hidden pathways, destructible blocks, over 40 unlockable tunes from the soundtrack, and 20 playable secret characters. There is a lot of content for players new and seasoned to the Muddiness.

VGC: While you've clearly added some major mechanics such as boss battles, you made sure to avoid calling this Mutant Mudds 2. If this ends up being successful, is a full-fledged sequel something you want to do, and would that see more substantial differences?
JW: Yes, we had ideas for a Mutant Mudds 2 before the idea of Super Challenge was created. Granted, Super Challenge grew in scope from it's original concept, but a sequel would be a very different game.
VGC: Cross-buy is an established concept on other platforms, but is still relatively new on Nintendo consoles. While it's obviously great for consumers, as a developer do you feel like supporting this ends up being a net positive for you? 
JWThe jury is out on that one right now. I don't know at this point whether cross-buy is a positive or negative in terms of revenue at the end of the day. Releasing the game on 3DS and Wii U simultaneously was something that we wanted to achieve from the beginning of development, and supporting cross-buy felt like a natural thing to do when it came time to consider it.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge

VGC: You recently started releasing iOS games under the Atooi Games name. How has Totes the Goat performed for you, and can gamers expect more mobile games in the future from you? 
JWTotes the Goat was a very fun and successful experiment with the iOS market. I intend to do more mobile stuff under the Atooi name in the future.
VGC:  Let our readers know why they should pick up Mutant Mudds Super Challenge on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U on March 17!
JWMutant Mudds Super Challenge has been lovingly crafted for platforming fans. If you enjoy the likes of Super Mario World, Mega Man, and Mutant Mudds you'll be sure to enjoy our new baby. Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is a fun adventure that doesn't just hand the prize to you without your effort. You have to work for it, and we all know that true fulfillment is gained by overcoming adversity, right!? You will feel on top of the world when you finish this super challenge.

Renegade Kid can be found on Twitter over at @RenegadeKidLLC, while Jools Watsham can be found at @JoolsWatsham. More information about Mutant Mudds Super Challenge can be found on its official website or on Twitter.

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Darwinianevolution (on 09 March 2016)

I picked the first one because I had some extra credit left and it was on sale on the eShop, and it turned out to be an amazing platformer. Hard as balls, but amazing. And right when I almost complete the game, they doubled the amount of stages XD I'll be picking up this one when it releases.

cycycychris (on 08 March 2016)

Jools watsham always seemed like to me a really cool down to earth guy to talk to. Always gives really good interviews. Sounds like super challenge is going to be another great game from them.

tylertreese (on 08 March 2016)

This was my 2nd time interviewing him, and it's always a delight to pick his brain for a bit.

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spurgeonryan (on 12 March 2016)

I think I have the original on my 3DS.

hershel_layton (on 08 March 2016)

Mutant Mudds...The struggle makes you rage.

spemanig (on 09 March 2016)

I know this is a tiny nitpick, but if Tyler is really the one who conducted the interview, I think it only makes sense that he is the one who's name is there instead of VGC. Great interview, though!

tylertreese (on 09 March 2016)

I did conduct the interview. I wasn't told specifically to credit the site, but that's how it has been when I've written elsewhere - so it's out of habit at this point. I guess the way I see it, is that I want the focus to be on the person being interviewed, not myself. I appreciate the sentiment, though. Maybe I'll change the formatting for the next one.

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spemanig (on 09 March 2016)

Okay, I understand the sentiment! I just personally feel there's an importance in a website like this to elevate the personalities behind these articles when possible, as it gives each site it's own flavor. It's why characters like Greg Miller, Kyle Bossman, and Danny O'dwyer are so important to the successes of their concurrent websites. Having your name instead of VGC is just a small way to contribute to that.

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tylertreese (on 09 March 2016)

Appreciate it. I think I'll put my name in the article itself from now on. Thanks for the feedback, and taking the time to read my work! Very much appreciated.

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spemanig (on 09 March 2016)

Anytime! Keep up the good work!

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