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Game Profile
Ghostfire Games
GENRE: Music
PLAYERS:   1-2
August 25, 2008
 Written by Patrick Mulhern  on September 23, 2008


Ghostfire Games has made a bit of a name for themselves with their first WiiWare title. Helix, the rhythm-based exercise title, caught some press when it hit WiiWare in late August. The reviews have been largely mixed but almost all critics give Ghostfire a thumbs-up for originality.

Ghostfire Games CEO Ed Roman was kind enough to grant us some of his time for an e-mail interview.

1. Ghostfire Games is a relatively new company with Helix being your first title. So we are wondering, how and why did you guys get started and how has the company grown since its creation?

We started this business because we saw a market opportunity in WiiWare. The Wii is the #1 console sales-wise and downloadable games had already been proven out on competing consoles (e.g. Xbox Live Arcade). From a business perspective its an easy way to start a business since you're building games for a fraction of a $50 packaged product budget. Nintendo was very open to working with independent developers and that helped tremendously. We started out as a company of 2 people, and we now have 6 people working (some part time, some full time).

2. Did Ghostfire settle on a rhythm title based on the recent popularity of Rock Band and Guitar Hero or did you figure the gameplay mechanic Helix employs would make good use of the WiiMote?

The other music rhythm games in the market definitely helped to build out the genre and attract people to music rhythm games. We also were very excited by Wii Fit and there had been a lot of press coverage of people losing weight and getting in shape through the Wii. The gameplay mechanic was basically an attempt to make a techno exercise game that really makes you sweat. We love this because you exercise without even really noticing it. It's a lot better than working out at the gym from a mental challenge and boredom perspective.

3. Our reviewers mention that they see a lot of potential for Helix's sequel. Is that already in the works?

Currently we're working on a secret new game that's completely different than Helix. We're going to wait until Helix launches in Europe and we see the full sales results before we commit to a sequel.

4. If so, any chance of more authentic multiplayer experience? Score multipliers (instead of a progressive increase)? More complex graphics?

Yes, if we decide to do a sequel it will most likely have each of those features.

Dancing with Punchy Mcpuncherson. We feel that the name should be adopted for the character.

5. Was Ghostfire excited to hear the announcement of WiiMotion Plus or a bit annoyed since it was disclosed too late to be added to Helix.

Yes, the Wii Motion Plus would have been an amazing product when Helix launched. Its really a great step forward for the Wii since the accelerometer gives you very limited information when doing fast quick moves like punches in different directions. We decided to be very forgiving in our input detection for Helix to accommodate this issue.

6. Ghostfire is targeting the casual market but the more core gamers are wondering, what is the likelihood of a full bodied Helix - utilizing not only WiiMotion Plus but possibly the Wii Balance Board as well?

That's a very real possibility and if we decide to make a sequel, those are some of the leading feature ideas that we'd like to incorporate.

7. Do you have any plans to release follow-up episodes of Helix with new songs?

No. We decided to include a whopping 26 songs in the game and not charge the players for additional content.

8. Helix features mostly techno tracks. Do you plan to include different genres with future sequels?

The danger with including different genres of music is that the game becomes less of an exercise game and more of a slow moving game. With that said, it is possible to include other genres so long as the beat is fast-paced.

9. Where do you see the downloadable game market going in the future? Do you feel that it will someday surpass disc-based games?

I think its growing by leaps and bounds. People are still biased about purchasing games and their first instinct is to go to the store and see what box looks cool. But as people become more savvy about connecting their consoles to the Internet and fully exploring them, I think you'll see a trend where people purchase more and more downloadable games. These games are never going to replace disc games but they'll supplement them.

10. Will Ghostfire Games be sticking to the Wii or has the company looked at other platforms?

We love the Wii and we're very satisfied with WiiWare. With that said, we're always considering other possibilities. I think you need to do that as a startup company to remain nimble and competitive. However, currently we have no specific plans to produce games for other consoles.

Check out our reviews of Helix by David Taylor and Patrick Mulhern, both contributors to this interview.

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