You are hereExclusive: Earthworm Jim HD Interview with Anne-Joelle Casenaz
Exclusive: Earthworm Jim HD Interview with Anne-Joelle Casenaz
Hey 8th-Circuiters I'm back with another groovy interview, this time it's with the people who are taking the coolest, most bad-ass worm in the galaxy, Earthworm Jim of course, and giving him a fancy HD makeover. I loved Earthworm Jim as a kid and I cannot wait to sit down and play the new game, which I now have a rough release date for thanks to this interview.
8th-Circuit: What was it about Earthworm Jim that attracted Gameloft?
Anne-Joelle Casenaz: Earthworm Jim was a unique experience when it was released and still is by today’s standards. From the character to the level design, everything in Earthworm Jim’s universe screams originality and wackiness that still hasn’t been matched today. When is the last time you rode a hamster and used your head to whip a fridge to launch a cow? Its humorous, nonsensical tone is as fresh as ever, and we believed it could easily reach new audiences.
8th: Why choose to remake the character and the original game over creating Jim a totally new adventure?
A-JC: Basically, we wanted to recreate what we consider one of the best episodes of Earthworm Jim and one of the all-time greatest video games. It was so good that we wished to revive it for grown-up fans, and also give the opportunity to new players to discover one of the most emblematic video games in history. Aside from the graphical refresh to current standards, we did not restrict ourselves to make straight remakes. For instance, the DSiWare version includes unique features that take advantage of the inner camera and the dual screen. The HD remakes on XBLA and PSN feature exclusive new content.
8th: Earthworm Jim has a lot of fans who are in love with the original game. What are you doing to appease and surprise those fans? Similarly, what are you doing to attract new fans to the series?
A-JC: We wanted to make a game that stays very true to the original game. Almost everyone at Gameloft grew up playing on Genesis or Super NES, and Earthworm Jim was definitely one of the most beautiful and memorable games of this era. So it was not difficult for the dev team to recreate the game they used to love knowing exactly what fans liked and would expect from these remakes. With updated standards and additional content, we hope our games will surprise fans and please new players.
8th: How much has the DSi's dual screen and other unique features been implemented in the game?
A-JC: The DSiWare version, which is already available in the US and Europe, features unique facial expression-based challenges using the inner camera. In these challenges, you must mimic Jim’s face to earn bonuses. Moreover, it takes advantage of the dual screen to display a progress gauge on the bottom screen so that you know exactly how much of the current level you’ve played.
8th: With Jim also heading to Xbox Live, WiiWare and PSN, how different are these versions of the game from the DSi version?
A-JC: Since a port of the Genesis game is already available on the Wii Shop Channel, we did not think it would make sense to add a remake there. So, we decided to focus on HD versions for home consoles like Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Theses HD versions will obviously be different from the Nintendo DSi version as they will feature entirely reworked graphics to fit HD standards. But there’s more: Achievements and Trophies can be unlocked respectively in the XBLA and PSN versions. And we’re promising many exclusive features, such as brand new levels with exclusive enemies and up to 4 players in co-op multiplayer!
8th: The competition you are currently running allows gamers the chance to play Jim at a World Premiere gaming session. When exactly will Earthworm Jim be available for Live, WiiWare and PSN?
A-JC: Earthworm Jim HD will first release on XBLA in June. The PSN version will follow one month later.
8th: According to the Internet, the release date for Earthworm Jim HD was supposed to be the final quarter of '09. Was this ever a solid release date? If so, what caused the game to be delayed?
A-JC: We initially planned to release for the final quarter of ‘09, but at the last moment, we thought that we wanted to offer something more than a simple HD remake of the original game. So we decided to allow ourselves more time to extend the zany universe of Earthworm Jim HD. We worked on creating additional levels with new settings and enemies, plus a co-operative multiplayer mode.
8th: Finally, what are your plans for the future? Will Jim be getting a new adventure soon or will your attention focus elsewhere first?
A-JC: If the games are successful, we would surely consider working on a new adventure with the grooviest earthworm in the universe.
Thanks go out to Anne-Joelle and the guys at Gameloft for taking time out of their schedules to give me this interview, even though they are still hard at work on Earthworm Jim HD. Bring on June is all I can say, that and 4 player Earthworm Jim co-op. That's insane!!