SEATTLE, PAX 2013 – We spoke a bit with indie studio, Gaijin Games, at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) this weekend in Seattle, about the upcoming release of Runner 2 to iOS (and Sony’s PS Vita). Runner2, aka Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, is a side-scrolling platform game with heavy rhythm elements that’s already out on console and Steam for Mac.
The team wanted to publish Runner2 on iOS on its own, in contrast to the console versions, which were published by Aksys Games. The Bit.Trip series has been a critical and consumer success, selling well on a variety of platforms since it began with Bit.Trip Beat in 2009.
Dant Rambo of Gaijin Games was on hand to take us through the iOS version, running on an iPad in the Indie Megabooth area of the expo floor. He said that this version would have the same five worlds and as much of the content as the console or computer versions of the game as they could cram onto an Apple device.
Danny Johnson, lead designer on the iOS version of Runner2 and a level designer on the console version of the game, told us that he was going through each level, making things work better for the touchscreen controls. “Touchscreens aren’t as responsive as buttons,” he said, “so we needed to go back and rethink the whole game, level by level, to make it work for iOS.”
Things like stairs are tricky using touchscreen controls, he continued, so the team decided to make some stair areas auto-running, so that players won’t get frustrated by the intensity of tapping that must happen for these vertical features.
In addition to the same five worlds, Runner2 for iOS will have all the familiar characters that you can unlock or purchase to play through the levels with. You’ll also have the same chance to unlock challenge and retro levels in the iOS Runner2 game, using gold collected throughout each level, including levels that use the same tile-set as the first Bit.Trip Runner, which originally released in 2010. The new Runner2 game marks the first time the team is using HD graphics, so the retro style is much more marked than previously.
You can try out Runner2 now on Steam for Mac for $14.99, or you can wait a couple of months till this winter, when it should release on the iOS App Store as a universal build. There’s no word yet on pricing structure or business model, but we’ll be sure to let you know when we find out.