Exclusive Interview: Thomas Hopper Talks Factotum 90


Late last week, indie developer TACS Games announced that they were bringing their Wii U hit Factotum to Xbox One under the name of Factotum 90. While it isn’t uncommon to see a game undergo a name change when switching platforms, we were surprised to find out that Factotum 90 wasn’t just a port. Instead of letting Xbox One owners have the same experience as gamers had on the Wii U in 2015, they will be treated to a remake sporting a new art style, gameplay tweaks, and upgraded graphics.

With Factotum 90 set to launch in January 2016, we contacted the man behind the project, Thomas Hopper, and talked to him about game development. Thomas shared some of the lessons he has learned in the past year, talked about his goals as a creator, and what’s new in his first Xbox One game.

Check it out below, and enjoy!

We Got This Covered: You’ve put out a myriad of games over the past few years on platforms such as PlayStation Mobile, Xbox Live Indie Games, and more recently Wii U. What made you want to get into game development, and what are your goals as a creator?

Thomas Hopper: I’ve been making games as long as I can remember. It just used to take years to finish anything when I had a full time job. A few years ago I found myself without a job and decided it was the right time to make games my focus. I want to make games that wouldn’t otherwise get made. I like games that don’t fall neatly into existing genres.

WGTC: Over the past year, you’ve released two titles, Factotum and Quadcopter Pilot Challenge, on Nintendo Wii U. What lessons have you learned as a developer in the last 12 months?

TH: 1) No two analogue sticks are the same.

2) People aren’t quite as keen on the color green as the 1986 census records would lead you to believe.

3) Making a game with real Achievements for the first time makes you feel like a god.

WGTC: Developers seem to have more platforms to publish their games on than ever before. What made you choose Xbox One?

TH: I wanted to bring Factotum to next gen consoles and Xbox One seemed like an obvious choice, but also Microsoft made it easy for me to get on board. The [email protected] program is a boon to independent developers like me. Getting access to development hardware and support can be a big hurdle to indies.

WGTC: How has the feedback from Factotum helped make Factotum 90 a better game?

TH: There was a lot of feedback and it has helped inform F90 in so many ways. I’ve made tweaks to things like the speed of the robots, the field of view of each camera, draw distances, audio levels, etc. The walkers can now move quicker when you want, to help improve the pacing of the game. There has also been changes to many of the missions to help improve the game flow.

WGTC: On Wii U, Factotum made great use of the GamePad. Do you feel like Factotum 90 loses anything from not having a second-screen experience?

TH: It’s certainly a very different game now. Just pulling the cameras back and increasing the draw distance made the game feel less claustrophobic. With F90‘s increased pace and energetic soundtrack, it’s a less stressful experience. I’ll always love the green scan-line visuals of the original, but F90 is more visually diverse and appealing.