The studio behind Super Lucky's Tale talks Xbox One X, classic 3D platformers, and more (Q&A)

In Super Lucky's Tale, your task is to guide the fox Lucky on a whimsical and colorful journey to recover a magical book from the evil Jinx. Super Lucky's Tale originated as a VR title for the Oculus Rift, but now the budding franchise is making its way to Xbox One, complete with Xbox One X enhancements.

Recently, we caught up with Playful Corp., the developer, to discuss Super Lucky's Tale, the Xbox One X, and beyond.

Jez Corden, Windows Central: How did the partnership between Playful and Microsoft come about?

Dan Hurd, Playful Corp. studio director: We had ideas that were percolating beyond VR. We were just getting feet wet with VR/Oculus tech. When it came to Microsoft, Lucky's Tale offered a glimpse into the character's world, and the Microsoft partnership offered more to pursue the character and his story. Many people in the studio had worked with Microsoft before on Halo Wars and Age of Empires. When we looked at what they were doing, it aligned with Playful's goals to push both tech and game design on the Xbox One family of devices.

Why make the switch to console?

Console gaming gives us an opportunity to go wide with Lucky's Tale and share it with a larger audience. When we can present Lucky's Tale in a living room context, that's our ultimate goal: to ensure families can play together

Is Windows Mixed Reality a possibility for Super Lucky's Tale considering your experience with VR?

We're still discovering VR technology. Lessons learned about developing the first Lucky's Tale have developed a keen interest in that technology. However, we're first focused on telling a great story that can blend into that technology, with no immediate plans to share about VR for Super Lucky's Tale.

What did you learn the most from developing a VR game first?

Having experience in building a game that feels good in VR actually really helps to develop a game that feels good as regular "flat-screen" platformer – it lends a unique perspective to gameplay.

For someone hearing about Super Lucky's Tale for the first time, how would you describe it?

At its core, Super Lucky's Tale is a character-driven action-platformer. It's about exploring colorful worlds in a light-hearted way and meeting a diverse cast of characters. The "soul" of Super Lucky's Tale is it tells a delightful story and it's fun to play through. It's the kind of game to sit back, relax and have a fun time with.

Lucky is often overshadowed by his adventurous sister Lyra, but he has a chance to go on an adventure of his own when he is pulled inside the magical Book of Ages to defeat the evil Jinx and his no-good kids, the Kitty Litter, and to rescue the worlds and characters within.

Nostalgic 3D platformers have seen a resurgence in recent years. Does nostalgia play a role in Super Lucky's Tale?

It's the kind of game to sit back, relax and have a fun time with.

We've seen a resurgence of this genre in that people want to play these platformer games again like Super Mario 64. We wanted to make a game that was nostalgic for gamers but wasn't confined by any baggage or older conventions that might hold it back.

A challenge for us was how to introduce this kind of game to new audiences. Kids can sometimes be more intuitive than adults with gameplay elements. We had to spend more time on communicating puzzles and gameplay features that can come easily to adults and older gamers but might pose a challenge for younger audiences. We created a path through the game that's inviting but is also very accessible, but also offers players the choice to break from it and try a path that's more of a challenge and requires an abstract thought process.

The goal is to let people experience the core of the game, then give opportunities for further exploration or deviation from the path.

What's your take on free-to-play or "games as a service" versus paid games? How did you land on your price point?

A challenge for us was how to introduce this kind of game to new audiences.

Playful has been on both sides of this divide, and each have their benefits and drawbacks, but for Super Lucky's Tale, we thought the most appropriate format was a single, affordable price. We believe there is still plenty of life in this model, and I think you'll continue to see amazing games embrace both free-to-play (such as DoTA, Hearthstone, Path of Exile), and traditional models (such as Breath of the Wild, Divinity Original Sin 2).

What kind of gameplay mechanics does Super Lucky's Tale have that set it apart?

We've crafted a truly compelling world and characters to accompany you on your journey. Also, we wanted to focus on Lucky as a character and his unique abilities – including his burrow dive that lets you go underground in nearly every situation. Exploration is key to Super Lucky's Tale. We have "Playground" levels that encourage exploration and feature collectibles that don't feel like a chore.

What Xbox One X features does Super Lucky's Tale support, and how is it different than Xbox One S?

Super Lucky's Tale is enhanced for Xbox One X in true 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. Overall, the Xbox One X enhancements produced a beautiful, crisp world in true 4K that lets the environments breathe a bit more and allows the visual aesthetic to shine through.

Huge thanks to Dan Hurd and Playful Corp.

Super Lucky's Tale looks like the perfect title for youngsters and young-at-heart adults, particularly if you're hunting for a sharp-looking and accessible 3D platformer to showcase 4K resolution on the Xbox One X. We're appreciative that Hurd took the time to speak with us and share his insight.

See at Xbox Store

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!