After the modest success of the first game, Frozenbyte announced that they would be doing a sequel to their quaint side-scrolling puzzle game Trine. We say down with Design Director and CEO Lauri Hyvärinen to talk about Trine 2.
Strategy Informer:The original Trine has been described as a sleeper hit. Just how successful was it for you guys?
Lauri Hyvärinen:Trine was our final breakthrough game and sales have been very good. Thanks to the original Trine's success we have been able to invest enough time and money into Trine 2, as well as to our technology and to overall improvements in the company. Thanks to all this, Trine 2 is shaping up really well!
Strategy Informer:Judging by the debut trailer of Trine 2 it’s going to be set in the same kingdom with the same characters from the first game. What else can you tell us about its story?
Lauri Hyvärinen: Indeed, the kingdom is again in trouble – but this time it's less straightforward and the adventure takes place in a different part of the vast kingdom. Of course the familiar kingdom-savers are the best solution to fix the trouble, even if they’re not all so willing to go risk their lives again. This time we have also focused much more on the story and writing from the get-go, so we’ve had time to polish the script. It’s going to be a great adventure!
Strategy Informer:One of the few morsels of information that you guys have released about the game is that the Wizard’s prowess in combat has been greatly bolstered. What are these improvements and can we expect changes to the other two characters as well?
Lauri Hyvärinen: We have improved the wizard's ability to survive and even to fight, but he's still the weakest of the three for fighting purposes, as we have also improved both the Knight and the Thief as well. The Wizard's main improvement is his ability to maintain kinetic energy of thrown objects, and he can also interact with the environment a lot more. The Thief has received the ability to slow down time around her (but still keep her own movement unaffected, allowing some pretty neat physics-based tricks). And finally, our beloved Knight has received the ability to throw his hammer, which works not only during combat but also while solving certain parts of some puzzles.
Strategy Informer:One of the main criticisms of the original Trine was that a whole play through didn’t take that long, clocking in at roughly six hours. Will Trine 2 provide greater longevity?
Lauri Hyvärinen: Yes, we have improved the length of the levels, added great diversity and depth to the puzzles and mixed it with a variety of new enemies. On top of that the single-player and multiplayer modes have both some exclusive tricks, so replay value has been greatly improved when playing solo or with friends. This totals to a lot more play time than the original Trine.
Strategy Informer:Trine’s music and visuals were universally loved by critics. Will these elements continue in the same vein or will you be taking them in a new direction in Trine 2?
Lauri Hyvärinen: With Trine 2 we have greatly improved our visuals by doing a completely new game engine which allows new shadows, new effects, a lot more lights and of course all the content has been made to match our new standards. Our artists have really done an amazing job with Trine 2, and on top of that the musical score will be just as amazing, again composed by Ari Pulkkinen who did the music to the original game too.
Strategy Informer:Are there any other game play tweaks and additions that players can expect to find?
Lauri Hyvärinen: We have tweaked everything a lot, starting from all the basic things, like making the physics act better, making the jumps and the grappling hook feel even more accurate and straightforward, and so on. We have also paid great attention to online multiplayer and its features, as that’s one of the major things in Trine 2 and something that a lot of players have been longing for.
Strategy Informer:There were obviously difficulties bringing the first Trine to market, what with the PSN version pushed back two months from the PC release and the XBLA version being cancelled altogether. What were the factors at play there?
Lauri Hyvärinen: Well, Trine was our first console title and it was the first PS3 title for our publisher also. That caused a fair share of problems, and there were other factors at play too. That said, now we have more experience on the console side and our new publisher, Atlus, is also very experienced with the consoles. This together with our increased caution with development schedules and such should do the trick, and there shouldn't be similar problems with Trine 2. We’re very excited to bring the game to all three platforms this time!
Strategy Informer: The PC version of Trine was substantially more expensive to buy than PS3 version. Again, what were the factors that led to this discrepancy?
Lauri Hyvärinen: This was mostly dictated by the PC retail publisher and it was a rather annoying situation for everyone, especially coupled with all the trouble with the platforms and releases. We got the price lowered later though. That said, the good news is that all versions of Trine 2 should cost the same.
Strategy Informer: You’ve announced a publishing partnership with Atlus in the US. Is there any word on publishers for Europe and the rest of the world?
Lauri Hyvärinen: Atlus will handle PSN and XBLA releases world-wide, and we will publish the PC version ourselves together with online distributors and local retail partners. It's a reasonably hassle-free situation, even if it sounds a bit complicated. We’re hoping that every gamer will be able to enjoy Trine 2.
Strategy Informer:Are you aiming for a more timely release across all systems with Trine 2?
Lauri Hyvärinen: Yes, we aim for a much smaller release window for all three platforms than what Trine had with two platforms. So hopefully all of the versions will be released within the same week or two.
Strategy Informer:Finally, the original had a boxed release on PC. Will the sequel follow suit or will it be a digital download exclusive?
Lauri Hyvärinen: Digital channels are the main channels, but in some territories a boxed PC retail version might come out. We’ve talked to some retail distributors and they seem happy to have Trine 2, so things look good on that front. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens!
Thank you for your time. Not a lot is known about Trine 2 at the moment, but it's due out on all platforms via digital distribution sometime next year. We'll bring you a hands on preview as soon as we can.