The Otterman Empire is due to hit Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch in early 2020, allowing us the opportunity to grab an otter, fire up a jetpack and embark on an epic local multiplayer blast-fest – and yes, you did read that right. Having previously had a bit of hands-on time with an early version of the game at PLAY Expo Manchester in 2017, we just had to find out more about what Tri-Heart Interactive had to offer. Thankfully, their founder and managing director – Kieran Rogers – agreed to sit down for a chat…
Hi, please introduce yourself. What has been your role in the development of The Otterman Empire?
Hi, my name is Kieran Rogers and I am the managing director and founder of Tri-Heart Interactive. My role in the development of The Otterman Empire is primarily creative direction, production and marketing. I also led the level design for the game during its development!
Have you worked on any other games previously?
As an individual developer, no. I started Tri-Heart Interactive shortly after graduating university. As a game studio, we have previously worked on a co-development title called TerraWurm.
So, sell it to us. What is The Otterman Empire about?
The Otterman Empire is a fast action party shooter! You must gear up, strap on your jetpack and travel across the galaxy in havoc causing, party game mayhem! With rapidly changing game modes, 8 customisable characters and game changing hazards, no round of The Otterman Empire will ever be the same!
We had some hands-on with The Otterman Empire back at Play Expo Manchester 2017. How have things changed since then?
The game is unrecognisable compared to what it looked like in 2017! We rebuilt the game in January 2018 and that was the beginning of what the game looks like today. We now have a three round match structure, a host of objectives, 6 more characters than you will have seen at Play Expo 2017 and 7 new maps to play in! Don’t forget about the single player campaign as well!
And what has happened in terms of marketing the game since the Expo? Has it been presented anywhere else, or have you been focusing firmly on development?
We have focused primarily on development while showcasing it at our own Manchester Gamers Unite events. We showed it off at our indie zone during Digital Kids but apart from that we have been keeping things pretty tight to our community. Our main focus has been testing it through them, getting teams of our community into our office to playtest the game throughout development.
We understand that The Otterman Empire is being community driven. What exactly does that entail, and how has that process been for you as a development team?
It has been a great process of development, test and repeat. It has helped us build a team and community around us that know us and the games we create, it allows us to reach outside of our echo chamber and get a different perspective on our game than we are used to. Because you become so close to the product you are making, you can lose sight of the good, the bad and the ugly. Bouncing the game around our community has given use plenty of new opinions and impressions that have impacted the games development.
How has the game evolved from otters refuelling at water points that were in the early builds?
It is definitely still in there! You refuel by swimming in the many rivers around the levels, allowing you to get in and out of battle pretty swiftly.
Local multiplayer seems to be a main focus, but are there plans for online offerings?
At the moment, local multiplayer and single player content is our main focus. We would love to see what the opportunities are for The Otterman Empire online in the future, but there are no official plans as of now.
And in terms of game modes, how does The Otterman Empire sit for the solo player?
Our single player campaign is a playground for the objectives you’ll face in the multiplayer. You’ll be tasked with building your team and saving the Empire as you go head to head against Tiko, our menacing otter who doesn’t give a dam! Take on Tiko’s Tech across the entire galaxy and see what he has in store for you as he tests your skills in traversal and combat, definitely keeping you on your toes.
Can you elaborate on some of the other modes that will feature in the final game?
Our game is split into two modes, a single and two player co-operative campaign and a party mode for fast action rounds and quick switching objectives. Featured in each are 8 game modes, or objectives as we like to call them, that test the players skills and abilities, from detonating an objective about keeping control of an explosive device to bombardment, an objective that pits players against each other in a race to take down enemy drop ships. No round of The Otterman Empire is the same!
With the game gearing up to release in early 2020, we guess you’ve had some time to consider the Xbox achievements system. What plans do you have for Gamerscore hunters? Will it be a case of simple easy-to-pickup cheevos, or should we expect more taxing ones?
We have a little mix in there! We have a few easy to pick up cheevos that reward you for improving your skills but don’t worry, you will definitely come across ones that you will have to work hard for!
Finally, if there is one tip a gamer new to Otterman Empire should know, what advice would you give?
Master that jetpack. It’s a powerful tool against Tiko or your friends, if you can master the jetpack then no one can stop you.
And finally, finally, what came first? The puntastic name or the actual game idea?
We get this a lot! Surprisingly it was the game idea, The Otterman Empire originally started as a non-violent paintball party game but it quickly adopted the pun after I had spent the night watching a documentary on the ottoman empire.
Thank you for the opportunity, I really appreciated your questions!
Massive thanks go out to Kieran for taking the time out in the build up to launch of The Otterman Empire on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. We’ll be sure to let you know the minute the game arrives on the Xbox Store, but with an ‘early 2020’ launch promised, chances are we won’t have to wait too much longer to grab those otters and those jetpacks!
If you wish to keep fully updated with the progress being made with The Otterman Empire, make sure you hit up the Tri-Heart Interactive team on Twitter.