Runbow Getting Re-Released As Ultimate Editions
Originally released in August of 2015, Runbow is a Wii U eShop exclusive title built around multiplayer mayhem. Developed by 13AM Games and often described as a platform racer, Runbow was met with critical acclaim for its chaotic multiplayer mindset. In fact, Runbow can support up to nine players at the same time using pretty much every combination of Wii and Wii U controller available.
On October 25, 2016, Runbow Deluxe Edition will be released as a physical, ultimate edition of Runbow. Retailing for $29.99, Runbow Deluxe Edition will contain all the bonus story adventures, level, and character DLC along with a download for its official two-volume soundtrack. Also, Shantae will also be made as a free DLC character starting on October 25th for anyone who owns the digital download version of Runbow or the new boxed Runbow Deluxe Edition.
13AM Games also announced Runbow Pocket Deluxe Edition for New 3DS. This handheld version will be available sometime in 2017 and will also include all the DLC, some pre-order incentives, and maybe even some goodies bundled inside the box itself.
MyGamer had a chance to speak with 13AM Games to ask them about the origins of Runbow, the upcoming Deluxe editions, and what makes the studio tick.
myGamer: How did you come up with the idea behind Runbow? Was this concept born from the Global Game Jam of 2014?
13AM Games: It was! The Game Jam had a theme… “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” which got us thinking about the colour mechanic that sees objects disappear if they match the ever-changing background. We knew that we wanted to make a game that had a crazy competitive feeling and, at the end, that’s how Runbow was born!
MG: Runbow supports up to nine players on a single console simultaneously which is actually pretty crazy since very few games support more than four players locally. From a technical stand point, how difficult was it to get nine controllers, nine players, all running on the Wii U hardware at the same time?
13AM: We knew that it was possible, because of an old Wii Game, GyroStarr that let you get inputs from a Classic Controller plugged in to a Wii Remote to denote two players (they’re usually used as a one-or-the-other if you have them plugged in). With that we thought… well, I wonder if we can do this with all four Wii Remotes plugged in to the Wii U. Throw in the GamePad and there you have 9. All we had to do was have faith that we could pull it off, and thankfully we did.
MG: Can you also talk about how you managed to handle game balance with nine players?
13AM: Runbow is nice from a balance perspective because all the players and characters have the same speed and abilities, and any new characters you unlock are just skins with unique audio and animations. We did notice that a lot of people would end up dominating the game, however, and thought about power ups as a way to give people a chance to recoup some ground. There are a few powerups that you’ll get more at the back of the pack, like lightning, or super speed. If you are in the front however, you’re much more likely to get the swapper, the deadly powerup that trades your position with anyone on screen. Because of this you have to almost avoid powerups in first place.
There are other tricks too, like the starting grid. If you’re doing better, you’re more likely to be lower on the grid. The levels are all designed to be a bit easier if you’re starting from a higher point, so those with few points will often get to be on a simpler path.
In addition to these considerations we also just load the game with randomness. In competitive matches you have to pay very close attention to the incoming colour because you never know when you have to think fast about where you’re jumping next.
MG: Testing Runbow must have been a challenge. Getting nine players huddled around a single screen must have created a highly competitive environment. Can you talk a little bit about your internal testing process and struggles?
13AM: Our internal testing process was the struggle. We’re a 9 person studio, so getting 9 people to play at any time was not necessarily a challenge, but keep in mind that each of those people needed to get their own work done on time too.
On top of that, yeah, we were competitive as can be. Sometimes we would just play the game for the fun of it, but it was hard to separate that experience from real focused QA and, let’s face it, sometimes you just want to wreck whoever you are playing against. I remember the day we started playing Adventure mode with 9 players (because you can also play our non-competitive modes with 9 friends too), and we discovered a bug that let us restart the level after we were dead. Just die? Okay restart the whole level and infuriate all your teammates. It was the most hilarious and frustrating experience ever.
MG: Runbow not only has a ton of DLC, it also features characters from other indie games such as Shovel Knight, Guacamelee, Mutant Mudds, and now Shantae. Were the creators of these other IPs excited that you wanted to feature them in Runbow? What were those conversations like with the other developers?
13AM: Those conversations were actually great. The fun thing about working with other indie developers is that they know, sometimes very intimately, the struggles of starting out and trying to make a game that people recognize and love. When we showed them what we were doing they were like “Oh, this actually looks like you guys put a lot of thought into making a really fun game. Sure, we’ll lend a hand.”
The boring and super-Canadian answer to what those conversations were like is that we just asked politely. We had a lot of help meeting people thanks to Nintendo, but everyone was very cool once we started talking. We’re still friends with these developers and love to see them at events and things.
MG: Runbow Pocket Deluxe Edition is slated for a 2017 release. Will it include all the content found in the Wii U boxed edition and will there be any unique features in comparison to the Wii U Deluxe Edition? Any StreetPass functionality?
13AM: We recently had to make an announcement that we are doing away with Nintendo’s “local multiplayer” functionality including ad hoc multiplayer and StreetPass. We did this to focus on bringing the Runbow experience to people on their New 3DS, and that includes the ability to play with anyone around the world, whenever you want, from an internet connection. When faced with the choice, we thought it was more important that players not have to be near friends with New Nintendo 3DS for them to play Runbow Pocket online, so we’re working on porting the same sort of online experience we have on Runbow Wii U to Runbow Pocket.
As for extra goodies in the deluxe edition, we will be announcing what those are very very soon, so be sure to tune in to our social media channels.
MG: Can you confirm that Runbow Pocket Deluxe Edition for 3DS will only work on New 3DS systems? And will it support stereoscopic 3D?
13AM: I can confirm that Runbow Pocket is a NEW 3DS exclusive, and that it does not support stereoscopic 3D. Unity games have a large overhead, and Runbow has has a lot of stuff going on under the hood, and we need the power of the New 3DS. It’s because of Unity’s amazing engine that we were able to pack so much functionality into Runbow, and the reason why it is so much easier to port to New 3DS than if we built it in another engine. Unity is also the same reason why we were able to bring Pirate Pop Plus, our first published title, to Wii U, New 3DS, and Steam with little difficulty. For the tradeoff of the overhead, we think it’s worth it.
MG: 13AM Games is clearly home to some passionate game makers. When not playing Runbow, what other games does the development staff also like to play?
13AM: Literally everything. A lot of us are on the Overwatch train right now, but we’re also huge fans of adventure games, RPGs, racing games, whatever we can get our hands on. In the office we tend towards games we can play together, like fighting games or MOBAs, but there is no game too small or too big for us to love.
MG: I know it is a difficult question, but what might the future hold for the Runbow series? Any ports to other systems? Sequels planned? And if Shovel Knight can do it, might fans see a Runbow amiibo or amiibo support in the future?
13AM: All I can say right now is that fans of Runbow need not worry… we’ve got a lot more planned. We’re not done with this game yet and we’re really happy that our fans are still excited to see more.
13AM: Definitely the kind of crowd-around-the-couch experiences that we grew up with. The kind of games that you would play with friends late into the night. Look at the N64 era for great examples of this. Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., and great platforming like old Super Mario Bros. titles. But a lot of modern stuff influenced our design in different ways, from Hyrule Warriors to Guacamelee and tons of games in between.
MG: Runbow Deluxe will release on October 25th which is pretty close to Halloween. What Halloween plans do the 13AM staffers have? Will we see any Runbow costumes?
13AM: We have a standing Halloween party held by a couple guys in the office. Personally, I’m really hoping that we will start seeing some Runbow Halloween costumes on the streets and at parties! That’s how you know you’ve made it.
MG: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about Runbow or 13AM?
13AM: We’ve got some really cool stuff we are still working on, so we promise to keep in touch. Follow us on twitter (@13amgames) or Facebook (13AM Games) and see what we’re up to.
MG: On behalf of the myGamer staff, we thank you for your time and look forward to playing the upcoming Runbow Deluxe Editions.
13AM: Thank you!
For more on Runbow, visit http://www.13amgames.com/readytorunbow/
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com