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GoNintendo Interview - Gears for Breakfast talks about bringing A Hat in Time to Switch!


After what seemed like a less-than-zero chance of A Hat in Time coming to Switch, developer Gears for Breakfast let loose with the surprise Switch port news yesterday! Following up on that, we had a chance to talk to Gears for Breakfast's Jonas Kærlev about the port, how it came to be, and much more. Check out the entire interview below!

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GoNintendo: How hard was it to keep this announcement a secret?

Jonas Kærlev: Oof. Really tough! We've been super excited about developing all this fantastic new content for A Hat in Time, as well as making the game available on the Nintendo Switch. We've even slipped up a few times, and accidentally leaked some hints about the DLC in our game updates. It's been weird having to both keep pushing game updates, while keeping the DLC and Nintendo Switch release a secret!

GoNintendo: Back on Feb. 5th, 2018, the official Twitter account clearly stated that A Hat in Time was not coming to Switch. Was that true at the time, or were you throwing people off your scent!?

Jonas Kærlev: Haha! While making games, there's frequently times where you're unsure if something is going to become a reality. This goes for features as well as platform releases. Hitting a certain performance benchmark is hard, and if you can't hit it, you can't ship. At that point in time, it wasn't set in stone at all, it could go either way. So we decided to just shut down the rumors, so that no one would get their hopes up, in case we couldn't deliver. Luckily, we were able to deliver a Nintendo Switch release in the end!

GoNintendo: How does it feel to be bringing the game to Switch?

Jonas Kærlev: It feels fantastic! It shouldn't come as a surprise that us at Gears for Breakfast are big Nintendo fans - I mean, A Hat in Time is just straight-up a love letter to some of our favorite Nintendo adventures. It's a big honor to be on the system.

GoNintendo: Will this be the same as other versions, or is there bonus content?

Jonas Kærlev: The Nintendo Switch release is very much the core A Hat in Time experience! We're releasing the new Seal the Deal and Co-op DLC for PC, and once that's over with, who knows what we'll tackle next.

GoNintendo: Does the Switch version benefit from updates made to the other versions since release?

Jonas Kærlev: Yes! We're bringing over some quality-of-life features and additions that the PC release has received since launch! We think this is definitely the ultimate on-the-go A Hat in Time experience.

GoNintendo: Did you guys truly believe it would be impossible to bring the game over to Switch?

Jonas Kærlev: Yes - and we still can't believe it! The fact that it happened is a miracle. A Hat in Time is running on a really old engine that can't be updated easily. The engine was never really designed for newer console generations, and it took an incredible amount of effort to get it running on modern hardware!

GoNintendo: What made you decide to give it a shot?

Jonas Kærlev: During A Hat in Time's development, we had toyed around with a Nintendo Switch release but concluded that it would be exceptionally tough, way beyond the scope of a small indie team like ourselves. The game and its engine just wasn't designed for the hardware - we had given up hope! Luckily, we were able to get a lot of help and advice from other developers - without their help, we wouldn't have been able to make it at all!

GoNintendo: Can you detail the insane amount of work/effort it's taken to bring the game over?

Jonas Kærlev: Absolutely! Platforms are extremely different, both in their advantages and feature set. What runs fast on PC, doesn't necessarily run fast on consoles, and vice-versa. Imagine the difference between the Nintendo Switch and an old-school Nokia phone - it's a completely different set of hardware, and that has a huge impact on the feasibility. When we started making A Hat in Time, it was with the mindset of it being a PC-only game, so we picked the best engine fit for PC, and designed the entire game around PC.

In general, PCs have really powerful CPUs, so we put a lot of the performance burden in A Hat in Time on the CPU. But consoles are completely different, utilizing a strong GPU to carry the weight. You have to completely redesign the foundation of your code in order to move the code over to the GPU, it's a complex and non-trivial task. It's been a lot of work, and it took us almost a full year to reach this point where we're able to deliver the full A Hat in Time experience on all platforms, including the Nintendo Switch!

Expecting small indie teams to bring their games to a new platform is unreasonable, its a lot of hard work that usually requires a team of veteran developers. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate that we were able to overcome this challenge and bring A Hat in Time to the Nintendo Switch!

GoNintendo: What has been the toughest part of the porting process?

Jonas Kærlev: Performance by far. The easiest step is always to get a game to "run" on a new platform, the hard part is to get it to run well. It all boils down to the hardware being so different, an inescapable reality of PC and console development.

GoNintendo: What are the tech specs? What does the game run at docked/handheld?

Jonas Kærlev: Great question! The game runs 720p at 30fps, and It has the full list of post-processing effects, motion blur, depth of field, etc., it looks fantastic! The experience is definitely the pure A Hat in Time adventure, with some extra updates, upgrades and fine-tuning on top! In handheld mode, the resolution is a little lower, to match the smaller Nintendo Switch screen compared to a giant TV.

GoNintendo: Any final words for Switch fans who held out hope this long for a port to finally happen?

Jonas Kærlev: It's definitely been a journey getting A Hat in Time on the Nintendo Switch, and we're super happy with the result! I think its pretty clear that we're new to all of this, and that we're a small team, so we're still actively learning. Making A Hat in Time available on more than just PC has been a huge learning experience, and we hope we can bring future titles to more platforms as well! We hope you'll enjoy A Hat in Time at home or on the go, on the Nintendo Switch!

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Huge thanks to Jonas Kærlev for giving us the opportunity to talk about A Hat in Time for Switch! We'll be sure to keep you all updated on the port's progress as info becomes available.

Comments

Top Rated Comment
vexchaneu
Tue Aug 21 18 06:37pm
Rating: 6

Good job on the interview.

vexchaneu
Tue Aug 21 18 06:37pm
Rating: 6

Good job on the interview.

"Imagine the difference between the Nintendo Switch and an old-school Nokia phone - it's a completely different set of hardware, and that has a huge impact on the feasibility. "

What a comparison, he's trying to make.

Tue Aug 21 18 06:57pm
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

Not buying their ‘shutting down the rumors’ excuse.

He sounds like he's constantly trying to bypass the fact he said never.

Agreed. It was probably more like "Hell No I'm not bringing my game to the NINTENDO Switch!!" glances over at the success stories of indies on Nintendo platforms then looks at the Switch eshop to constantly see Celeste, Overcooked, Stardew Valley, and many others constantly in the top 20.

"Oh did I say I would NEVER bring the game over? No I was just shutting down rumors! We were always planning on bringing A Hat in Time to Switch since day 1!"

Fair play GoNintendo for getting this interview. One thing they didn't say though is whether the Switch is going to get the new DLC.

vanshadow
Tue Aug 21 18 07:31pm
Rating: 1

It's not, they specifically said that the DLC is PC only

Btw I'm not buying their excuse about not porting it sooner

They said for now on the DLC. I'd imagine if it sells well on Switch, it'll get it eventually (though I'm still not that pleased that it's not getting it now...)

Wow, I really hope they aren't baiting people into buying both with that.

yeah ok, they did beyond "shut down rumors", they were entirely antagonistic about the whole thing. Something bit them in the ass.

zoso187
Tue Aug 21 18 08:12pm
Rating: 2

I'll probably get this if it gets a physical release.

Yes, i hope that too. But with the DLC already on it. It sucks to have a physical release but the DLC will be released later. A retail release should always be the full game.

It's annoying that so many shitty games get a physical release on Switch but we alway have to hope to get great games like A Hat in Time get one too.

marl0
Tue Aug 21 18 08:22pm
Rating: 1

Ouch, that's disappointing to see that it only runs at 720p 30fps in docked mode. I'd be okay with 720p if it meant getting 60fps, but 720p 30fps is a tough pill to swallow. If I ever get the game, I may have to settle for the PS4 version (which also runs at 30fps sadly, but at least it isn't 720p).

giant_reggie
Tue Aug 21 18 09:33pm
Rating: 3

Great interview!

Now waiting for the announcement of the Switch exclusive sequel - A Beard in Time starring RMC.

I'll pass. The game is extremely overrated and i dont really want to support this dev.

I wonder if Jonas - or as I know him, MechatheSlag - will ever go back to working on his custom TF2 gamemodes now that AHIT is out. Fun times in Parkour Fortress and TF2 WarioWare; I remember when he first took the hiatus to work on his own game and thought the whole "hat" part of the concept was just more TF2 humor.

A bit sad that the game isn't 60FPS considering it's not the most technically advanced game out there but like they said they're not a big powerhouse developer and the game wasn't developed with the platform in mind at all so I can accept that they did their best. I mean from what they're saying the game will run about the same as Crash N.Sane Trilogy and that's a more technically advanced game... though maybe less open, that helps.

Ah well, I'm not too clued up about that, I'm just happy to get the game on my gaming platform of choice. I'm getting it ASAP. I just want a physical release, that's all.

hawk
Wed Aug 22 18 12:22pm
Rating: 1

So the DLC isn't headed to Switch (at least for now) but what about the Co-op update and other stuff that was coming to the PC for free? I'd really like to play local co-op for this game, and it's better to do that in my living room with a Switch, rather than on PC.

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