Coming to PSN this Week: Fret Nice

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We haven’t covered Tecmo‘s Fret Nice on the PlayStation.Blog, and here we are…two days away from launch. So we’re trying something a little different here. Fret Nice is coming to PSN/PS3 this Thursday, so Producer Ray Murakawa and Creator/Designer Mårten Brüggemann provided a back-and-forth interview with all the details you’ll need when it hits later in the week. Hope you like it!

Ray Murakawa (Fret Nice Producer, Tecmo) – Everyone’s going crazy here for the release of Fret Nice. It’s been a treacherous road up to this release date, but everything came together better than expected wouldn’t you say?

Mårten Brüggemann (Creator/Designer of Fret Nice, Pieces Interactive) – Rock On!

RM– To commemorate the band’s new release and to get a bit into the Fret Nice spirit, we’re gonna rock these paper Fret Nice face masks for this interview, cool?

Fret Nice Customization

MB– What?

RM– OK, you get the Hairbänger one and I’m sporting the Maja one. I’m usually the only one around the office wearing this thing so just roll with me on this one. And NO you don’t have a choice. Marvelous. Since we’re now in true character let’s start this blog off with a little background on Fret Nice. A lot of groupies wonder “Music game or not?” Well, Fret Nice is musically endowed, but it’s an action platformer with a cool new mechanic that’s played with a guitar controller or any regular controller. And no- this is NOT a rhythm game! So how did this twisted idea come to be?

MB– The game actually started as a degree thesis project and as that aimed at looking into the concept of adding an unorthodox game controller into an ordinary game genre such as the 2D platformer to see what benefits could be drawn from the new way of controlling the game. Although the game has since evolved to being not so much about the academic side of things, the guitar controller and what it can be used for in its new context has always been the essence of Fret Nice’s design.

MB– You having trouble breathing in this thing?

RM– NO. We’re rolling bro. The game definitely keeps its retro roots, but playing with the guitar controller really takes it somewhere new. It takes patience at first, but once it seeps in, you begin to notice the advantages of being able to pull off quick riffs.

MB– One important point while designing the game around the guitar controller was to never lose the feeling of actually using a guitar for controlling the game and that it, in this case, would be the ideal choice of controller. We in fact wanted the game to be played like a rock song, and from that the attack system of the game, The Riff Combos, are derived.

RM– Riff combos get really intense on some areas of the game. There are some instances in the game where I need that quick strum to rock my way out of a danger zone- You sadistic designer you!

MB– The Riff Combos focus on a part of music playing that is usually non-existent in existing music games. The games that are normally played with the guitar controller or dance mat games have their focus on rhythm based interaction. In Fret Nice we wanted to add the improvisation part of music, and the Riff Combos combined were a perfect way to explore this.

RM– Good point. Fret Nice is not a traditional music game because your success isn’t rhythmically tied to the music, but how well you freak the combination of notes to attack enemies. How about those of us who were born on the wrong end of the musical gene pool?

MB– Fret not, no need for any musical experience as the magic Riff Combos will always play in tonality with the background tracks. The Riff Combos will always blend into the rest of the soundtrack.

RM– That’s fantastic! No musical “skillz” required! Not that I lack in this department… The game still feels good with the regular controller. It’s a slightly different game from that perspective as well.

MB– It’s getting kinda itchy behind this mask man.

RM– I feel nothing. Let’s get back to the game Mårten.

MB– With the console version of Fret Nice one goal was to make the game playable with a normal gamepad as well, to include players that don’t own guitar controllers, or just to make it easier for players to gather enough controllers to play cooperatively with a friend. When playing the game with a gamepad the player also expects the controls of a platformer to behave a specific way, and this also led to some tweaks in how the game was played with a guitar. Both controller types have their advantages over the other, the guitar being tailored for the music-based Riff Combos and the conventional gamepad stemming from the conventions of the platformer, but none of them should totally outdo the other.

RM– We should also mention that not all Guitar Controllers are built the same. You can change the sensitivity of the tilt motion in the game to compensate for some controller mechanics, but if you have a GH Guitar Controller- pull that one out at the top of my list.

Fret Nice Controller 1 Fret Nice Guitar 1

RM– So explain to me the style of these crazy masks we’re wearing. What compels a man to think hipsters chasing furballs would turn out to be a cool game?

MB– The art style of Fret Nice is a greatly stylized version of the real world with a touch of crazy randomness. The presentation of the world and its inhabitants is inspired by traditional cutout animation made out of paper. Fret Nice mixes 2D and 3D in an unconventional way to create a fresh look. Colors are the strongest tool to express the mood in the world and it’s creatures are simplified but very characteristic.

RM– I think that wraps it up for this installment wouldn’t you say? The game is available on PlayStation Network on Feb 4th! Plug in and rock out!!! I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on these masks! The different gear, instruments, hairdos, you know I’ve been growing out a mustache hoping it’ll boost my Fret Nice skillz!

MB– OK, I’m done with this mask thing…

Fret Nice Screenshot 18

Comments are closed.


  • Woow this looks like a good game.. i’ll buy it this week tho i’ll probably be busy with White Knight Chronicles.. the art style look amazing for this game

  • Obvious question: What’s the price?

    Nice to see more variety in the PSN offerings.

  • kinda like viewtiful joe – nice!

  • Visually excellent and looks like a lot of fun. Just hope the regular controller controls works just as well, because I’ve never really gotten into the guitar side of games. I’m a singer first, so that’s my choice and rhythm games where essentially it’s simon says never appealed to me.

    This looks like it’s just using the ability to play with guitar, basically showing that it’s a versatile controller, but not necessary. Hope I’m right.

    • Works just as well with a regular pad. The game\’s actually easiest to adjust to with a pad if you\’re not much into guitar. There is a trophy for being skilled on guitar though!

  • Ummm, i hope they release a demo first.

  • @6: Agreed, but they should be releasing demos for all of the games like Xbox does. Any company that believes in their product would be glad to have a demo, IMHO.

  • What an odd looking game.

  • It looks cool, I like the art style. Will there be a demo? Price? Online co-op?

  • Looks pretty sweet, I do hope there is a demo though to try it out before I decide to purchase it. :)

  • Tecmo’s really branching out lately- a puzzle game, a 2D platformer, a dark shooter. I’m actually quite impressed with the serious amount of risk-taking being done while other developers rest on their fortes/laurels. Kudos to Tecmo! =)

    • Thanks! Risk taking is not cheap, as you know so please support the risk takers and indie devs out there trying to change the game! If anything, DL the demo and voice yourself.

  • Off topic, I have a question for Sony…

    Why is it that Sony published games almost always gets their release dates wrong or provide the incorrect information to retailers? White Knight Chronicles is suppose to release today, yet no retailer has it in stock. Many stores (Best Buy, Target, GameStop, Kmart, Walmart, Toys R Us) keep telling me the release date is tomorrow – Feb 3.

    What does Sony do differently that confuses the retail outlets and consumers when compared to other publishers? I understand there is a shipping date and release (or street) date, yet it seems that SCEA and retailers are not in agreement to which is which.

    If this were to only happen every once in a while, it would be passable. As stated earlier, this is not an issue that happens only on occasion. It happens nearly every SCEA published title.

    Please fix this for the love of God.

    • Can\’t speak for every title, but this is not always on 1st party\’s end. Marketing will blast out the release date based on when all parties involved are able to deliver a date. If something goes wrong like crazy bugs are found during certification or one of the parties decides to change the date then things become derailed. There are so many steps to getting a title out the door and everyone needs to be on the same page so if one thing uncontrollable goes wrong everything crumbles. Can\’t just go out and blast 1st party for any of these inconsistencies. Who knows, the recent storms could have blown that delivery to bits!

  • “…two days away from launch.”

    Sooo, I’m assuming you have determined a price? Is there a demo?

    “with all the details you’ll need when it hits later in the week.”

    O’rly? … looks like you missed a couple important details for your customers.

  • Couple of questions:
    1. are the audio assets 24-bit ad/or lossless? will the audio output over HDMI as LPCM without a re-encode cycle?

    2. does the game render @ 1080p native? what kind of AA does it use, if any?

    3. local co-op? easy to filter the leaderboards based on friends?

    I agree — it’s nice to have some experimental content on PSN again. I haven’t bought anything except Hustle Kings in a few weeks, as I’m still waiting on Blue Toad Murder files.

    • Avatar photo
      Mårten Brüggemann

      Wow those are some pretty technical questions, but here goes:
      1. Super MP3!
      2. Super 720p! Quadruple AA!
      3. Scoreboards can be filtered on friends, both for single player and co-op!

  • why would anyone buy it when noone responds to our questions? and there are some good questions in alot of the previous posts!!!

  • Will there be a “lefty flip” option? Us leftys sometimes get left out in the cold….

  • What a crappy video, can’t even tell what is going on as it changes scenes every half a second. Whoever made that video needs to stop making videos….forever.

    Sounds like a cool game, but can’t tell from the video. Video actually makes me suspicious and not want to bother.

  • After reading this post and watching the trailer, all I can say is: “What?”

  • Great art direction!

  • looks very interesting…i agree that the vid could have shown more from on scene and not change every second but i get the idea…all i have to ask is price…altho chances are more than likely i will get it no matter what…looks like a nice casual game..just what i need to hold me over to HEAVY RAIN…oh and btw demo next week(for HR that is(and not that everyone did not already know i’m just pumped)

  • @13

    Theres something you dont understand i think, its like this for every company. In the case of White knight chronicles, the release date is Feb 2nd but they are probably shipping them to retailers the monday so it might takes some times to get to retailers. Some people will be able to get their hands on in today some wont because of the distribution.
    As for ‘big’ releases they shipped it way before the release date so retailers have them in the back-store but cant sell them before the release date. Thats why you can get your hands on it the day it releases and dont have to wait for shipping process.

  • Looks fun, and I’ve been waiting for someone to make a new style of game using the guitar controller… that will be awesome. Just do me a favor and don’t try to massively overcharge as has been the trend lately.

  • @plaztiksyke (15), do you really expect lossless audio and 1080p w/AA in a PSN release? If so your expectations are way too high for something like this.

  • Fix the mouse over on the video!!! It is hard to watch any video on the blog when you try to move the mouse out of the way it resets the vid. Fix it PLEASE….

  • Hahaha looks insane… in a good way

  • Looks cool but I’m confused. I’d have to wait for reviews or something. Looks like a great concept though.

  • WOW! looks very inovative, but i hope it has a demo so i can try it. and price?

  • I’ll try the demo but the video doesn’t really sell me. Is there any more info?

  • 1080p native? 24-bit and/or lossless audio?

    Need to know if I’m going to buy :)

  • Sorry, $15 is past my price point for stuff like this. $10 I would have done. I guess I’ll wait for a sale. PSN inflation is leaving me behind.

  • Wow what an awesome way to structure a blog post. I’m done purchasing games off the PSN to build up my other console libraries. If they are coming to the other side than I will check this out over there. Seems like crazy fun.

  • 15 bucks, ugh…I gotta think about it. There’s ALOT of games coming out in the next few months and my wallet is already getting killed

  • I play Sonic 06 with a guitar when I’m bored and its actually pretty fun.

  • Can I use my old wired GH1 controller with this game?

  • This game looks like what would happen if Guitar Hero became a platformer and had South Park like parody music.

  • @36-
    I can answer that by saying no…

    Anyway! The game looks awesome. Honestly, i don’t really understand it that much. I’ve collected every rhythm game on the PS2 since launch as far as i know. Everything from FreQuency, Amplitude, to Mad Maestro, to Guitar Hero, to the DDR games. This game definitely interests me. I’ll check out the demo and decide. 15 bucks IS pushing it a bit though… i mean, i could go grab Mirrors Edge for 9.99 right now.

    • Thanks for the interest in the game. Fret Nice is not a rhythm game but more a action platformer with love for all things music.

      I can also rent Mirrors Edge for cheaper than 9.99! Or get a fat stack off burritos for even cheaper:)

      Seriously, if $15 is too steep, please check the demo.

  • I have no idea what I just watched, but looked fun.

  • Is this demo a trail and key?

  • LMAO! Creativity? No! those graphics look like a 9 year made this stupid idea omg! Sony you are so boring! Lmao stupid can only be the answer for this! Jezz where is your so called next Generation games?.This is definitely not even close to it LMAO!..

    • Most 9 year olds I know come up with some amazing stuff. So I take this as a compliment! The file size limit and cost/profit margin don\’t allow us to offer the next generation technology for download games yet. If you\’re expecting to get a $60 game for $15, then your out of luck for now.

  • Man, I love to see publishers taking chances on weird, wonderful ideas. I can’t wait to try this. Good job, Tecmo.

  • I’ll try the demo, but $15 seems a little too much

    • Like I said earlier, skip the $15 pizza and go top ramen tonight. You\’ll have more fun, and there will be more pizza for the rest of us!

  • @ #40 SNAKE-EYES73: Hey genius, Sony didn’t make this game, Mårten Brüggemann, Pieces Interactive and Tecmo did. Also, I’m pretty sure it will also be available on the 360.
    You don’t like the game, thats fine, but at least read the blog post before making a lame attempt at trolling.

  • trolling is that how you kids talk back today seriously mind your own business if you don’t like my opinion tough luck then.Tecmo’s creative idea?.that’s sad the game looks horrible what are they trying to do bring back 8 Bit graphics all over again…Lame..

  • I rather play 2010 Demos not crappy junk like this lol.. Jezz..

  • Snake-Eyes, don’t knock it before you try it. I tried an alpha of it a couple years back (on the PC; I found it on CreateDigitalMusic), and it was killer fun. Seriously, I never thought the guitar controller would work this well with a platformer, but it does.

  • @ #44 SNAKE-EYES73: Why don’t you make me mind my own business? My point was, you were talking crap about Sony over a game they didn’t even make. It’s not my fault your too dumb to read the blog post, and its not my fault you have bad tastes in games. Whenever I see you or someone else say something stupid, I’m gonna say something back. I could care less if you like what I say or not. And I find it extremely funny that you called me a kid. You saying ‘omg’ makes you sound like a 12 year old girl.

  • A platformer where music plays a major theme WITH chibi-ish graphics? I’m SOLD, instant purchase the moment the store updates! We need more love from Japanese developers and I’m all for supporting it. Keep em comin’, Ray!

    • No doubt! Thanks for the support. Pieces Interactive are a bunch of well dressed geniuses from Sweden. Check for these guys in the future…

  • eeerrrgh. I want this game so much, but that price tag…! It just might end up being the first $15 dollar game I actually buy with my own money :< The art style is way, way too cute, and I didn't even know that this game was going to come to PSN! I always thought it was just some XBLA XNA game.

    • We would be honored to be your first:)

      Oh no! We all feel that quirky unique titles like this one are a perfect fit on PSN.

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