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For me Awesomenauts is the perfect MOBA. It's accessible, easy to pick up and fun. It takes the MOBA formula, strips it back to its best elements, tosses in humor and some great art to make a seriously addicting game. After picking it up as part of the Humble Bundle 8 I couldn't put it down. As such I wanted to talk to Ronimo about the game and know a bit more about it from behind the scenes.

As luck would have it Ronimo also just announced a new Kickstarter for the new Awesomenauts: Starstorm. The expansion looks to add 3 new classes, spectator mode, global chat, twin-stick controller support & some new music. The backer levels are pretty intense so if you are an Awesomenauts fan you need to check this out.

As follows is my q & a with Robin Meijer, a producer at Ronimo Games.

jdodson: Awesomenauts has been released for about a year now and has been received well and has a great community behind it. What does the future look like for Awesomenauts and what we can look forward to in regard to it?

Robin Meijer: The future for Awesomenauts is quite open right now – we have no shortage of cool character ideas or wishes for additional features, but how far we take all this really depends on how well the game continues to do. We have also announced a version of Awesomenauts for the Playstation 4 recently, and we definitely hope that that will grow to become a community as a large and vibrant as our current Steam community.

For now, we're just working on Admiral Swiggins, the character that was chosen by our community in our “Design-your-Awesomenauts” competition a couple of months back. There is also something else that will be making its appearance soon enough, but I really can't tell you about that right now. You'll just have to wait and see, but I think it's going to be pretty awesome!

jdodson: Awesomenauts started out on the PSN and XBox Arcade and was later ported to PC, Mac and Linux. I wonder what the tech is behind Awesomenauts that you used to port it to so many systems and how did the porting process go?

Robin Meijer: We used our in-house engine for Awesomenauts, and that allows us to be quite flexible when porting our game to other platforms. Still, it was a lot of work to get the game running smoothly on all platforms, and it was definitely a lot harder than we anticipated in advance. We developed the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and Mac versions of the game in-house. The Linux version was ported by a third party, and the Playstation 4 version is in development at another studio as well.

jdodson: You were recently part of one of the coolest recent games bundles with The Humble Bundle 8. How was it for you in terms of getting new fans for the game and more exposure?  Would you do it again with another Ronimo game?

Robin Meijer: Being part of Humble Bundle 8 was quite amazing – I think more than 400,000 copies of the bundle were distributed and a lot of those people have logged into game. Many of them probably just played the tutorial or a practice match and never ventured online, but we still did see an increase in the number of active players in the longer term. Growing our community was the most important reason for participating in the Bundle, so I'm pretty happy we succeeded in that regard.

jdodson: Many MOBA games are free to play or at some point after launch switched to that model. Is this something you have considered for Awesomenauts?

Robin Meijer: We did consider it, but we felt like Awesomenauts in its current form just makes a lot of sense as a $9.99 purchase, and it wouldn't make any sense to have the game available as a free-to-play title on PC if it was sold as a $10 purchase on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. Switching to Free-to-play further down the life cycle could always be an option I guess, but we have absolutely no intention of doing that right now – the game is doing great as it is.

jdodson: Do you think Gnaw could eat an entire planet if he were motivated to do it? Would covering the planet in BBQ sauce help? Along that note but somewhat unrelated, Skroggle are Omnivores but I am curious if they could be Vegan?

Robin Meijer: A Skroggle could be vegan if all there was to eat were plants, but normally they really eat pretty much anything. The question of whether something was once part of a living being doesn't really come into the equation.

Gnaw would probably be able to eat an entire planet if given enough time, but as he regularly points out during the game: “Gnaw needs to poop.” Eating an entire planet would leave a planet-sized pile of poop, so that technically doesn't remove the planet. Covering the planet in BBQ sauce first just means you end up with a slightly more gooey digested planet.

jdodson: Recently patch 1.21 dropped and it seems to be well received by players. Are there any areas of character or map balance that you are looking at now that people have been asking for?

Robin Meijer: Update 1.21 was an update that didn't include any new characters, so we had a lot of time to really look at where the game stood at that point and make some changes to steer it in a better direction. The next update will bring Admiral Swiggins, so we're focused on getting the balance right for him.

jdodson: Who would win the following matchups and why?

  • Lonestar VS Lone Wolf McQuade?


Robin Meijer: That one would probably go to Lone Wolf McQuade. Even though Lonestar is a genetically engineered cowboy that wrangled an entire race of Bovinians, Lone Wolf McQuade is still in fact Chuck Norris. So yeah, McQuade wins.

  • The Terminator (Model 101) VS Gnaw?


Robin Meijer: Gnaw would win that one hands down. The Terminator is built to kill human resistance members, while the Skroggles pretty much just eat everything that moves. The fact that the Terminator is made of metal beneath his layer of skin does mean that Gnaw has to chew a bit more to eat him, but he'll get the job done eventually. Then he'll eat the humans that the Terminator was hunting.

  • Voltar VS Krang?


Robin Meijer: This would be a really interesting match-up, and could go either way. The two of them can't really do anything to each other without help from their machines, and if those come into play then Krang would probably win if he gets a good hit in. Voltar is quite fast though and he can float around, while his droids fire away at Krang. It really could go either way, but I'd put my money on Voltar... he is the brain of the operation, after all.

jdodson: I have recently seen a few Ronimo developers mention super secret projects in the works and I am wondering if you can give us a bit of taste of what some of this may be? Awesomenauts 2 perhaps?

Robin Meijer: I'm afraid that I can't give you any details about what our super secret project is, but that'll become apparent soon enough. It's not a sequel to Awesomenauts though – we still have way too much stuff that we want to do with the current version before we start thinking about a sequel.

jdodson: I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with me today, is there anything you’d like to say before we wrap things up?

Robin Meijer: No problem, and if there's anything I'd like to add is that it's that Admiral Swiggins, a character that has been thought up and designed by our community, will probably be launching some time next week. We're still working on balancing him and fixing a couple of bugs, but things are looking good and I think we'll be ready next week. Of course, just like all the other characters that we've released until now, Admiral Swiggins will be available for free once he launches!

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