Mercury Meltdown for the PlayStation Portable was one of last year's best puzzle games on the handheld console. When a version was announced in December for the Nintendo Wii, titled Mercury Meltdown Revolution, it seemed like the Wii's motion-sensitive controllers would be a perfect match for the tilt-based game.
We got a chance to chat with Ed Bradley, studio manager at Ignition, based in Banbury, UK, for an update on the game's progress.
GameSpot UK: First of all, how do you feel about the response to Mercury Meltdown for the PSP?
Ed Bradley: With only a few exceptions, the game reviewed very well for a sequel. This is very gratifying, as we worked hard on fixing the rough edges of the first game and taking feedback from players on board.
GSUK: Is there anything you might have done differently with extra time and hindsight?
EB: [laughs] Always! How long have you got? And every team member you ask would give you different answers, too!
GSUK: What are the unique challenges when designing a game for the Wii?
EB: In general you have to try and get good use out of the controller, in my opinion. In this respect we were very lucky, as the game and controller are a natural fit for each other.
GSUK: What is Nintendo like to work with on a project such as this?
EB: Nintendo have always been great to work with in my experience.
GSUK: How long has the game been in development?
EB: We received our first Wii hardware about three months ago, but prior to that we were developing it using GameCube hardware. I'd say from a standing start to gold master has been about seven months.
GSUK: Tell us how you'll utilise the Wii controllers.
EB: Quite simply really. The game makes use of the remote, but held sideways with the D-pad on the left. Then you simply tilt it in the direction you want the level to tilt, and the mercury starts rolling. We're also supporting the classic controller in case anyone prefers to use joystick control.
GSUK: Does the shortage of processing power in comparison to the other next-gen consoles matter for you?
EB: The Wii is the first of the "new gen" machines we've worked on, so no. And anyway, you don't measure fun in megahertz. [smiles]
GSUK: Would you have preferred MMR to have been a Wii launch title?
EB: Oh, definitely. We did try, in fact, but development hardware for launch titles was pretty scarce, and we lost out.
GSUK: Will we see MMR or something similar head to other next-gen consoles in the future?
EB: We seem to have the liquid-metal-simulation-puzzle genre to ourselves at the moment, so why not?
GSUK: Do you know when MMR will be released?
EB: I believe we're aiming for a March 2007 release in Europe. I'm not sure of the US schedule at this point.
GSUK: Tell us about some of the new features in the game.
EB: We've added widescreen and 480p display support and added some great new rendering features like gloss- and bump-mapping.
GSUK: Thanks for your time.