20th June 2019
Commodore Format can exclusively report that 2018’s critically acclaimed PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC game Minit is going to be officially released on the Commodore 64 through Thalamus Digital. We can also reveal that the coder is Jon Wells (Sceptre of Baghdad, Escape From Arth and the unfinished 10th Dan), who’s formally returning to the machine for the first time since 2013’s Shaolin+. Jon will also handle the audio, with Thalamus’ Andy Roberts handling graphics, design and production. A Spectrum Next version is also planned.
Here’s everything you need to know
Devolver Digital first previewed Minit at E3 in 2017, telling the press:
“Minit is a peculiar little adventure played sixty seconds at a time. Journey outside the comfort of your home to help unusual folk, uncover countless secrets, and overcome dangerous foes, all in hopes of lifting a rather unfortunate curse that ends each day after just one minute.”
Indeed, CF’s own Colin Campbell previewed the game for Polygon.
The game was developed by Jan Willem Nijman, co-founder and one-half of Vlambeer, Kitty Calis, who contributed to Horizon Zero Dawn, freelance composer Jukio Kallio, and Dominik Johann, art director of Crows Crows Crows.
Minit was released in 2018 for PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Switch, and has since been nominated for a whole swathe of awards including Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game at the D.I.C.E. Awards.
The aim of the game
Presented in a top-down RPG-style viewpoint, Minit is played in 60 second chunks, hence the title (Minute = minit, innit? – Ed). After picking up a cursed sword, the player will die every 60 seconds and wake up in their home with any items and knowledge that they may have previously acquired (a bit like Groundhog Day, but without Andie MacDowell – Ed). As the player progresses deeper into the adventure they’ll eventually plunge deep into the heart of the sword factory to face the final boss and attempt to break the curse.
We spoke exclusively to Andy Roberts about the C64 version:
“Minit64 (working title) came about purely by accident: I was chatting with Jon Wells about working on a project together again, as we’d worked on numerous Game Boy titles back in the early 2000s and had a great working relationship. One of the games on my wish list was Minit and as it happened Jon had also seen the game and loved the idea of bringing it to the C64. At that point it was just a case of working out a) if it was technically possible, and b) if Devolver Digital would be interested.”
“At the time I was also talking to Devolver about another project, and so naturally the subject of Minit64 came up in conversation. Devolver loved the idea, so Jon and I played the game exhaustively then spent a couple of months putting together a small proof-of-concept demo on the C64.”
“The C64 demo is just a handful of the 100+ screens from the finished game. Even though the original game seems quite simplistic, this apparent simplicity is extremely deceptive. Our biggest single technical challenge was how to organise the colossal amount of graphics data: the game uses hundreds of unique 2×2 tiles, and there simply aren’t enough characters in a standard C64 character set to display some of the screens in the game. In the end we chose to use hi-res bitmaps, which also allows us to easily plot software sprites and thus increase the number of on-screen enemies, etc.”
“Then there’s the animations and interactive objects to consider: flowing rivers, washing hanging on the line, rippling waves around the shoreline, the mailbox you can bash open with your sword, and so on. The original developers worked hard to make sure that the game was filled with loads of unique details to bring the world to life, so it’s important to replicate those little touches to ensure that the game retains its unique charm.”
“We also had to adjust the screen layouts slightly as the C64’s screen isn’t as tall as in the original game, so the utmost care had to be taken to make sure that the screens still flow in the same way without affecting the gameplay (especially given the time is a crucial factor in navigating the environment).”
The game is currently in development and will be arriving on cartridge for the C64 in late 2019. CF