Co-Optimus: What was your overall plan for the co-op play when development began? Did it stay the same throughout? Was it always on your mind when developing levels and agent abilities?
Matt: Yes, we planned from the beginning to support solo, cooperative, and competitive play. A project can become very expensive if goals change and new modes demand changes to the content. Also, the campaign benefited from lessons we learned from multiplayer, such as balancing weapons and abilities.
Co-Optimus: What about the co-op challenges? How did those come about and why the delay in getting those added?
Matt: We view the challenge maps as a way to explore gameplay that didn't quite fit in the flow of the campaign. They will allow the developers, map makers, and players to explore the possibility space of the game's mechanics. That includes the cooperative possibilities, so networking will be supported on all the future maps that can accommodate it.
Co-Optimus: What were some of the biggest development challenges you faced this time around as compared to Sol Survivor?
Matt: The challenges shifted from doing everything the first time to doing everything better. Every aspect of our engine, tools, workflow, and design process underwent major improvements. Most of all, the change to a first person camera (and a flying one at that) meant more demands on the visual detail. Also, pathfinding and visibility culling aren't so easy when players and enemies can traverse the entire volume of a level.
Co-Optimus: What’s been your greatest success with this game? Do you feel like future games will be easier?
Matt: If we didn't keep challenging ourselves, the we wouldn't be doing it right. Tackling such complex projects with a small team has easily been our greatest strength, and we will continue to improve our tools to craft better games that compete with projects created by much larger developers.
Co-Optimus: What’s next for Retrovirus; is there DLC or any additional content planned?
Matt: We have more free content updates in the works for Retrovirus, including the editor. Sol Survivor benefited enormously from expanded game modes and map updates, so we will continue to explore how Retrovirus can be improved.
Co-Optimus: What’s next for Cadenza Interactive as a whole?
Matt: We would like to create a set of prototypes, the best of which would become our next game, much like Double Fine's Amnesia Fortnight. Working on one game for several years leads to a backlog of many game ideas, and we improve our choice by giving the best ones a chance before committing the whole team to one project. It's exciting to be in a flexible studio that approaches each game differently.
We'd like to thank Matt for taking the time to answer our questions and look forward to their next project!