Starting with my interview last week with Nitoris Media, I was interested in seeing whether I could start a series of articles interviewing the developers continuing to make Vita content as it provides a fascinating insight into the minds of these teams. Among my first choices was Rainbite, developers of the upcoming 2D top-down RPG Reverie, who jumped at the chance to respond to my request.
I was interested in what made them choose Vita and why they love it so much; what inspired Reverie’s New Zealand setting and what we can expect from the upcoming game.
First off, tell me a bit about yourselves! Who makes up Rainbite and what do you all do?
Rainbite consists of three recent Software Engineer graduates. Although we all did the same degree we have all picked up other skills that have helped us through the process of building Reverie. Daniel does all of the art and business management, Jared does the vast majority of the programming, and Tom does all of the marketing and promotions. We all contribute to the design process and help each other out with our respective jobs if possible.
I’ve been following the development of Reverie across Social Media for some time and you have an extremely high level of engagement with your fans. How difficult has it been pushing forward development while taking fan feedback on board?
It’s been pretty easy and enjoyable for us to interact and engage with the audience. We have been, and continue to work on Reverie full time so this makes taking feedback onboard quite easy as we can make changes on the fly. We try and respond to all Twitter messages and replies as we appreciate the interest in us and the game.
Have you managed to raise awareness of the game in the media, given a large amount of outlets no longer cover Vita news?
Many large video game sites don’t tend to report much Vita news. Our main source of raising awareness is through Twitter where we try to post content consistently. From this, niche Vita specific sites have picked up on Reverie and have been publishing articles on us. We also get some of our Twitter followers posting some content on Reddit in which we have reached the top post multiple times.
How has the feedback from the Vita community to your project been so far?
Getting feedback from others is always appreciated in game development and it’s hard to get a fresh look at the game with only a 3 man team. The feedback itself is really good, we try to take all of it into consideration and it often leads to good group discussions about a certain mechanic or feature.
Aside from people like Gio Corsi, it seems like Sony have all but given up on Vita at this point. Did this public withdrawal of support deter your development?
We only started developing Reverie at the end of November 2016 so we already knew Sony wouldn’t be releasing more first-party titles. At that stage we had all but finished with university and were dedicated to the idea of creating a game for the Vita. This was the ideal time for us as recent graduates to make a game that we wanted to make, for a console that we all love.
How has the support from Sony been in bringing your game to the handheld?
Sony still has a strong Vita development support team. The process has been smooth so far and we’re sure it’ll stay that way when we move into the approval process.
Reverie is a 2D Zelda-esque game which is a genre that is sorely lacking on Vita. Was
this genre choice a reaction to that or a natural decision for the team?
A bit of both. The three of us love the 2D Zelda games and we wanted to fill the gap for this type of game on the Vita. We are proud with what we have managed to accomplish with Reverie so far and are pleased to see the Vita audience has been so receptive of the project.
You seem to have based the game heavily on New Zealand culture and folklore. What inspired you to use this setting and how easy was it to adapt this into a game world?
We were inspired to set the game in New Zealand as we were born and raised here. Any
environmental or cultural aspects in Reverie are easy for us to implement as we have been exposed to it for the majority of our lives. We also have used a lot of our own memories and experiences of summer holidays as children to influence some of the buildings, people and environments you explore on the island.
You previously worked on a student project named Slick: Ruff Justice. How did the
lessons learned from that game affect the development of Reverie?
Nearly every aspect of development has been improved since Slick. We all improved our
individual skill sets in different fields during the development of Slick which has led each of us to be more proficient in our roles while creating Reverie. Also we’ve found that a smaller team is easier to manage in some ways, especially with a very focused title like Reverie. We could list each lesson learned but there are too many to count!
How far along in development are you at present?
We are well past the halfway mark in development. Setting up the base mechanics of the game took some time out of creating the content but at this stage we are all focused on finishing the world.
What engine is the game built in and have you had any difficulties getting things running on Vita?
Reverie is being built in Unity, which we understand has some negative connotations in the Vita community. We’re confident that we can provide a quality experience. We’ve been working hard to make sure the game is as efficient as it can be, and at this stage the game is 60fps with no drops.
What elements are you adding to ensure Reverie remains unique in the genre?
The main difference is the setting and time period. Reverie is set on an island off the coast of New Zealand in the early 2000’s. Most games in the action/adventure genre are in a fantasy world, however, Reverie is set in more modern times. This influences the design of the items, dungeons and other areas of the map.
What is the estimated length of the game going to be? Anything to encourage multiple playthroughs?
We’re looking at 5-8 hours for the main story, and 7-10 hours for completionists. There aren’t extra difficulties, but there is some post-game content for players to enjoy. If we get a platinum trophy we want it to be achievable in a single playthrough.
Will the game be PlayStation TV compatible?
Yes absolutely. It looks great both on the Vita screen and on a big TV.
With the advent of physical indie releases through publishers like Limited Run Games, will you be looking towards a physical release of Reverie?
We’d certainly love to do a physical release, we hope to have something to announce in this area over the next few months!
Is there a chance we will see more Vita games from you beyond Reverie?
There’s definitely a chance! It’s a fantastic console and we all love handhelds, so if we can, we will.
What are some of your favourite games that you’ve played on Vita?
Let’s go by person for this one!
I’ve been playing Tales of Hearts R and Muramasa recently, which are both great fun. World of Final Fantasy, Ys Celceta, Yomawari and Disgaea 4 are on my backlog to finish, and I’m anticipating the release of Demon Gaze 2 this year. My all-time favourite is Persona 4 Golden though. Hatoful Boyfriend needs a special mention too!
My overall favourite Vita games are Severed, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Tearaway. Recently I have been playing some of the more realistic racing games which I have been enjoying quite a lot. My most recent platinums are Need for Speed: Most Wanted and WRC4.
I like playing some of the trilogies that come out like Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter. Recently though I have been playing Bastion and I’m really enjoying it.
Finally – which of Vita models is your favourite (LCD or OLED)?
The team is split on what we think is the best version. We wish we could take the screen of the OLED with the design of the slim model! Any Vita is a good Vita though!
I want to thank Daniel, Jared and Tom for agreeing to hold this interview with me. You can follow updates on the game via the developer’s Twitter account as we get closer to release.