Entertainment Hero - Revealing the Game
I "revealed" Entertainment Hero quite a few weeks ago but no one really cared because no one really saw it. I didn't submit the reveal video to gaming news sites, and I don't figure they'd have reported on the game anyway. It's a small project that's going over the same stuff that plenty of other games have done better. Then things changed. Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch.
I always knew Entertainment Hero was coming to "Nintendo NX", as I mentioned here on the blog before the "Nintendo NX" was announced as Nintendo Switch. Unity support for Nintendo's new console was accidentally revealed by Unity themselves all the way back in May, so supporting Nintendo's new hardware was a no-brainer. Nintendo has always been my number one and it's always been my dream to have a game on a Nintendo platform.
When Nintendo announced on their Twitter page that the NX reveal was finally happening, I had less than a day to prepare. I gathered together Entertainment Hero footage that I had recorded weeks prior and slapped together a gameplay trailer in iMovie. iPhone iMovie. Yikes. That trailer didn't turn out great, which I regret, but I think it conveys the core of what the game will be.
I uploaded the new trailer to YouTube and promptly submitted it to GoNintendo.com, my favorite website for Nintendo news. They reported on it with the usual supernatural ninja-quickness for which they are well known, and the trailer currently sits at 1,308 views in two days. Easily the most viewed video on my channel and YouTube commentators have been very kind to it.
"Still better than Mighty No. 9", says one, which is all I needed to hear to ensure Entertainment Hero is completed and released.
"First officially revealed Indie game for Switch? Might be. :D" says another.
A few hours later I discovered that another channel called ContraNetwork reuploaded my trailer, I suppose in an effort to compile news on known Nintendo Switch games. Let me tell you, it was surreal to see my little game on someone else's YouTube channel. They even made their own thumbnail out of a screenshot!
Anyhow, the first and currently only comment on their upload is a very nice one.
"Your game has a pretty rad retro feel! I love it."
Aww! This instantly made my day. Things took a slight turn when I checked the GoNintendo Twitter post on the game. It had garnered the attention of two individuals.
"A.) It's ugly.
B.) How did Nintendo give some random indie dev a Switch DEV kit to a project that only started 2 months ago?"
To answer the question in point B, Nintendo has not given me a Switch Development Kit. I'm a "Licensed Nintendo Developer", something anyone can become, and I'm working in an engine that their console supports. I don't represent or run a game company. I'm a guy sitting in his kitchen drinking protein shakes while drawing sprites in Microsoft Paint.
I should mention that, at the time at least, the only place he could have read that the project is only two months old is here on the website, so he did look into the game further than he had too! Props to you, dude. I respect that you took the time to form an opinion, not a knee-jerk reaction. That said, still kinda harsh.
"What a quality game to take advantage of the new hardware", reads the second of the two responses.
This made me wonder whether people really expect every launch game to be a reason to buy the console. This question came up again when I made an amazing discovery. A German website called NTower reported on Entertainment Hero! At least I'm pretty sure it's German. That's what Google Translate told me it was.
This article easily has the most discussion about the game, and is generally the best article on it. Translated through Google, the article says:
"Although the Wii U can not be called a sales junk par excellence, it can not be denied that the support of many indie developers has been outstanding and will also produce some small highlights in the coming months. There is, of course, the question whether many Indie developers will also develop for Nintendo switch and lo and behold, the first indie developer has just presented a game for Nintendo's upcoming home console.
So the developer NEH Wind announced with Entertainment Hero a game inspired by Mega Man, which is to be released punctually for the launch of Nintendo Switch. There is also a first trailer and so you can get an impression of one of the first indie games for Nintendo Switch."
After running the comments through translation software it seems that the reaction to Entertainment Hero is largely consistent across the web. The first comment seems to say that the quality of the game is up in the air, but it's still a game revealed for a "probably great new platform". "It's a neat game coming to a new console" is exactly the reaction I had hoped for, but largely didn't get. I'll talk about why that is shortly.
The next comment is by one Dunkare, who says it looks terrible, like something you'd find on a cell phone, and that it's not an argument for buying a Nintendo Switch. Another personal implying that every launch game should be reason enough to buy a console. Obviously I haven't claimed that Entertainment Hero is the reason you should buy a Nintendo Switch, but I probably didn't need to clarify that.
Moving on, the next comment simply says "I find totally uninteresting!". Well, to each his own, but I hope he checks up on the game from time to time! He might change his mind! Next up is a fellow named Waffle, who says:
"I am a big fan of indie games! The game looks very promising for me and I will certainly buy it!"
You have no idea how happy that made me. Someone is already excited to play my game.
Waffle goes on to tell Dunkare that Entertainment Hero is here to fill a niche, which it certainly is, and he goes on to say that independent games are not there to sell consoles and that this is a niche that Nintendo has always been very good at serving and he's glad that there's already something there for Switch. He finishes by telling Dunkare not to worry, since "Nintendo will not launch the "Entertainment Hero Bundle" on the market. ;)". Thank goodness.
Dunkare then responds, saying that he likes independent games too, but only if they look great. He clarifies that by "great" he doesn't mean 4K, HDR, or otherwise fancy visuals. All he wants is "a coherent style that fits the game and appeals to the eye". Can't blame him there, and it's certainly something that Entertainment Hero is lacking in.
I won't make excuses. Some of the levels really are all over the place where color is concerned. It's something I should have had taken care of before releasing a gameplay trailer. In my defense, the footage in the trailer was recorded weeks ago and the game looks and moves considerably better now. Stages have parallax scrolling background elements, there are more animated components and Hero's animation cycles have greatly improved. This is why I'll be posting monthly trailers to show progress. Hopefully, with enough improvement, Dunkare will change his mind!
The last comment on the page says "I'll open a bottle of champagne when we have this pseudo-retro wave behind us". Ouch. I thought I had distanced myself pretty far from the retro look. Some elements are pixelated, but they have no palette restrictions and Hero himself was drawn by hand. If he's referring to the gameplay, it's literally all that I'm capable of making. Oh well.
Overall, this has been an incredible experience for me. There are things that I would do differently, but it is what it is. One element that I certainly did not anticipate was Nintendo themselves. Call me crazy, but I expected Nintendo to actually announce Super Mario Switch, Mario Kart Switch, Splatoon Switch, Skyrim Special Edition and NBA 2K17 as titles. They did not. Apparently Nintendo won't announce games until next year.
This means that Entertainment Hero is completely on his own out there. Rather than being a neat independent bonus launch game, he's literally one of the only games coming at Nintendo Switch with a name and a trailer. I feel that this has brought a lot of harsh judgement on the game that I certainly didn't anticipate. People are looking for news on this exciting new console and all they can find is this tiny little nothing of a game from an untested two-man development team. I'd be upset too.
Anyhow, I'm very happy with the impressions so far. Even the negative comments left me feedback on how to improve the game, and trust me, I know not everyone's that lucky. Every scrap of feedback will be utilized to make this game the absolute best that I can make it. Hopefully these early concerns will be taken care of before the new trailer drops on the 31st!
Thanks for reading!