We’ve been able to steal some of Senior Producer, Kevin Leathers precious time to bombard him with questions about developing Nordic Games’ latest serving of the ridiculously popular We Sing franchise, We Sing 80s.
Hi Kev, thanks for letting us steal you for a few minutes!
And thank you for having me.
So, how long have you been part of the team at Wired Productions?
I have been part of the Wired Productions team, from the outset, for four years, and I have been in charge of We Sing development for the last year.
As Senior Producer, what is your role with regards to the We Sing games?
As Producer, my role with the We Sing series is to make sure that we maintain the high levels of quality that the series is known for, as well as managing and maintaining our relationship with developer Le Cortex and publisher Nordic Games. Not only that, but also establishing and maintaining the relationships with the many record labels that we have regular contact with for licensing the songs that appear on the We Sing games.
What has been the biggest challenge with We Sing 80s and with the We Sing franchise as a whole?
Choosing and licensing the songs can be the biggest challenge for a We Sing game. There are many songs that we think should be in a game, including personal favourites and generally songs that just plain rock. If we could, we would put them all in, but after all the “heated debates” about why Spandau Ballet are a better fit than Duran Duran, it eventually comes down to a few key factors, including, what can actually be licensed from our thoroughly researched list of songs, performance and global appeal. Music licensing can be challenging, but when you get a track list full of hits, and a really fun, appealing game, the rewards are very satisfying.
What is new about We Sing 80s?
Well, the big new thing is quite obvious in the title of the game. This time we are focusing on the great music of the 1980s. It was a decade very much defined by its own unique sounds and many flamboyant artist, we aim to do that justice with We Sing 80s celebrating one of music’s most iconic and well-loved decades.
Since the first game launched in 2009, the We Sing series of games have been ridiculously popular, what is it, do you think, that makes them so endearing to gamers?
I believe We Sing’s popularity comes from both its simplicity and accessibility. While the aim of the game is to see how many points you can earn from how well you sing, it’s designed to allow even the more challenged singers to have a good time. Everything can be accessed straight away, and with the ability to have up to four singers at the same time, those that are a little shy when standing and singing in front of others have the pressure taken off of them. This makes it a much more fun and comfortable experience for everyone.
What game play feature would you love to add to the We Sing series of games?
I would love to add DLC (Downloadable Content) to the We Sing series and we know it is one of the features that fans have been crying out for. We haven’t been able to do it up to now due to the limitations of the Wii, in terms of storage size and download limits, and also in getting the balance of quality to match. Though you never know what will happen in the future.
The 80s are such an iconic era; we can’t stop revisiting the fashion, the music, the culture! What do you think it is about the 80s that makes it such a memorable and iconic decade?
The 80s was so unique in many ways, that I think it endears itself long in the memories of those that witnessed it first-hand. For the younger generation, as you say, there are so many 80s references in much of today’s music, fashion and culture. It’s a period that definitely lends itself to a party and we’re hoping We Sing 80s helps people relive the fun and flamboyance of that period.
What’s your favourite song on We Sing 80s?
Do I have to choose one? It has to be Queen – I Want to Break Free. You can’t have a good karaoke session without a bit of Freddy Mercury.
What song do you wish could have made it onto We Sing 80s?
If I could I would have had the 80’s classic, ‘Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors’ theme tune. ( http://youtu.be/hLU1GfIIGLE). Oh you want an actual song? I would have loved to have some Guns ‘n’ Roses – Paradise City in We Sing 80s. This has to be one of the classic songs of the 80s and in rock as a whole.
We all know you’re far too young to have witnessed the 80s first-hand, but, who is your favourite 80s artist and what’s your favourite 80s song?
Hey, some of the greatest kids TV comes from the 80s! ;) There are some obvious ones like Duran Duran, The Human League, Frankie Goes to Hollywood that could be reeled off, but if I had to choose I would have to say Madness. They were a band that was never afraid to have fun with their music and also their videos. It is something that is genuinely missing in a lot of bands today. My favourite song has to be ‘Our House’, which again, was a fun, light-hearted song.
So, what’s next for We Sing and for Wired Productions?
Unfortunately I can’t go much into too much detail about what’s next for We Sing, we have to keep some surprises. What I can say, is that we are working hard on the future of the franchise and hope that what we have in store will delight and surprise everyone at the same time. For Wired Productions we are currently working on our first PlayStation Vita title Let’s Fish! Hooked On, that’s something I am very excited about.
We Sing 80s is out now, produced by Wired Productions.