Daniel Pellicer – The Switch Island Interview
An interview with Daniel Pellicer, Lead Developer and Composer From Mad Gear Games.
The year is 2019, the world of technology and home media marches forward at an exponential rate, and streaming, like a diabolical Disney villain, looks poised to take full control of the entertainment world. And yet here we are with the soundtrack to A Hole New World being released on a physical NES cartridge.
‘Glory glory hallelujah’ I cried whilst desperately smashing the refresh key to ensure I snagged this relic of a time long past, and yet a clear sign of the blooming collectors community that has flourished around Nintendo and the phenomenon of limited releasing in recent times.
A Hole New World is a charming 8-bit style platformer clearly inspired by simpler times. Times filled with brave warriors in search of treasure and an even braver plumber gallantly fighting his way through kingdoms to save a princess in need. Mythical demons and evil lords stand before you on a epic quest to restore peace to the world. And what sets A Hole New World apart from many similar titles of its ilk is a frankly incredible soundtrack.
The mastermind behind this incredible retro medley is Daniel Pellicer, the lead developer and composer for Mad Gear Games. Hailing from Spain, this small team describes themselves as lovers of video games both old and new. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to sit down with Daniel and talk about his work with Mad Gear Games and his passion for composing.
Q: Hi Daniel, welcome to Switch Island, I hope you had a safe journey over to talk with me today. Could you possibly start by telling us a bit about yourself and your history with Mad Gear Games.
A: Hi! It’s a pleasure to be here! Well, it all started with the original composer for Mad Gear Games having some problems with his PC. I asked JJ if I could help a bit, and I started working in some themes for a project we ended up cancelling called Ninja Trials. After that we did a jam and we decide to do a game in NES style that would be something similar to Megaman. I already knew famitracker and I had use it a bit before, but never in a real project. It’s a program that emulates the NES sound chip and it would fit perfectly with the thing we were preparing so I started composing with it.
Q: Had you already decided on the Nintendo Switch as a platform at the time of starting the kickstarter considering the titles clear link with the Nintendo Entertainment System’s heritage?
A: I think the Nintendo Switch version was not even out! We did the Kickstarter in 2015. Our original idea was to release on Wii U. We eventually decided to change the objective and finally released for Switch.
Q: A lot of developers state pleasing results once their titles have released on the Nintendo Switch. Has A Hole New World matched your sales expectations on the platform?
A: Indeed, we sold much more copies on Switch than in other platforms.
Q: The soundtrack for the game is fantastic, how long have you been interested in composing?
A: I studied music in university and I started out playing clarinet. After having to learn a bit piano as a side instrument I started to invest more and more time on it. Then I started doing small pieces for the piano. Much later I met a guy who used to do electronic music (BrunoXe) and I was really intrigued about how he did it, so I started asking questions and we talked about composition and stuff like that. After some time I decided to do electronic music myself but with video games in the back of my head. My first “big” project was to do the soundtrack for an imaginary RPG. Then I started doing music for free for very small indie projects and after that I ended up in Mad Gear, first doing music and later programming too.
Q: I Have to ask, what are your all time favourite video game soundtracks?
A: Probably lots of composers would cite one of these, sorry for not being too different (he laughs): Terranigma, Final Fantasy 7, Megaman 2, Chrono Trigger
Q: If you could pick one video game composer as an idol who would it be and why?
A: It would definitely be Nobuo Uematsu, I really like the soundtracks of final fantasy 6, 9 and 10.
Q: Limited Run Games releasing your soundtrack on a physical NES cartridge was incredible, how did this brilliant idea come to exist?
A: We did the game as a tribute to NES games, trying to be as similar as possible to NES games (with some little boosts). To do this we did the music using Famitracker, as I mentioned before. Famitracker also lets you export the composed music in the format that actual NES roms use so Miguel had the idea to do a very limited amount of NES cartridges to promote the release of A Hole New World. There was only about twenty of them made, and lots of people wanted to have one, so when the opportunity with Limited Run arrived we proposed to do some more cartridges and they liked the idea.
Q: Will we see A Hole New World release physically on the Nintendo switch, the new home for video game collectors?
A: We would really like to release physically on Nintendo Switch but for now it has not been possible.
Q: You have started work on your new game Kemono Heroes, could you tell us a little bit about the game?
A: Kemono Heroes is a game that combines elements of run and gun series, fast arcade action with dashes and slashes, cool and fluffy characters, and can be enjoyed by up to four players in co-op, fighting together and helping each other to reach Mount Fuji, defeat the evil god Tsukigami and save the world from its curse.
Q: Should we expect to see Kemono Heroes on the Nintendo Switch in the future?
A: I hope so!
Q: Daniel, it’s been fantastic having you on The Island, before we go can I leave you with one final question? What is your favourite Switch game so far?
A: That would be probably The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. But actually the game I’ve played the most so far is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Thanks for having me here, and talk to you soon!
Interview by @Morfid_Plays
A Hole New World is out now on Nintendo Switch and costs £8.99