The frenzied co-op game Overcooked: Special Edition will be making its Nintendo Switch debut on July 27 with some additional goodies in the pantry. Along with the core content available in Overcooked on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, the special edition will feature two content packs: The Lost Morsel and Festive Seasoning.
In Overcooked, the party’s all in the kitchen. Players work together to complete recipes and achieve objectives. Its campaign mode can be played solo or as a couch co-op for up to four players, and it also features a versus mode where players can face off with two or four players.
This is the first release from developer Ghost Town Games, and its publisher is Team17. Since its launch in August 2016, it’s won several awards and landed on many best-game-of-the-year lists. I spoke to Phil Duncan, Ghost Town’s cofounder, ahead of the team’s Best Game win at the Brazil’s Independent Games Festival earlier this year.
In porting the game to the Switch, Duncan says that they looked to existing games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to tackle the challenge of designing intuitive controls.
“It was really helpful when Mario Kart came out, because that’s what we looked to, to see how they figured out things like taking the Joy-Cons off and having players drop in and drop out,” said Duncan in an interview with GamesBeat. “Obviously, that’s the one that most people are going to have experience with, so it’s a good thing to look at them and say, OK, that’s the standard, that’s what we should try and emulate in any way we can.”
Designing the levels themselves involved controlling the chaos and breaking it down into smaller elements. Duncan said a big thing was anticipating when players were getting into the groove and then disrupting that so that they had to communicate with their team members. Some levels, for instance, have objects moving around in the environment, while others borrow features from platformers.
“The big design task was actually the checks and balances of what we would restrict and what mistakes we’d let players make,” said Duncan. “To begin with, for example, you could half chop an onion and you could add that to a soup, but because it wasn’t fully chopped it wouldn’t count. Or you could add eight onions to a soup. All these little mistakes you could make, we gradually sanded off the edges to make it so the focus was more on your coordination rather than on the actual minutiae of building soup.”
Overcooked joins a slate of co-op indie games that are coming to the Switch this year. It’s part of Nintendo’s strategy of filling out its release schedule not only with their own games but those from third-party developers.