DotEmu CEO Cyrille Imbert Talks Windjammers Esports, Nintendo Switch, and Beyond

Jason Fanelli,

August 4, 2018 7:57 PM

With retro darling Windjammers coming to the Nintendo Switch, we spoke with DotEmu CEO Cyrille Imbert about the game's new home, its competitive scene, and what lies ahead for the power disc powerhouse.

The flying disc frenzy that is Windjammers is powering its way onto the Nintendo Switch, as we learned during the finals of the Windjammers Global World Disc Throwing Championships at EVO 2018. We spoke to the publisher DotEmu’s CEO Cyrille Imbert about the game’s success, porting the game to Nintendo’s new console, and what the future has in store for the little frisbee game that could...and still does.

Windjammers Switching things up

We first asked Imbert about the upcoming Switch port, and why the team felt now was the right time to bring the game over. Imbert’s enthusiasm for the move is palpable, and his reasoning behind the move is pretty straightforward. “Windjammers is a two button game so that makes it perfect for what the Nintendo Switch offers in terms of portability and local multiplayer,” he told us via email “You are in the train/the bus/the plane/etc. and you take out your Switch from your bag. You grab one of the joycons and give the other to your friend/sibling and boom! Infinite wild Windjammers challenges.”

(WRITER’S NOTE: Please do not be tempted to use the Switch as your own flying power disc. It will not end well.)

This Switch version of Windjammers will be the exact same game as the versions we’ve seen already, but will there be anything unique or exclusive? No, Imbert says, but it also won’t be returning to square one. “It will be a straight port that will include all the improvements that we have been working on so far on the other versions,” he explains. “The last update, for example, being that you can now choose to play the music from the Neo Geo CD version instead of the emulation, which improves the experience online and offline.”

Making an old dog do new tricks 

As reassuring as that is, the port to the Switch brings up an interesting dilemma that companies like DotEmu face. Porting these older games to newer, state-of-the-art gaming devices brings with it a slew of challenges, particularly in making the old games fit into the more modern video game spectrum. Imbert recognizes these challenges, even remarking about how Windjammers in particular surprised him in its undertaking.

“Adding online multiplayer to the project alone doubled our development planning,” Imbert says. “It has been really hard because we wanted to use GGPO the best way possible and create a real matchmaking system with leagues, revenge options, quick matches for training, etc. It was a first for us to push online multiplayer that far and, for the PS4/PSVita versions, we underestimated the time it would take.”

24 years old and still plenty of life to live is Windjammers

Windjammers and esports: perfect together

Despite that challenge, Imbert says the resources spent to make it happen were absolutely worth it, because online in WIndjammers was essential. “On the other hand, Windjammers is a perfect game for online competition, so it just made sense to implement it and how to do it. For the online multiplayer rules, we applied the ones that were used for community tournaments in arcades and gathered feedback and opinion from the best players in the world.”

That community got a chance to shine at this year’s EVO with the Windjammers Global World Disc Throwing Championships, and Imbert believes that this game could make a big splash on the competitive scene if given the chance, and there are big plans to keep Windjammers in the esports spotlight for a long time to come.

“EVO 2018 is the closing tournament of the first season of the Flying Power League: our official e-sports league for Windjammers in partnership with Smash.gg. We had official tournaments at more than 15 events all around the world like Winter Brawl (PA), Frosty Faustings (IL), SEA Major (Singapore), and Play by PAX (Paris). We had more than 800 entrants in total and $10,000 USD in cash prizes. We are currently preparing Season Two and we want it to be even bigger than Season One.”

The future of the flying discs

As much as keeping the original Windjammers on the scene is admirable, eventually fans might want a brand new Windjammers game instead, something made with modern technology for the current console generation. When we asked Imbert about that and how he would approach the idea, he was clear on what his goals would be.

"Windjammers already has all the necessary ingredients for the modern era of esports: It’s easy to pick up but very hard to master, it’s super fun and impressive to watch, you can understand instantly what’s going on without knowing the rules or the game, it’s great and easy to play locally or online and it’s non-violent. So if we were doing a modern Windjammers it would need to have the exact same qualities of the original title. The only thing it would need would be more content, like characters, stages, etc., new modes and a very solid online competitive experience.”

The future of Windjammers appears to be soaring like a well-thrown power disc, and whether or not that includes a brand new game remains to be seen. For more EVO 2018, check out our primer on how to watch the events of the weekend, as well as information on the first ever Twin Galaxies Fight Club.



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