Gameluster's J.J. Evangelista had an opportunity to speak with Tim Remmers about Team Reptile, Megabyte Punch, and their upcoming game, Lethal League.
J.J. Evangelista: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview! My name is J.J. Evangelista, and I represent Gameluster.com. Can I please have your name, and what you do for Reptile Games?
Tim Remmers: Thanks for having this interview with me. My name is Tim Remmers and I am the creative director and co-founder of Reptile.
J.J. Evangelista: What made you decide to get into this industry?
Tim Remmers: I realized I wanted to create games when I was studying media studies at the University of Amsterdam. A part of the study was dedicated to games ( as a ‘new’ medium ). During the courses I realized that I didn’t want to do research into games as a medium but I wanted to create the medium itself. I had this romantic image in my head of the game industry back than, I wanted to bring people into the world I created for them on the screen, I wanted to work in a big Hollywood budget game studio, I wanted to create the new Mario character! I was pretty young and naive so I quit university and applied for an art school that promised to turn you into a game developer. I’m not sure if it was the right step but it was my first step heading towards the game industry.
J.J. Evangelista: Can you tell me a bit about how Reptile Games was created, and the choice behind using the name Reptile?
Tim Remmers: Reptile was informally formed during my graduation year at the art school. Dion (co-founder) was working on the very first prototypes of Megabyte Punch and I offered my help for building the parts for Megabyte Punch. During the 4 years in art school we never actually worked together, not sure why though? It worked out really well. We decided to make Megabyte Punch our full time project after graduating and we did that under the flag of Reptile. Why Reptile? Because it sounds cool, no fancy story about it. Reptile Games is only the formal company name by the way. We prefer using Reptile or Team Reptile.
J.J. Evangelista: What is an average day at Team Reptile like?
Tim Remmers: For an average day we enter the office at 9:30, we make cool stuff, we listen to music, we eat noodles, we laugh and make stupid jokes, we cry and rage, we smash balls at each other with bats and we do other professional things. When work is done (most of the time pretty late), we head back home.
J.J. Evangelista: What inspires you, and your team, to create video games?
Tim Remmers: We love to entertain people and games are the medium we prefer to use, to share our entertainment with the world. The responses we receive from the players inspire us to create more, and better, games.
J.J. Evangelista: Can you give a brief overview of the process your team uses to create your games?
Tim Remmers: I think it’s pretty straightforward. We come up with an idea (most of the time during the development of something else), we test the idea with a simple prototype, if it’s cool we make a more advanced prototype, and share it with people to see what they think. When it’s still fun and it oozes with potential the next step is to set up the project for the full game. When everything is settled we are ready to start the actual development.
J.J. Evangelista: Megabyte Punch is a fast, unique, and kinetic platforming game. How did you come up with the idea?
Tim Remmers: The initial idea was to create a Super Smash Bros. kind of fighting game with the ability to equip different body parts for unique abilities. The whole platformer adventure kind of levels snuck in later. We didn’t want to create a platformer but a fighting/brawler game. However, we needed to find a way to reward the player with new parts. Exploration is a great way to reward people, so we added randomly generated stages with hidden crates containing new parts. This wasn’t that much fun at all. So, by adding some sort of a story, boss fights, battle rooms, and more unique level design, the adventure mode eventually evolved into a full fledged platformer. To be honest it felt like we made two separate games.
J.J. Evangelista: Are there any plans to expand on the Megabyte Punch universe, in future games?
Tim Remmers: We have a lot of ideas but no specific plans.
J.J. Evangelista: Is there anything you can you tell me about the upcoming Lethal League game, like how many playable characters will be in the final roster, which platform will it be available for, and is there a set release date?
Tim Remmers: We didn’t share an exact release date yet, but you can expect it early Q3 though. We will release it for PC (Steam) only. Depending on the revenue it generates we are looking into possibilities of porting the game to consoles. Playstation is one of our top candidates. With the release we are aiming for 5 playable characters. The idea is to add more characters after the release.
J.J. Evangelista: How did Reptile Games come up with the idea for Lethal League?
Tim Remmers: The idea for Lethal League emerged while playtesting Megabyte Punch. Dion and I were testing the ability to deflect missiles with your shield. The key was to have your timing correct, if you were a tad too late or early you would be hit by the missile. This resulted in us brawling around the stage only using our shield to deflect each others missile. Since we had quite some fun doing so we thought we should turn this little concept into a simple prototype. The prototype was fun thus we went on and created the prototype version that you can currently play on our website. Very rapidly the prototype was picked up by several gamers and had it’s peak during the UFGT9. It was then that we decided that this would be our game after Megabyte Punch.
J.J. Evangelista: Will there be a customization element to Lethal League, like there was in Megabyte Punch?
Tim Remmers: No, in Lethal League we are approaching the characters in a more traditional fighting game way. The only customization element there is changing your color palette like in Megabyte Punch.
J.J. Evangelista: What advice would you give for anyone trying to break into the game industry, or create their own game?
Tim Remmers: If you want to create your own game, get your resources set up, gather some people (or do it alone) and start developing a game. You will probably mess up the first time but that’s okay, most likely you will also mess up your second game but you learn massive amounts of new things when you actually try to develop a game. To break into the industry, the first step is to create great games that you fully support. I wouldn’t advice following the crowd (Don’t aim to create the next Minecraft for example) but create a game you would actually like the create. If you've finally crafted some games you are proud of and you can sell them in a digital store, you've broken into the industry I guess?
J.J. Evangelista: Do you have any advice for anyone interested in writing for games?
Tim Remmers: Try to get in touch with developers as much as possible, especially indies are --most of the time-- really open about their development. There are always some interesting stories there. Also I personally like to read game articles that are written from a personal and honest point of view instead of writing what everyone else already wrote.
J.J. Evangelista: What do you foresee for the future of Reptile Games?
Tim Remmers: I think life would be boring if you were able to foresee the future of things. So I’m glad I can’t foresee what will happen. Our main goal though is to be able to continue creating our own games. It will be great if we can afford to expand the team to increase the overall quality of our games.
J.J. Evangelista: I really appreciate you taking the time for this interview. I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future! Thank you very much.
Tim Remmers: The pleasure was mine.