“I hope that the Nintendo Switch can be the console that makes local multiplayer the default again”. Our interview with the creator of 12 orbits
Every new week Nintendo Switch gets fresh new releases from indie developers, but not many of them fully utilize all of console’s unique features. Roman Uhlig, on the other hand, knows exactly what makes this machine ideal for a game like 12 orbits, his own creation.
12 was created by Roman Uhlig and no one else. It’s a game with local multiplayer in mind, and its main feature is the support for 12 players simultaneously.
We had a talk with Roman and asked him a couple of questions.
What made you decide to make your own gamy by yourself? Maybe someone inspired you or you simply had a vision for a perfect game that no one made?
It really was about a game that I thought should exist, but didn’t. Back in school, I played a lot of “Achtung die Kurve” (also known as Zatacka), which is a great two-button game for multiple players on one keyboard. But to work for bigger groups, that was still too many buttons, and too many of them that had to be pressed at once. Since then, I had been collecting ideas for a game that would solve these problems. And when the pieces finally fell into place, I knew I had to try and actually make it.
Do you think that Switch is becoming an ideal place for indie games — kinda «a new Vita»?
Definitely. There is just so much to play with. The sensor-packed Joy-Cons and the portability of the Nintendo Switch allow for a lot of things that would not be possible anywhere else. And that is much more important for Indies than having the greatest processing power for the most advanced graphics. Nintendo itself is currently showing off what is possible with Labo, and I hope that many Indies will follow.
Is there anything you particularly like about the console?
I’m very biased towards one feature: Everybody who has a Nintendo Switch also has at least two controllers, even on the go. That may not sound like a huge deal, because you could always just buy a second controller for any other system if you want to. But for someone who likes to make local multiplayer games, it means that you can rely on every player being able to use your game. And that means a lot.
Do you play anything on it? Maybe you have a favorite Nintendo game?
It’s not exactly an insider tip, but “Breath of the Wild” was great, and may have dethroned my former Nintendo favourite “A Link to the Past”. And for local multiplayer, I’ll never get tired of recommending “Human Fall Flat”, an awesome coop game that also came out on the Switch.
What makes your game stand out? Do you feel the world needs more local multiplayer games like in the good old days of N64?
12 orbits is very easy to understand even for beginners and non-gamers, but also very competitive. And of course, you can play it with a lot of people at once, wherever you are. The idea is to make local multiplayer gaming possible in more kinds of situations, and for more kinds of people. So yeah, I think we need more local multiplayer games, and more different kinds of local multiplayer games. But it seems that Indies in general, and also Nintendo, are happy to comply.
I do hope that the Nintendo Switch can be the console that makes local multiplayer the default again. But to be fair, it’s probably impossible to produce so many games that I will ever answer the question “do we need more local multiplayer games” with “meh, I’m good”.
What do you think about the Russian (Ukrainian, Belorussian, etc) game industry? Anything of interest? We a know a lot of new indie studios and feel like there’s a definite increase of quality titles.
To be honest, I don’t know all that much about the game industry as a whole, let alone the game industry in any particular country. Even including Germany. What I can say is that both Russians and Germans often seem to have a similarly weird taste in gaming, that is not always shared by the rest of the world. For example, I was recently surprised to learn that the German game Gothic 2 (from 2002) still has a very active modding community in Russia. So here is hoping we can keep being weird together 🙂
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