September 20, 2013 7:05 PM | Lena LeRay
Yesterday I had a chance to sit down and talk to Nigoro's Takumi Naramura about the new project Nigoro is starting. That project is La-Mulana 2. As was the case for the first La-Mulana, Nigoro intends to make difficulty a core part of the game. Based on player feedback, however, they're working to make the sequel less confusing.
La-Mulana, a 2D side-scrolling platformer, was originally released with graphics inspired by games for an old computer system. In the past couple of years Nigoro has released a remake of the game on multiple systems and in multiple regions. Naramura told me, however, that since the remake wasn't really new to their fans they now want to create a new experience for people to enjoy.
The most common feedback Nigoro has gotten regarding La-Mulana is that the game is often unclear. Players have trouble figuring out where to go or what to do. For La-Mulana 2, the developers' goal is to provide players with guidance throughout the game. To illustrate this point, Naramura showed me a little bit of gameplay, in which switches set into the floor caused obvious changes in the level -- a door opening, or a treasure chest opening. For instances in which a switch activates a change that takes place offscreen, Naramura said, the player's view would pan to the location of the change so the player doesn't have to wonder what happened where. They've been working hard to think of ways to guide the player without resorting to walls of text or a companion character stopping the flow of the action, and they plan to have the levels start out simple and gradually increase in complexity. Naramura assured me, however, that they still want the game to be difficult; they really want the player to experience a rush of gratification upon overcoming a difficult challenge within the game.
Nigoro is still in the beginning development stages. They plan to use a modified version of the La-Mulana remake's engine for the game, though they want to do things like changing the aspect ratio to be in line with the HD standard. Hopefully this will help them achieve their goal of getting the game out faster. People waited a long time for the remade La-Mulana, and they don't want their fans to have to wait so long this time around. When I asked if they anticipated it being easier to get on Steam since the first title was Greenlit, Naramura responded that he didn't know. They haven't talked to Valve yet, but if possible they want to avoid having to go through the Greenlight process again because of the time and effort involved. If possible, they'd also like to have a simultaneous cross-platform release.
Since La-Mulana 2 is still in early development, they're interested in getting input from fans of the first La-Mulana game. Can any of the existing features or systems be improved? Is there anything you'd like to see added? Let Nigoro know. If you can't think of anything, maybe you should replay the first game while you wait, which is on sale for only $3 on Steam for Windows.