Interview: Cooking up chaos in Overcooked: Special Edition on Nintendo Switch
Nintendo UK: Overcooked is quite unusual as a multiplayer game since it’s 100% co-operative. What prompted you to make a local co-op game rather than a competitive one?
Phil Duncan: When we worked at Frontier we’d get together with friends at lunchtime and we’d play any sort of local multiplayer games we could get our hands on. At the time, it felt like there just were very few local co-op games around.
Oli De-Vine: We went through a lot of iterations of making different kinds of local co-op games. We didn’t start from a position of trying to make a cooking game, it’s just that as we experimented, we found that cooking was just a really good basis for cooperation.
PD: It just seemed like a really good analogy for the kind of experience we wanted to replicate. You all have to work together, there’s a lot of communication required. Also, there’s a basic understanding of what you’re creating. Most people know how a burger is made, or they know how a pizza is made. So they come to the game with that level of understanding and that way, the game is more about how you work as a group rather than what is necessarily happening.
NUK: Overcooked has already proved very popular and has won some awards, including two BAFTAs. What’s the secret of its success?
OD: The fact that it’s quite accessible. There’s only two buttons and a joystick to get started. So we’ve had people of all ages and abilities able to play together. We certainly hear that a lot; we have people say, ‘Oh my husband or my wife doesn’t play games and yet I can sit down with him or her and we can play this one together’. I think it’s very important for local co-op to have that.
NUK: When did you realise you wanted to bring Overcooked to Nintendo Switch?
PD: We’d been speaking to Nintendo about maybe releasing it on Wii U. Obviously, at that time it was kind of the end of the Wii U lifecycle and everyone at Nintendo was gearing up for the Nintendo Switch and nobody really knew what it was going to be. Then, when it was announced what the Nintendo Switch was, that was when we immediately saw the potential. Everyone was instantly on Twitter or emailing us and just asking, ‘Hey guys, when is Overcooked gonna come out?’. You know, it’s a console that comes with two controllers, so it’s perfect for Overcooked.
NUK: Overcooked: Special Edition will also make use of Nintendo Switch’s HD Rumble. What do you have planned for that?
PD: We’re excited to experiment with it! From my point of view what HD Rumble allows you to do is a completely different kind of force feedback. It allows you more ways to communicate to the player. You can tell them when something is on fire or when something is about to burn out. You don’t even have to look at the screen or listen to the audio, you‘ve got something that instantly tells you something about the game. That great, particularly for a game like Overcooked, when the actions are so quick and so fast and you need to communicate the gameplay instantly.
OD: Also, it’s a kind of communication that is direct to an individual player. For Overcooked, with its shared-screen co-op and many players on-screen, that extra fidelity is very useful.
PD: As a side note I think it would be really cool for developers to actually build games around HD Rumble. It would be really interesting to have a game where you’re all looking at the same screen, but the game is communicating silently to one player to say, you know, ‘you’re it’ or something. Like a game of Werewolf or something like that, where it’s telling you you’re a werewolf just by a subtle rumble in your hand.
NUK: You’re giving away a good idea to other developers here!
OD: Well, someone needs to make it so we can play it!
NUK: Are there any other changes you’re making to the basic game when it comes to Nintendo Switch?
OD: The Nintendo version of the game will include all of our extended content. So it will be a premium version of the game that contains everything, so that will be a nice thing for Nintendo fans to have. You don’t have to buy the game and then buy a bunch of DLC. There’s a total 14 extra levels on top of the original 30, new mechanics, new recipes and even new equipment like the flamethrower! All of that comes just as a part of the game on Nintendo Switch.
Overcooked: Special Edition is coming to Nintendo Switch in 2017. For more information, follow the official Overcooked Twitter account.
Note: Game screenshots not final: graphics and features subject to change.