Hardlight Studio‘s Chris Southall and James Booth both took the time out to give us a short interview about their newly released mobile game, Sonic Dash. The addictive score based game has been draining the battery on our phones here at SEGAbits, so naturally we had burning questions that needed answering!
SEGAbits: Can you explain what a typical day at work is like for you?
Hardlight: From the perspective of a QA Tester, during Sonic Dash, a typical day usually starts off in a potential panic. With both SOE testing the game through the night and SOA getting stuck in too, our QA team tends to be quite busy in the morning with all the latest bug reports from those teams. After going through those and assigning them out to fix, we then get started on implementing some features of the game. These features are usually passed around a few times from the art team, to the programmers to the designers, getting more polished and refined along the way before finding themselves into the game. With mobile development, it is a lot quicker to get features into the game, so every day we can see the game progressing.
“…there’s a lot of love for a range of Sonic Universe characters in the studio”
Does Hardlight work with Sonic Team in any capacity?
Yes, in all aspects of sign off about any Sonic content we check with Sonic Team, we’re also talking with Sonic Team all the time about suggestions or ways to implement things in the game design – it’s their IP!
What are the differences between developing a game on the iOS and Android platforms?Which one is easier?
There’s a very large range of devices out there running Android, with all sorts of resolutions / memory & graphics hardware, so it can be time consuming to support, especially figuring out ways to not work to the lowest common denominator whilst still supporting lower end devices.
Are there plans for more areas in future updates?
Definitely, although we can’t go into specifics at this stage
How is a decision reached on the character roster in a Sonic title?
It’s pretty simple – there’s lots of arguments basically. Past the most essential choices (Sonic, Knuckles, Amy), there’s a lot of love for a range of Sonic Universe characters in the Studio – ultimately we look at what fans are asking for from previous titles, what we feel will map well to the game & finally, where we have the data, we look at how much characters are played in more recent titles to gauge where we should spend our effort.
Is there any other SEGA IPs that the team would want to work on and why?
There’s lots of choices – I think it’s ok to say there’s a couple of IPs we are looking at right now.
So far both of your recent games have been mobile, is there any plans on doing any console titles?
Really Hardlight switched from being a console/tech support team about 10 months ago, so rather than thinking console, the aspirations in the game designs coming up are to build on the experience we got so far building for mobile & going way past that next time. It’s fair to say we were not amazed when people used words like derivative in places for Sonic Jump & Dash, and whilst we’re pretty happy with the quality in what we put out so far, I’m confident we can surprise & delight people in more ways next time out!
Before the announcement of Sonic Jump or Sonic Dash, your team had a job listing for a PlayStation Vita game. Is that project still in development? Might it ever see the light of day, if not on Vita then on iOS and Android?
Good question. Yes, we’d done a fair bit of work on something really original and really interesting – it didn’t quite map to SEGA’s shift in focus for us over to mobile/handheld in early 2012, but it was looking really good & so we are thinking on bringing that back in some form somewhere later, yes.
Will you guys still be updating and supporting Sonic Jump?
Absolutely – we are quite a small studio (from the standpoint of an international internal publisher at least), and got pretty stretched finishing on Dash, but we will be supporting both titles with updates in the future, in addition to starting up on other stuff…
I want to thank everyone at Hardlight Studios, especially Chris Southall and James Booth for doing the interview. You can follow Hardlight Studios on their Twitter or Facebook to get the latest news on Sonic Jump or Sonic Dash updates. Sonic Dash is available now on iTunes and is coming soon to Android.