Few industries change and evolve as rapidly as video games. This forces game designers to adapt if they want to be successful. One such veteran designer who is changing with the times is Jools Watsham, the Creative Director of indie studio Rengade Kid. After over 15 years in the industry, Jools has launched his first mobile game to acclaim from both fans and critics alike.
Called Totes the Goat, it’s been described as Q-Bert meets Crossy Road. To find out more about Jools Watsham’s move into the mobile space, we chatted with him about mobile gaming, his upcoming project with Renegade Kid and much more.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
We Got This Covered: Jools, you’ve been in this industry for quite some time. From your days at Iguana Entertainment to now being the Creative Director at Renegade Kid, you’ve worked on games of a variety of sizes. What is the best advice you could give to an aspiring game designer?
Jools Watsham: Much like most creative industries, the videogame industry can be a tricky one to get into. If game design is your passion, the best advice I can give is to never give up. I know that is easy to say, and doesn’t offer much of a formula for success, but it is the foundation for what can be a challenging career.
My desire for game design started when I was a kid; before I even knew what “game design” really was. I pursued game design as a hobby because it was something I enjoyed. It was something I would do even if I did not make money doing it. I think that is another important aspect. Doing something you love and never giving up are two key aspects to setting yourself up to achieve your goals.
Something I live by is “The biggest risk of all, is no risk at all.” There’s never a right time to do anything. Make the right time yourself. Be in control of your path, and steer it with positive and passionate actions. When you decide to make your move, try to make honest and solid connections with folks in the industry. Having someone else champion you can be very effective. Much more effective than tooting your own horn.
WGTC: While Renegade Kid is most well-known for developing games on Nintendo consoles and handhelds, you’ve been branching out onto other platforms such as PlayStation, iOS and PC. Do you feel like Nintendo is still a good focus, or do you feel like Renegade Kid has to diversify due to the company’s recent struggles sales-wise?
JW: Nintendo is always a good focus for me. I have always enjoyed their consoles and their games, and it is an honor to release my games on their platforms. Their level of quality is something I always aspire to. However, when it comes to making enough money to continue making games I feel as though we always have to look at what is or is not working for us and adapt. The video game industry is always changing and evolving, so developers must do the same to survive. It is always a conflict of wanting to develop what you want versus what you think might make a good financial investment. I am very excited about Nintendo’s new platform, currently known as NX, while also looking at the other current platforms such as PS4, XBONE, and mobile.
WGTC: Dementium Remastered, a game that I enjoyed my time with, and you recently said it had a “low sales performance.” How disappointing has the game been sales-wise? It seems like you would have a good set of data from Moon Chronicles as to what sales would be like.
JW: The sales of Dementium Remastered have been very low so far. Much lower than I expected. My expectations were based on how our other games have sold, and as such were already quite conservative. I am very surprised that they are lower than my conservative projections. We will still continue with releasing the game in Europe and also release Dementium II Remastered, but the sales results definitely make us pause with future development on 3DS beyond Mutant Mudds Super Challenge and Treasurenauts, which is very unfortunate. In an ideal world, I would love to continue developing games for 3DS. It is my personal favorite console to play games on, but if we can’t generate enough revenue from our games to cover the cost of 4 people with no office space, then something must change.
WGTC: Looking back, do you think a different price point or date would’ve garnered more sales? As far as eShop releases go, Dementium Remastered was one of the more hyped releases in 2015.
JW: I do wish that we were able to release the game on Halloween, but that was not possible, unfortunately. I think the price is fair for the game. We put a lot of time, effort, and financial investment into the remastering of Dementium, and as such it is a game that I am very proud of. It looks great, it plays great, and it is a unique experience for the 3DS. There are many reasons that it hasn’t sold much, but it is what it is. We must move on.
WGTC: Treasurenauts has been in development for quite some time. What has been the reason for the long development cycle? Is it just wanting to prioritize other projects, or has Treasurenauts been difficult to fully realize?
JW: The reason Treasurenauts has been delayed is due to cashflow. We must have money coming in so we can continue making games. This means that sometimes we have to reorganize our efforts in order to release a game sooner, and sometimes we take on work-for-hire, which results in the our other projects to be delayed.