Warsaw, Poland-based Crunching Koalas is now a registered ID@Xbox developer, but the company's Tomasz Tomaszewski isn't sure whether its current projects will ever appear on Xbox One. The reason? That day one release parity clause, revealed by Nuclear Throne developer Vlambeer last year.
The clause stipulates that ID@Xbox developers must release their games on Xbox One before or at the same time as for other platforms. This can be a bit of a chore, as it requires the developer to work on two or more versions of the game simultaneously, rather than staggering its output. Vlambeer dodged this particular bullet by quickly agreeing to release Nuclear Throne on PS4 first - the clause doesn't apply if a project has already been announced for another platform.
Crunching Koalas is currently working on two Unity engine games for PC, Mac and Linux: MouseCraft, a playful puzzler that compares to Lemmings, and Wordtrap Dungeon, a puzzle RPG in which you string together letters into words in order to cast spells. Find trailers for both of them below.
The developer intends to release MouseCraft on PC and PS Vita in May, but has yet to come to an agreement on this front with Sony. An Xbox One version would follow in the summer, all going to plan, but Tomaszewski is worried that Microsoft won't permit this if the game appears on PS Vita first. Crunching Koalas also hopes to release MouseCraft on PS4.
As for WordTrap Dungeon, there's a "high chance" that the game will also come to Xbox One - again, providing Microsoft allows it. "We just don't know anything yet, but if the game "fits" the Xbox One (if the controls will be ok on a pad) then we will definitely at least try to go for Xbox," Tomaszewski told OXM by email.
What does he think of the console itself? "To be honest, I haven't done anything with our Xbox dev kits, we received them just 3 days ago. Just launched them and played a little bit with the new Xbox. We're using Unity 3d for all our games and the [Unity toolset] for Xbox One is still not available". The latter will probably be available in a matter of weeks or months, Tomaszewski added.
"As for the console's unique features - I don't see anything that can be used in MouseCraft, maybe besides integrating the game with Live features," he went on. "Making the level sharing and cloud saves available through all Microsoft platforms - Windows 8, Xbox One and Windows Phone. We would really like to use SmartGlass, it sounds like an interesting concept, but at the moment we are not sure if it will make the game better."
"In terms of WordTrap Dungeon - if you'll watch the screenshots and the video you'll notice that there's a magical book on the screen. Players can select the letters from it and form words to defeat monsters (it's a mix of Scrabble and a dungeon crawler). We thought it may be fun to make this book on a tablet, by using SmartGlass."
Crunhing Koalas has thought about introducing Kinect voice support for Wordtrap Dungeon, but Tomaszewski and his colleagues aren't particularly sold on the idea. "We're not a big fans of Kinect, PS Move or Wii-stuff. I doubt that there will be anything using it."
ID@Xbox program director Chris Charla has invited developers to get in touch about the day-one parity clause. "Email me," was his succinct response during a conversation with OXM over the winter. "Honestly, I'm not being flippant - they should get in touch. It's something where we want to talk to individual developers about it."
Here's a list of all confirmed ID@Xbox games so far.