Late last year, Costa Rican indie developer Green Lava Studios announced that they were changing the name of their breakout hit platformer Fenix Rage ahead of its console release. This wasn’t a conscious rebranding effort, rather the studio had been hit with a cease and desist letter concerning the trademark for the term RAGE.
Now under the new name of Fenix Furia, the masocore platformer is being tweaked for its upcoming console release. To celebrate, We Got This Covered recently talked to Green Lava Studios’ Eduardo Ramírez about his upcoming title. We spoke about recent legal issues, what’s new in the console version and much much more.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
We Got This Covered: Did the legal issues regarding the trademark of RAGE come out of nowhere? Were you surprised that what wasn’t an issue in 2014, when Fenix Rage originally launched, was suddenly an issue a year later?
Eduardo Ramírez: We were very shocked about this since we received the cease and desist letter on June 2015, way after Fenix Rage’s launch on Steam in September 2014. We didn’t know about this issue back then so yes, it came out from nowhere.
WGTC: Do you feel like the game has lost some recognition due to the name change? Fenix Rage had a positive reception on PC, and good word of mouth, so it seems like quite the setback having to rebrand. Are there any positives to the change?
ER: We still don’t know at this point and I hope not! But it is a fact that all our efforts to make “Fenix Rage” stand out for a console launch are gone now. The positives only depends on our attitude along the way with the new name – Fenix Furia – while we tackle this obstacle; nothing has been decided yet so we still have confidence as we move forward to console launch.
WGTC: One of the new features is a two-player mode. Is this mainly for competitive play, and does it have any gameplay repercussions? For example, can two characters inhabit the same space?
ER: The gameplay remains the same since the characters can’t hit each other; if we look carefully at the trailer the other character will remain as a ghost to the other character. Both players will feel the same freedom in the level, but this time with a competitive pressure of racing to the portal exit!
WGTC: You’ve added an Easy Mode in Fenix Furia. Was this a decision to make the game more accessible, and reach a larger audience? Do you think more games should account for this, especially in the masocore genre?
ER: Easy Mode was an added feature as it was recommended by fans; we read a lot of comments asking for extra lives during gameplay. So there you go, it is easier to complete a level now, but if you play in Easy Mode you won’t be able to get the time record star; you need the star to unlock the mini games. If Easy Mode gets more players into the game, then I think that would be fantastic. Games should account for this only if the fan base ask for it – if they are happy with their masocore game, then it is ok to leave it like that.
WGTC: Speaking of difficulty, how hard was it for Green Lava Studios to make sure that the game struck a balance of being challenging, but never unfair? That seems essential in getting players to keep coming back, instead of stepping away after they get frustrated.
ER: It is hard since our approach is to look at players’ behaviors. We normally do live test plays in random places with random strangers in Costa Rica, just to see their honest reaction to the game. After launching on Steam, YouTube helped us a lot to get that feedback in a more specific way. For example, some players record themselves playing with their cameras pointing to their face. This helped us to *awkwardly* look directly at their faces for long periods of time, things that are not possible in a live play test (unless you have your own FBI custody room).