Shigeru News Interview: Hive Jump Developer Graphite Lab




Recently I had the chance to interview Graphite Lab, the devs of Hive Jump. Read below for new information about the game!



[SN ]Hive Jump has come a long way since I interviewed you guys for playeressence.  What have you dropped from your initial kickstarter?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] It sure has come a long way! I don’t believe we’ve dropped anything from the Kickstarter proposal. In fact, we’re investing a lot of additional time into the project to make it better. I suppose we have streamlined the number of weapons and utility items you will see in the game from some of our earlier estimates – but that is partly due to the fact that we wanted each of the weapons to have a very deliberate and useful purpose. So any reductions from the plan are really just re-focusing on stuff that actually makes the game more fun.


[SN] You mentioned at the Nindies at night panel at PAX that you were considering amiibo support for the game. What ideas do you think might be good to implement into this game….Samus costume perhaps?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] Let me start by saying we would LOVE  to have Samus in the game, but I don’t know if that is on the table. There are a lot of very good reasons why a cameo might not make sense for our game right now.  We are planning on including custom challenges and unique treasures which could only be unlocked with amiibo. This feature is still in development so we’re not at a point where we can share more just yet.


[SN] How have you found Nintendo to be, when it comes to bringing your indie game to the eshop?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] Nintendo has been absolutely fantastic. I’ve done contract work on several Nintendo platforms including the GBA, DS and Wii. Hive Jump is our first original title for Nintendo though. I have to say, I couldn’t be more pleased with the support we’ve gotten from Nintendo on Hive Jump. Even in our pre-alpha state they have helped share the word about our game at PAX Prime with the awesome Nindies@Night event. They also invited us to demo at IndieCade in October which was really amazing. Most recently, they shared news of the game in the November Nintendo Direct alongside other great indie titles like Runbow and Typoman.  That’s absolutely huge for a team like ours who is just getting started with their first original title.


[SN] With the rise of indie game crossovers we are seeing more and more of these days, do you think we will see any other indie game characters pop up in Hive Jump?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] Most definitely! We’ve already announced that you will see Bart from AEGIS DEFENDERS and SYREK from REVEN in Hive Jump ……who knows what other heroes you may find lurking in the depths of the Hive!








[SN] What was it like to be featured on the Nindies@Night program?  Do you feel it helped expose you to a new audience?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] For me it was a highlight of my gaming career. We had a great demo and were surrounded by thousands of fans (as well as other awesome indies) in an amazing venue. We got to see our trailer displayed on a 60’ projection screen and even snagged a great write up in Game Informer from the event. I definitely think it exposed more gamers to the world of Hive Jump and indie development on Nintendo platforms as a whole.



[SN] During the kickstarter campaign you mentioned a permadeath idea for the game. Has that in particular changed in any way or been revised?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] The permadeath concept has stayed pretty true to the initial vision. Your team’s leader carries a Transponder Backpack. This backpack allows your command-ship to beam soldiers and supplies to its location. If your leader dies, the backpack is vulnerable! If it is destroyed, then no new soldiers or items can be sent to your team. So, you really have to protect it. We’ve certainly tweaked the hit-points for the backpack and other minor things, but the vision for this feature has stayed pretty consistent throughout development.


[SN] I have to ask, what has the experience of making this game been like? Is it rewarding?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] Its been the most rewarding development I’ve ever been involved with, but also among the most stressful too. The feedback and attention that the game has received as been incredibly flattering and encouraging. At the same time, the burden of self-publishing means we have to make enough revenue to keep our team paid as well as make additional revenue to re-invest in Hive Jump. The result is a lot (and I mean A LOT) of multi-tasking and switching between projects.  


[SN] What are your hopes for the game? Would you like to expand Hive Jump into a series should the game be successful?


[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] When we conceived Hive Jump, we didn’t set out to make a “one-hit-wonder” sort of game. Our Lead Designer, Matt Dontatelli (@mattdonatelli) has spent countless hours developing a deep backstory for this world which could certainly support a full series! Of course, our current focus is on this initial release, but we are always thinking about how the decisions we make now will set us up for the next chapter in the Hive Jump universe.

[SN] The music in the recent trailer is interesting. Who is composing the music and what are the influences on it?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] We are really in love with the soundtrack too! The music is composed by Jimmy Hinson aka Big Giant Circles (@biggiantcircles). We approached Jimmy about the game before our return to Kickstarter and he was immediately intrigued by the idea. We’ve been fans of his work for years. His professional work with major brands like Mass Effect and Borderlands caught our ears, but also with his personal work which is more of a chiptune style release. That said, we’ve shared our personal inspirations with Jimmy which includes classic work from Super Metroid, but ultimately we wanted Hive Jump to be a game where he could bring his own personal vision to life as a member of the team.

[SN] How do you think Nintendo fans will feel about the game when it comes out? The eshop has seen success for many indie devs. Do you feel this game will be successful?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] We hope they will count it among their favorite indie titles on the platform! We’ve seen great reactions from fans already at events like PAX Prime and IndieCade which were both Wii U demos. We’ve also seen some very flattering previews come out recently from press like Game Informer which counted it among their “Best Indies To Watch” from PAX 2015. So our hopes are set high, but we know it takes a lot of work to be successful. We’re thankful to have great relationships with other indies who have come before us such as the team at Tic Toc Games who released Adventures of Pip on Wii U earlier this year. We’re learning from our fellow indies about what to do and what not to do. We hope to pass along our own story of success to future indies that follow after us.    

[SN] Do you have anything to say to the fans that are looking forward to your game?

[[[[MATT RAITHEL]]]] Thanks for supporting our game! We are motivated each and every day by seeing new comments on our facebook feed, twitter feed, forums and more. It really does impact the quality of the game to hear such positive words from the community! If you aren’t connected with the game yet, here’s how you can follow along!


Website + Pre-0rder + email list:   



Dev Forums:

Thank you again for taking the time to do this.


5 comments on “Shigeru News Interview: Hive Jump Developer Graphite Lab”

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