Here's an interview we did recently with Dane Cypel, the assistant producer on My Horse and Me.
What was the inspiration behind the game? Why develop a horse game?
Who doesn’t want to ride around on horses outside and get paid for it? Seriously though, out of the ideas we were tossing around, it seemed that Horses were the most interesting project we could take on as far as family friendly animal themed games. Their movements are graceful, but they are extremely powerful. We learned so much about their different personalities it was truly an education experience.
Do you feel like you have to design a game for girls to enjoy or is it a matter of focusing on the game play?
I think girls are just like any other player who enjoys games, if good gameplay isn’t there, then what’s the point? Of course the subject matter was appealing to girls, but we knew that without good gameplay the game wouldn’t do well. I think that holds true in all games.
What kind of events will you be able do in the game? Were there events that you wanted to put in the game but couldn't?
There will be several events to compete in – tournaments that you’ll have to do well in to succeed throughout the game. Of course, with every game there comes a point where you have to draw the line as far as how deep you’re going to take a game’s functionality. With us, we knew what we wanted for our target audience and think that we included the best of our ideas.
Could you talk about the challenges in designing a game for a younger audience versus other games on the market? Is it easier or harder to develop games targeted at a younger audience?
Good question. One of the things in a sim that you’d naturally think of in a horse riding games would be injuries – types of injuries, retraining to recover from the injury and so on. Because we were developing a family game, that aspect of reality didn’t seem like a proper fit.
Can you talk about the Wii controls in the game and run us through how you're using them in the game? How do the controls work on the PC version of the game?
Similar to a real equestrian, the horse knows when and how to jump. It is up to the player to direct their horse and provide the right speed and coordination. The motion controls are intuitive and responsive, by making the player feel as if they have the reigns in their hands and are driving the horse around the course. On the PC version of the game, the keys act as your reigns, so it’s a little different than actually holding them in your hand like with the Wii version.
How does the DS version differ from the Wii/PC version?
The DS version, not to give too much away, has more mini games and features upgrade options to more things like the stable itself.
Anything else that we didn't talk about that you think is important for our readers to know?
I definitely feel that this is the most comprehensive and fun game out there today for horse enthusiasts. The title is one that will appeal to girls, young boys and families, it’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your kids – who doesn’t want a pony of their very own?
We'd like to thank Dane for taking the time to talk to us and to Stephanie for helping to coordinate the interview.
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