Partnerships in Space

Affordable Space Adventures, a new sidescrolling stealth-puzzle game, which has been developed as a partnership between Danish KnapNok Games and Swedish one-man developer Nifflas Games, is now out on the Wii U. 

 

When you enter the big apartment that houses Danish game developers Knapnok Games, the first thing that greets you is the company’s game room. It holds a couch, some consoles and a big flatscreen tv. And it is in this game room that the idea for Affordable Space Adventures took its first steps.

“We were playing games one night, and, as it often happens when you’re playing with game developers, ideas start to form,” KnapNok Creative Director Lau Korsgaard explains, “The original idea was to make a game that encourages interaction between the people playing it, rather than them just interacting with the screen.”

At this point, Nifflas’ Games, also known as Nicklas Nygren, had been a frequent visitor to the KnapNok’s offices in Pilestræde in Copenhagen, and so the idea to move him into the office permanently was pretty obvious.

 

Rather than enlisting Nicklas Nygren as a freelancer or hiring him into the company, KnapNok and Nifflas’ formed a partnership for the development of Affordable Space Adventures. An unconventional, but pretty straightforward decision, Lau Korsgaard explains:

The team behind Affordable Space Adventures, KnapNok Games and Nifflas' Games (the bearded guy in the middle)

The team behind Affordable Space Adventures, KnapNok Games and Nifflas’ Games (the bearded guy in the middle)

“Nicklas was used to doing everything himself. Sound, artwork, level design, everything. So rather than hiring him to be a part of the team, we built a team around him,” Lau says.

And that decision is one of the two pieces of things that KnapNok and Nifflas learned from the experience of developing games as partners: move in together. The other advice is to get your agreements straight from the beginning. Who publishes the game, what happens with royalties, who pays for the PEGI-rating, that sort of thing. And according to Lau, you should also prepare for a clash of working modes:

“Our way of working is very different from Nicklas’. We usually start by developing all elements to around 30 % and then build from there. Nicklas’ way is very different. He does everything 100 %, from artwork to level design. So there were some challenges with regards to merging those two ways of working in the beginning,” Lau explains.

 

Affordable Space Adventures is a sidescrolling stealth-puzzle game set in outer space, and it was released as a download title exclusive to Nintendo’s Wii U on the 9th of April. And though he is cautious when it comes to predicting sales figures, Lau Korsgaard has a good feeling about the future of the game.

“I hope that it sells better than our previous game,” Lau says, “Affordable Space Adventures is a game with a much broader appeal and we have a good relationship with Nintendo, which, we hope, will help us to get featured in the Nintendo Store.”

And just that – having a good relationship with the gatekeepers of the release platforms – is key to a successful release, Lau Korsgaard says.

“So many games are released in the stores every day. Your game might be really good, but if you don’t get any attention to it, it won’t sell,” – Lau Korsgaard, KnapNok Games.

Affordable Space Adventures was released on the Wii U on the 9th of April and has so far received great reviews from Destructoid among others, who wrote that the game is “exactly what the system was designed for and the result is a unique breath of fresh air that might actually force people to hold that breath in certain situations.” The game’s current metascore is an impressive 83.

 

Authors
Bo Nørgaard

Gamer, metalhead and journalist, not always in that order. Bo started gaming when he was eight and has been following the gaming industry since.

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