Technical wizards Shin’en certainly impressed many with their latest effort FAST Racing NEO on the Wii U. Nintendo Germany recently caught up with Martin Sauter, the studio’s art director, and fed him some community based questions. In the wide ranging interview Sauter discusses its past as well as what the future holds for the acclaimed developer.
Q: How long has Shin’en Games been around? What was the first project?
A: Shin’en has been around since 1998. Initially, they were developing a sound engine for consoles which allowed you to play music – at the time, this was quite an advanced piece of technology. Shin’en was also composing music for around 200 games, including big titles such as Tomb Raider. Later on, Shin’en started developing games themselves, starting with games for Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance such as Iridion 3D and Maya the Bee, Nano Assault for 3DS, Art of Balance and now FAST Racing Neo for Wii U.
Q: How long was the development time for the game?
A: Around 2 years, which makes it the biggest project we ever did, but it was worth it.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration for the tracks? Are you looking at other games or real landscapes and environments?
A: An excellent question that basically already included the answer. We’re looking at photos of landscapes online and science fiction movies and ask ourselves “Hey, couldn’t we include this in our game?”. It could be anything from landscapes to scenes in movies or other games – “Hey, this looks cool, let’s do that too!”
Q: Why did you choose the Wii U as the platform for FAST Racing Neo?
A: We’ve been Nintendo developers for so long, we’re obviously Nintendo fanboys, we’ve grown up with these consoles, and we’ve got a great relationship with Nintendo. We believe that Nintendo games are so well designed – it’s an inspiration for ourselves to try to live up to and achieve that standard of quality with our games. The market situation also works out for us – our games work well on Nintendo consoles. We’re glad to be developing for Nintendo games and we hope to continue to do so in the future.
Q: You’ve done shoot’em ups, platformers, puzzles games and racing games – what genre will you tackle next?
A: I can’t answer that question at the moment. We actually don’t know that yet ourselves. We’re always working on prototypes from different kinds of genres. We just did a racing game, so it’s definitely possible that we’ll go into a different with our next game.
Q: Will you continue to focus on Nintendo platforms in the future?
A: Yes. We’re proud to be working with Nintendo and that they’ve supported us with the new Nintendo Selects program. It benefits us and we hope that it benefits Nintendo as well. We’re happy to be working with Nintendo and to have the opportunity to make great games.