Nintendo Life: How has it felt to see a co-op game do so well received at a time when gamers might be more invested in single player games?
Josef Fares, Hazelight Studios: It’s been really nice. From my start in this business, with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, I have always followed my heart and what I believe. I would always say just trust your instincts and go with it; my games are written from the ground up as a cooperative game, it’s not a drop-in, drop-out experience. There are always people who will say, “Can you really do this, will people want to play this?” and obviously these games are something people want to play. A Way Out and It Takes Two have both done incredibly well. These are also games that I personally want to play. When I came up with A Way Out, it was something that I wanted to play with my friend, and there were no games like that out there.
So I would boil it down to believing in your own vision and not caring whether people will like it or not; I think it is important.
[the game has] become almost a kind of test for relationships!
You can definitely tell that It Takes Two has been created with passion and creativity. I played the game back in 2021 with my wife who was about eight months pregnant at the time; she’s not a gamer, but she absolutely loved it!
Prices: That’s great, how was the communication between you? Are you still together now?
Oh yeah, we’re good, we made it through!
Prices: That’s good to hear, it’s almost become a test of sorts for relationships!
Definitely. So just to touch on the creativity of the game, as someone who grew up with Nintendo games, It Takes Two feels very much like a Nintendo game in the best possible way; would you agree with that?
Prices: Oh yeah, it’s in many ways a love letter to Nintendo. I love the approach Nintendo has to game design, it’s super inspiring to me. I’m a huge Nintendo fan and have been since the NES; I’ve owned every console, played almost every game, Mario, Zelda, Pikmin, you name it. It’s definitely inspired [by] Nintendo, for sure. There are obvious Easter eggs and achievements in It Takes Two that clearly nod to Nintendo.
With Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, that game came to Switch in 2019 with co-op play added. Was this the decision to bring It Takes Two to Switch as well?
Scott Cromie, Turn Me Up Games: Yes, I would say it affected our quest to work with Josef and Hazelight again. When It Takes Two came out, it was clear to us that it was a natural fit and based on our expertise and track record on the platform, we had to do this. If we don’t do it, someone else will, and I don’t know if they would do it as well as we can.
If we don’t do it, someone else will, and I don’t know if they would do it as well as we can.
How do you determine the viability of a Switch port? It Takes Two is a beautiful game, so is there any kind of hesitation to bring it to the Switch?
Cromie: Our goal is always to exceed fans’ expectations, especially with a GOTY title like It Takes Two. When we signed on to do the project, it wasn’t a GOTY title, so the stakes were raised pretty quickly. But for us, thankfully, we are in a position to strategically decide which projects we want to pursue; we want our team to be excited and inspired by whatever title we decide to bring to Switch and It Takes Two has that in spades. We absolutely loved working on it, it’s a good fit for the platform, and those are the things we look for in a project, we always like to think ‘what can we do that no one else can, and what will the fans do’ we appreciate that we do?”
Is there anything specific that has been included or changed with this port of the game?
Louis Polak, Turn Me Up Games: I think players will find the controls very familiar to the original game; Considering it’s a GOTY winner, we didn’t want to tweak too much, we wanted to stay true to the original design. We did some UI scaling for handheld mode to account for the smaller screen, we’ve added touchscreen implementation for the menus, and we’ve obviously included local wireless playback, Switch to Switch. We’ve also added new voiceover languages, including Japanese, Spanish, French and German; it’s all new stuff for the Switch.
We did some UI scaling for handheld mode to account for the smaller screen, we added touchscreen implementation for the menus
Brilliant! Were there any major challenges in bringing the game to Switch?
Cromie: I’d say it’s the typical challenges related to most bigger, beautiful games like It Takes Two that were never really meant for Switch – there are these incredible environments you go through pretty quickly – so yeah, it’s going to have to a lot of work to ensure we consistently hit that 30FPS and that it looks good in 1080p docked or 720p handheld.
But I think overall it’s the expectations of the players; there are high expectations when it comes to bringing a product like this to the Switch. There are about 111 million units of the platform sold, so that’s a large player base, some of whom are already fans of the title and others who may not have played it before. So there are a lot of expectations, but I’m confident that we’ve exceeded them.
Prices: Yeah, let me just say that I think this port looks really nice. Of all the third-party ports I’ve seen, this one looks really nice. I was surprised myself, considering the hardware is pretty old now, I was surprised that it looks and works really well. There are big challenges to make it happen.
We’re really looking forward to checking it out! So to wrap things up, are there any Switch games you’re playing at the moment, or anything you’re looking forward to?
Prices: I’ll be playing Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope and probably getting into Bayonetta 3 a bit. Sometimes the only problem I have with action games is that there are a lot of button combinations to get used to, so hopefully that has been simplified a bit for the newbie. But yeah, definitely those two.
Cromie: It takes two! I know it’s the cliche answer but I can say we’ve been playing a lot of it throughout the studio. That and a few other projects we’re excited about that will be announced at some point in the future. We tend to target games that we ourselves want to play on Switch and It Takes Two was at the top of that list.
Poles: Yes, I was just going to echo what Scott said; I haven’t had the chance to play this game with my wife yet though, so I’d love to show her what we’ve all been working on.
Prices: Testing your relationship there, Louis!
Poles: Yes exactly! So yeah, I’m just excited for this game to come out soon.
Thanks so much for talking to us today and good luck with the launch!
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Thanks to Josef Fares, Louis Polak, Scott Cromie and everyone at Hazelight Studios and Turn Me Up Games. It takes two launches on Switch on November 4th.
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