The road to N++

20 Aug / by: M&R / 62 comments / tags : ,

Yes, it’s happening: N++ is well on its way to PS4. We’ve been working on it since late 2012, so it’s nice to finally be able to talk about it!

However, before we talk about the future, lets rewind to the past a little.

For those of you not familiar with the backstory: almost 10 years ago, we made a game called N (if you haven’t tried it, you can play it here. it’s free!), a physics-based action-puzzle platformer starring a ninja. Like all first projects, it was a bit rough around the edges, but it was fun, and we were excited about it, and thanks to encouraging emails from a few people who really liked it, we kept working on it. We kept developing and polishing it, and gradually, over a period of 1-2 years, N managed to find an audience (despite still being a little rough around the edges).

One of the people who liked it worked at Microsoft, and managed to convince other people there that it would be a good fit for the then-new XBLA platform (thanks Ross Erickson!). So, with a lot of help from Slick Entertainment, we made N+ in 2008.

Amazingly, people seemed to like it -– not everyone, of course, because we all have different tastes, but many more people than we had ever anticipated! It still makes us immensely glad to watch people on youtube enjoying N+, particularly when they get really frustrated/angry… it warms our slightly sadistic hearts 🙂

Since then, we’ve been getting emails from people who want to play N+ on their PS3/PC/etc.; we’ve never properly explained to those disappointed fans why we didn’t release N+ on other platforms for them.

There are several reasons behind this, but most importantly it was because after N+, we were really burnt out — there were a few bumps in the development process (as it was our first commercial game), and as a result we ended up having to scramble to make about 1000 levels over the summer of 2007, which was a really intense experience.

(Initially we were only supposed to be working on the XBLA version, which meant about 500 levels (in addition to all the “producing” stuff like art-/sound-direction and constant playtesting/feedback to get the feel right); however, we weren’t really happy with the levels being made by the developer of the DS/PSP versions, so we decided that we would have to take matters into our own hands in order to prevent people from being disappointed.)

We survived, and N+ turned out well, but the experience left us ready for a break from all things N-related for the foreseeable future.

One of the most persistent fans we met was Nick Suttner; we would run into him at least once a year at conferences, and he would always ask us whether we would ever consider making a version of N for PlayStation. We always told him that we would absolutely be happy to, as soon as we were ready, but that we didn’t know when that would be, or if we would ever feel ready to try and top N+.

Then, gradually, we found ourselves making levels again, for fun — it’s sort of a hobby for us, an often relaxing and enjoyable creative challenge.

We also made an arcade version of N for the Torontrons, which got us thinking about different rules and modes of play.

We realized that there was a bit of guilt eating away at us, and that we had to deliver the final update to N we had promised years ago, before N+, but had become too burnt-out to face.

So, earlier this year, we finished N v2.0, an update to the original N.

One of the things we wanted to add to N v2.0 was integrated level-sharing – after all, what’s the point of a built-in level editor if you can’t easily share your levels with other players? This was one of the big disappointments for us with N+: Nick from Slick had devised a clever way to share levels globally via leaderboards, and it was working great, until Microsoft pulled the plug at the last minute for legal reasons. (To be fair, they had always warned us that they couldn’t guarantee it would be allowed, but it was still really disappointing.)

We also spent a few months helping do some rough/concept level design for our friend Jon’s game Sound Shapes (being in Toronto is pretty awesome, mostly because of all the great people you’re surrounded by); sharing user-made levels is a huge part of that game, and it was exciting to us to see that Sony was really going for it rather than being scared of the legal ramifications of a few penis-shaped levels.

We were also talking with Shawn, who was experimenting with some anti-aliased vector graphics that looked cool and were exactly what we wanted to do in N++. Shawn is a curmudgeon who hates most games; yet he likes N! We thought that this boded well for future collaborations.

So over the years, we’ve been excited about the whole N series, humbled by it, bored of it, intrigued by it and now we’ve come back around to being excited about it again, and the point is, there were all sorts of ideas and threads coming together in our lives, so that the next time Nick Suttner asked us about working with Sony (maybe the fourth or fifth time total – he can be very persistent!), we realized that we were eager to take all the loose ends and things we never got a chance to do, and make one final version of N, with the goal of making the definitive version which we ourselves would want to play over all other versions: N++.

By this time, Nick had worked his way up the ladder to the point where he was involved with Sony’s Pub Fund program, of which we had heard great things from other local friends like Drinkbox (who made Guacamelee). Pub Fund is amazing – not only is it even further confirmation that the people we’re working with at Sony really believe in us and our project, but beyond that it gives us the freedom to pull out all the stops and take the time to be sure that N++ will be the absolute best thing it can be.

We’ve been redesigning the game modes, playing around with new ideas and further refining the classic core that made N fun ten long years ago — and finally smoothing out some of those rough edges.

Our intent is that N++ delivers the solid, distilled, fast-paced platforming you expect from the series, with a bunch of new touches and a ton of love and attention to detail; we’re trying to make something that feels familiar but is profoundly better than ever. It will be built for fans of the series and for newcomers alike — we think there’s a lot a whole range of players will love about N++. There is so much more to say, and we’ll have many more details for you soon.

In the meantime, check out this teaser on PS.com to get a taste of where we’re going with this: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2013/08/20/ninja-platformer-n-dashes-to-ps4/

Also here’s a general article about a lot of the great games coming to PlayStation http://blog.us.playstation.com/2013/08/20/gamescom-indie-avalanche-n-volume-hotline-miami-2/

So there you have it, a brief history of N, and the humble beginnings of what will hopefully soon become your favourite game and ours: N++ 🙂

comments ( 62 )

  • […] If you haven’t heard of us, we’re the creators of N, N+ and now the upcoming N++. If you want to read more about those, check out this post about their backstory. […]

  • Congratulations! Going through your post – wow has N been on a wild ride!

    Also – grats on hitching with Sony! The pub find sounds brilliant and I’m super happy it has allowed you the freedom to put as much time in N++ as possible and ensure it’s the complete package.

    I’m not complaining, I’m not complaining… but as a 100% complete N+ on XBLA, PSP and DS, I would LOVE a portable version of N++… I’m going to take what I can get with a PS4 version 😉

  • So after people being sad that you made N+ only for 1 platform, you decided to make N++ for just 1 platform, too. Since I only own PC and do not plan to buy a console, I’m sad.

    And I don’t mean no disrespect or ingratitude, but as far as I’m concerned, v2.0 was a downgrade for me (compared to NReality).

    Anyway, good luck in future, I’m happy that you caught your motivation and breath again.

  • […] If you haven’t heard of us, we’re the creators of N, N+ and now the upcoming N++. If you want to read more about those games, check out this post about their backstory. […]

  • […] If you haven’t heard of us, we’re the creators of N, N+ and now the upcoming N++. If you want to read more about those games, check out this post about their backstory. […]

  • Congrats on getting a confirmed PS4 exclusive! I was considering getting a PS4 anyway, so I’m quite happy N++ will be available. Any chance of seeing it on the Vita as well though? A portable version would be fantastic …

  • Good news, we have plans beyond PS4 (as related above — we learned our lesson with N+ but were unable to do anything about it at the time). We are thinking about Vita and other platforms as well, but we want to focus on PS4 first to make sure we do it right, and we definitely don’t want to overpromise. So we’re taking it one day at a time, and one platform at at time.

    But the good news is, porting to other platforms won’t be as difficult with N++ since we won’t be so burnt out — that’s the key we were trying to convey in this blog post. We’re taking care to ensure that we hold on to the excitement and motivation we’re feeling, learning from past mistakes. That’s going to help us make N++ the best game it can be.

  • @vankusss: yeah, we agree, v2.0 has flaws. Andrew from Golden Gear has some things to tweak, so hopefully that will help.

  • […] If you haven’t heard of us, we’re the creators of N, N+ and now the upcoming N++. If you want to read more about those games, check out this post about their backstory. […]

  • […] creators of N, N+ and now the upcoming N++. If you want to read more about those games, check out this post about their […]

  • How about a trailer?

  • Sean – trailer can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzFthAX9qms

    Very much a teaser trailer 🙂

  • Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? No 3DS? I’m going to cry.

  • I’ve seen that “trailer”. I want to see a gameplay mashup. I’d be content with 30 seconds.

  • @Sean: All in good time. A gameplay trailer will be released later, but for now enjoy the teaser trailer! Here’s a higher quality version: https://vimeo.com/72306409

  • Exciting trailer.
    I love the music, she is addictive.

  • I don’t want to sound all grudgy, but telling the story of n without devoting a single line to the community / NUMA / nmaps doesn’t sound right to me.

    That said, I’m happy to see you guys still going strong with new stuff, be it n-related or not!

  • Shame I can’t get N++ for PS4, ‘cuz PS4 will be $399 when it comes out, but when the price drops, maybe then I’ll get a PS4, and N++.

  • Waitaminute, just read the previous comments, you actually do have plans to port N++ to other consoles, YAY!

  • @Donfuy: The community is a very huge part of N that we are continually awed by and a large part of our posts here are devoted to you all, or written with you in mind — when we apologize for being late or disappointing or whatever, for example, it’s _because_ the community is so important to us that we feel so bad when deadlines slip or features get cut.

    But that said, this was meant to be sort of a companion to the Sony blog post and we were trying to explain why we were making N++ now specifically — the community remains a really awesome part of N, but that wasn’t what we were addressing in this post. A complete history of N would have been even longer, and it’s too long already!

  • This was the best news at Gamescom. I’ve wanted to play the N series on a PlayStation console for a long time and I’m so glad to see that the definitive version, N++ will be making it’s way to PS4 this year. It instantly became my most wanted game of 2013. Can’t wait to play it.

  • Any chance for an MS-DOS version?

  • If this doesn’t release on the XBLA i will be hugely disappointed. im going to assume you guys are actually going to release this on the XBLA as it was possibly one of the best (and best selling) XBLA games out there, but if you aren’t, HUGELY disappointed.

  • M&R:

    v2 arcade beta prizes, it’s now been 20 months.

    p.s. fix bugs in v2 and implement suggested features. I know you’re working on that; this is just your monthly reminder.

  • I bought a Wii U a few weeks ago, and am hoping so hard that it gets a version of N++

    C’mon, Nintendo revolutionised the platforming genre!

  • Will it be on PC / MAC platform ?
    I really want those one first instead of ps4
    because i won’t be able to have a ps4 if my parents won’t even buy me any consoles..

    sorry for bad english

  • Hmm. I’m glad you’re excited about the project, and I’m immensely grateful for N 2.0 … but while I would really like to opportunity to give you my money in exchange for owning and playing the “one final version of N, […] the definitive version which we ourselves would want to play over all other versions.”

    Maybe this project wouldn’t be fiscally feasible without the support of an exclusivity deal, or maybe you honestly believe no other platform will suffice. It’s just a real shame that so many long-time fans of your company and your game are going to be left out of the loop by this decision and I would be genuinely surprised if it’s financially beneficial. If nothing else, you built up a customer base over on the X-Box which is now going to be at least partially abandoned, too.

    I’m genuinely confused by the decision and very curious about the calculus that went into it.

  • Please, please, PLEEAASSEE let the ‘PC’ be one of those other consoles you take N++ to. Please release it on PC. If it initially started on the PC it should end there too. I just won’t understand it and will be absolutely flabbagasted and hugely disappointed if N++ isn’t released for PC!!!!!! XD

  • I was really excited about n++. Was :’ (. I really thought that you wouldn’t let the pc gamers, the original n community, down this time. Are you planning to release it for our platform too, or will there never be a successor for the pc? I really enjoyed n 2.0 but if you compare it to n+, it looks more like an update for 1.4.

  • @pcGamer: well that’s exactly what N v2.0 is (an update for v 1.4), so great! 😉

    Thanks for the feedback, we totally understand your concerns and rest assured we share them — but do keep in mind that we are just a team of three, so we won’t be able to support every platform. That said, we have a lot more to reveal in the coming months, and we think you’ll be happy. Please be patient!

  • The definitive N version is a pretty cool idea 😀 Really looking forward to trying it out, hoping a solid cheatproof security 😉

  • Hello, love the advert btw. Im curious, what were your thoughts on making a new N a purchasable PC game? -with the super graphics which would make it completely different to the free version..
    I dont have a PS4 and if I did, I’d play call of duty on it, not really a minimalistic game (which is a great thing about N)

    In a perfect world, N would be next to chess and mine sweeper on computers’ games section 😉 lol

  • I’ve been a fan of N since it came out. I loved N+ on my DS. It’s really disappointing that you’re only making the game for PS4. You’re alienating a huge segment of your fanbase. Make a PC version, or at the very least Vita and 3DS versions.
    If Sony is telling you it has to be an exclusive, you should tell them to fuck off, because that’s an underhanded business practice and it will only hurt you guys.

  • @Momotaro: We are focusing on PS4 first because we want to make sure we do one version right and not get burnt out trying to do too much all at once. 🙂 Hopefully the PS4 version will sell well enough to allow us to make more versions after that, but rest assured we’re planning on trying.

  • I’ll buy the ps4 just to play N++. I am fan of N since 2005. Normal People are waiting for Watch dogs or Killzone or fifa, but i not, I wait anxiously for N++++++++++++++++++++

  • @M&R: the flaw in your logic is that you think the PS4 will sell at all. I can guarantee that it will do even worse than the Wii U has due to its high price tag, low power, and diminished returns as an upgrade to the PS3.
    Please, I beg of you, at least do a Vita version. Then maybe you will sell some copies of the game. I don’t want to see Metanet fail.

  • This is going to be the best thing ever.

  • So you build up a fan base on the xbox and then give exclusivity to a different console for the sequal. Seems odd considering how well n+ actually did on the xbox. Oh well, consider yourselves to have 1 less fan.

  • Possibly the Nv2 bugs list in troubleshooting section can help you with making the N++ . And if you plan to include userlevels on N++, all the Proos are saying that they dont like the fact that highscores get lost amidst so many levels (even in the popular section) -So maybe you can include various extra search functions and automated alerts such as if your rank changes on maps in added to a watchlist etc. thus encouraging competitors to look back at maps they really tried on.

    ( PS4 is soo expensive and I take it that it cant work on both ps3 and 4) thanks again for the game

  • To be honest i felt Nv2 is a bit more realistic (and less fun than original, except for the multiplayer) or maybe i didn’t get the controls !! Anyway looking forward to the NPP ambitiously .. I missed N+ very much… And i join the Crowd to say PLEASE release it for the PC (after you make enough cash from PS4 & consoles 🙂 )

  • I’m happy you said you’re spending some time on the userlevels concept. I think really, the more criteria the better. Often simply ‘fancy’ maps fill up the popular section, which is partly why the Nmaps (NUMA) ‘featured map’ idea (chosen by appointed moderators) is great.
    Also some controls against spamming are pretty important. (maybe simply a limit on how many maps a user can publish in a day would be worth it).
    Anyhow good luck 🙂 hope it doesn’t turn out like the Nv2 userlevels section

  • Please metanet, I request you to release a psp version of N++ for the fans who cannot afford a PS4.

  • Will there ever be a N game with online multiplayer for steam? me and my friends just got into speed runners and Im telling them about N and how I used to play it on my laptop in highschool and how epic it was!

    Bring N back to its roots with a full featured version on steam/pc

  • @Rooslin online multiplayer is not a trivial thing to add, and especially for a game like N. Check this out, and, you can start to see why: http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/11/5491146/why-you-dont-want-an-online-mode-towerfall

    We are hoping to bring N++ to Steam, if the PS4 version sells well enough and we can afford to port it. We’ll see if people like the game, on PS4!

  • I wish to congratulate you for the wonderful game. I played it on my Xbox, and the simplicity, strategy, speed, and overall care for the game is outstanding. The fact that you guys are a 3 person Team is noteworthy. Keep up the good work. Day one purchase for me. 🙂

  • Thanks!! We’re doing our best to make sure that the jump from N+ to N++ is as big as the jump from N to N+ was 🙂

  • Well, I hope to see this on the Xbox One someday. I was super sad to see it be a PS4 exclusive. Still, good job, and I understand switching. I can’t believe Microsoft took away online level sharing! Anyways, I’m sure it’ll be great. Don’t forget about your loyal xbox fans (still playing N+ to this day)!

  • We’ve been talking with Microsoft — they say they may not be interested, but we’ll keep trying. Your support will help us do that!

  • @M&R I think if you want to publish to a platform where sales are guaranteed, then pick PC. Also why choose a console, when it is so much easier to develop for PC

  • @Anarchists: we’ve explained this several times, there were a variety of reasons for us choosing to make the game for PS4 first.

    Sony accepted us into their Pub Fund program, which meant we could spend more time (aka money) on the game than we could if it was PC first (since Pub Fund is a guarantee on sales, so we know we can spend X and recoup that no matter what). We thought this was a good decision since it let us make the best possible game with the least amount of risk.

    (I know you think that sales are guaranteed on PC, but sadly these days very few games are selling well, even on Steam, so we didn’t want to take that risk!)

    I understand your frustration; we hope to bring N++ to as many platforms as possible in the future 🙂

  • > (I know you think that sales are guaranteed on PC, but sadly these days very few games are selling well, even on Steam, so we didn’t want to take that risk!)

    You are talking about N, not exactly a random new indie game with questionable concept.
    OfficialNerdCubed already made a video of your ps4 release with 300000 views and he loved it.
    If you want to release it on pc just give copies to those youtubers, give it a reasonable price tag, make it playable with controller/keyboard and people will get the message across.
    I, for example, would pay for N++ just based on the amount of time I spent on the original N.

    I’m not opposing the concept of releasing it on ps4 FIRST though, nothing wrong with that.

  • @Bernhard: I completely agree with you. I would love to play it on PC, as I have no plans of getting a PS4. However they have said that it will be released on PC (hopefully) at some point. So let’s just “have a little… patience!”.

    Remember, Metanet, YouTubers are your friend! Giving them keys will get loads of new people playing your game.

    NerdCubed has recently done another video on N++, and here it is:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=850zuHXbBpQ

  • i was a huge fan of n+ on the xbox360 and when i bought my new xbox one a deciding factor for me was the assumption that if you guys decided to do a console based sequel it would likely be on xbox since n+ never made it to my ps3. that being said is there anything we in the community can do to help sway microsoft into supporting a port of n++ for xbox one

    also would like to see external controller support for n in the near future im primarily a console gamer so using the keyboard to play a game kinda ruins it for me

  • @N+ Fan With Xbox: Thank you — I’m really sorry if we disappointed you by changing the platform like that. Hopefully this post helps explain why we went with PS4.

    We’re definitely hoping to bring it to Xbox One eventually — sadly that won’t be until well into 2016, earliest, if it does happen. Thanks for your offer — you could help by emailing Microsoft and spreading the word about N++ in general. Anyway thank you, we really appreciate your support!

    Finally: about controller support for N, sadly this isn’t possible using Flash, but we’ve had good results with JoyToKey (which lets your controller generate keyboard inputs): http://joytokey.net/en/

  • […] for PC has always been on the cards. Metanet’s Mare Sheppard said last year that if the game sold well on PS4 they’d port it, though the Sony exclusivity was due to […]

  • […] for PC has always been on the cards. Metanet’s Mare Sheppard said last year that if the game sold well on PS4 they’d port it, though the Sony exclusivity was due to […]

  • […] for Pc has usually been on the cards. Metanet’s Mare Sheppard&nbspstated final year that if the game sold effectively on PS4 they’d port it, even though the […]

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  • […] for PC has always been on the cards. Metanet’s Mare Sheppard said last year that if the game sold well on PS4 they’d port it, though the Sony exclusivity was due to […]

  • […] for PC has always been on the cards. Metanet’s Mare Sheppard said last year that if the game sold well on PS4 they’d port it, though the Sony exclusivity was due to […]

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