While PlanetCricket’s mostly focused on the major console releases, the biggest cricket games market is on mobile phones, with thousands of titles on the various app stores vying for your attention. An upcoming release by Nautilus Mobile looks to set itself apart from the other mobile games with a distinctive 2D style and claims of being able to put a realistic cricket game in a small package. We took some time out of his busy schedule leading up to release to interview Anuj Mankar about his company’s project.
PC: Firstly, can you introduce yourself and Nautilus Mobile to PlanetCricket – what experience do you bring to making cricket games?
AM: We are an independent mobile game studio based in Hyderabad, India and I am the CEO & Creative Director of this little ship. We started just a year back in March 2013 and released our first title – an action RPG called “Song of Swords”. This title went on to win the Nasscom’s People’s Choice Indie Game of the Year award. We also received acclaim from Yourstory.com who presented us with the Mobile Spark 2013 award.
There are about 3-4 of us from our small overall team of 8 who have actually worked together on mobile cricket game which released on the Symbian and Blackberry platforms back in 2011 called Ultimate Cricket 2011. I designed that game, and our Art Director at Nautilus was the one who created the character design and animations. Our Lead Programmer for Real Cricket 2014 was actually the one who looked after the ports of Ultimate Cricket and helped get it compatible on over 1500 handsets of the time. Ultimate Cricket was a very successful game and we hope we can deliver a much more superior and exciting game with Real Cricket 2014.
PC: Calling the game ‘Real Cricket’ sets up quite a high standard – what do you see as the largest mistake other cricket games – particularly on mobiles – have made that this one corrects to make it ‘real’
AM: When we started Nautilus a year ago, our first statement of intent was to create high quality games – something that our users would enjoy playing and something that we would take pride and enjoy delivering. Our intent with Real Cricket is no different, infact our efforts and determination is greater considering it’s majority of our team’s favorite sport.
With the wheels in motion for release, the publisher of Don Bradman Cricket 14 is currently giving the game a ‘world tour’ of sorts, with meetings with retail buyers in various countries to demonstrate the game and start building momentum for the game outside of what has already happened in its home market of Australia. Sam, admin at IndianVideoGamer.com, was able to go along to play the game in Mumbai and has been revealing a few details about the game in the discussion thread on their forums.
Probably the largest bit of new info is that the game has been resubmitted for console approvals – allowing Big Ant to include the previously mentioned Day One patch content on the disc, rather than as a downloadable update. While not much is known at this point about what things besides bug fixes are to be included with that, the news is good for those who have consoles that aren’t connected to the internet. The resubmission should be just a technicality given the game was already approved, but there is the potential that this decision could see the game release later than the currently planned end of March window on Consoles.
In India specific information, no distributor has been chosen yet, which means there’s no information on pricing and availability at this point. One of the distributors told Sam that they expected that console pricing would be around 3,499 Rs. however no information on PC pricing or physical distribution is known and nothing is confirmed at this point.
Sam has posted a short review of the game on the IVG forums saying,
Oh, please forget everything every previous cricket game has taught you. This is a whole different ball game. Your success in batting and bowling depend largely on your simultaneous use of both analog sticks. There’s a steep learning curve, which is great because in Ashes 09 and ICC 2010 you were owning the AI at max difficulty within hours.
Also, the HES rep said he’s been playing the career mode about 6 hours a day for 18 days, and he’s currently 4.5 years into the career. And it’s a 20-year career. So this is one long career mode.
Career mode starts with you having to pick an Aus domestic team or a English county team, but like pretty much everything in the game it can be customised. So you can replace one of the County teams with a Mumbai Indians team from BAC and start with that.
I was really impressed by the insane amount of customisation in the game. You can actually start a ODI match at midnight and have it finish at 9 in the morning. Then you can alter the powerplay rules (how many powerplays in an innings, how many overs per powerplay, how many fielders allowed outside the circle), how many max overs each bowler is allowed, how far the boundary rope is. It’s pretty crazy.
In addition, he has made a longer post about the Career mode, which you can read here, as well as some more general comments on fielding and commentary. There might be more after this post goes up, so keep an eye on that thread for more.
While he wasn’t able to record video on the day, the posts might add a bit more context to some of the videos from the Australian premiere, as well as answer some of the technical details that came up since.
Kevin Pietersen has been included in England’s provisional 30-man squad for March’s ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. The batsman’s future in the national team has been cast in doubt in the wake of England’s humiliating Ashes whitewash, with some reports claiming team director Andy Flower is prepared to drop Pietersen from the Test side.
While KP has been named in the initial World Twenty20 squad, the 33-year-old is still not guaranteed to be included in the final 15-man squad that will travel to the sub-continent after England end their tour of Australia with three T20 matches, in a series many Betfair punters will be writing off the tourists.
With Stuart Broad captaining the side, Jonathan Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Scott Borthwick, Tim Bresnan, Michael Carberry, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root and Pietersen are all included from the Test squad that was embarrassed 5-0 in the Ashes, in a result that shocked many Betfair fans.
The 2010 champions will be hoping to head into the tournament in some sort of form after such a gruelling winter. The Ashes humiliation will have had an impact on the whole of England cricket, but a successful showing in Bangladesh could go some way to rebuilding the damage left by the Ashes.
Lancashire’s Stephen Parry is the one surprising inclusion in the squad. The left-arm spinner has only made six first-class appearances in his career, establishing himself as one-day specialist for the Red Rose.
England will have to be at their best if they are going to replicate their 2010 triumph in this competition. After being drawn in a group against New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa and a qualifying team, the Betfair odds highlight just how tough a job England face in their bid to come through a tough pool stage.
In November a team that was already fundamentally broken attempted to deliver a product that appeared to be more about money than cricket. The product in question was unable to replicate the basics properly; blighted by runouts and crazy overthrows it was stuck with one difficulty level and one way of playing. Suffering from staff departures throughout the project, new and inexperienced workers were brought in but they too were found to be not up to the task. Yes, the England cricket team were here for the 2013/4 Ashes.
I wrote many times that we would win the Ashes. I noted that if our batting clicked into place we would win as it would give our bowlers consistent opportunities to defend totals of competitive substance, rather than defend totals in desperate attempts to stay in the game. Consistency was a key, as was self-belief, balancing experience and upcoming players. Fortunately, this time around it occurred and it proved the theory, finally.
However, having stated this I will also be honest that I did go into this Ashes series with few expectations, reserving this execution of a winning recipe to be handled by our team day by day. No expectations creates a better platform for a team with a new coach reigniting the concept of pride and fun for the players and supporters. I kept this in mind and now in hindsight I am glad I took this approach with my writing in the build up to this series.
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