Last month I played and reviewed a unique twist on arcade soccer called Retro Goal. The game was developed by BAFTA-winning studio New Star Games, the masterminds behind hit games like Retro Bowl and New Star Soccer. Retro Goal’s intuitiveness, fun gameplay, and excellent presentation surprised me. It kept me underwater for several hours.
Since reviewing the game on the Nintendo Switch, I’ve been curious to hear the design philosophy and inspiration from the team at New Star Games for Retro Goal. I caught up with New Star Games Community Manager, Mark Baldwin, to discuss Retro Goal’s art style, gameplay, and more. He provided exclusive insights into the game’s design process, art style, soundtrack, and upcoming updates.
Retro Goal is a unique arcade game destined to succeed
Q. What was the inspiration behind the development of Retro Goal?
To mark: We keep coming back to soccer video games and trying different things each time. We feel like we’ve learned a lot from our experiences with New Star Soccer and New Star Manager and given the success of Retro Bowl we thought it was time to do a proper tribute to the football games of the ’90s, that we all grew up with .
Q. Did your previous project, Retro Bowl for Nintendo Switch, influence Retro Goal?
To mark: There are many influences. In the past, Simon Read (Founder) stated that games like Emlyn Hughes International Soccer had a massive impact in terms of gameplay. But graphically, other games like Man Utd Europe and Kick Off 3 got us going. The overall design was of course inspired by Retro Bowl. We learned a lot from the development of the game and carried a lot of that into this project, especially in dealing with the different control methods that Switch offers.
Q. In the age of photorealistic graphics and over-the-top gameplay mechanics in most modern video games, including annual sports titles, what was the inspiration or reason you went with the “retro” art style?
To mark: That’s how we like to make games. If you look at all of our titles, they have simple, engaging gameplay, but with tactical and role-playing elements not typically associated with sports games. If one looks to older games for inspiration, it’s clear that these still endure in gameplay. There seems to be a real public interest in retro games. Perhaps gamers are fed up with the style-over-substance approach to sports games.
Q. I found the Retro Goal soundtrack to be one of the highlights of the game. How did you and your team come up with the soundtrack?
To mark: We cannot praise the soundtrack. Music is by City Guys and licensed through the Pterodactyl team. It was pre-existing music that City Guys had composed as an imaginary soundtrack to an imaginary ’90s football platform game. We thought it just seemed to fit our game well and we loved it.
Q. Another notable aspect of your game was the humour, be it in the naming of the clubs/teams or the players themselves. How did that come about?
To mark: Humor is difficult to get right with incredibly quirky British humour, so it was important not to overdo it and to make jokes that were fun rather than laughable. But to be honest, a lot of fun things come from random lists. For example, each player is given a random first and last name, along with a random hobby and trait. Sometimes these amusingly string together.
F. Retro Bowl is playable on PC via Poki. Is there any chance that we can play the game on PC and other console platforms besides Switch i.e. PlayStation or Xbox?
To mark: It’s too early to tell at the moment. But we’d love to see our games reach a wider audience.
Q. Back then, couch co-op or offline co-op was one of the biggest draws for me to play EA Sports’ FIFA games. I understand that Retro Goal is a much, much smaller project, but I would have liked to see co-op in the game. Do the guys have any plans for a co-op add-on in the future?
To mark: We get asked about it a lot, but we have no plans for a co-op mode in the game. We want to focus on making this game a great single player experience.
Q. Are there any plans for DLC or post-launch updates for the game on Nintendo Switch?
To mark: Yes, we have many plans for Retro Goal. We’ll have a soon”world titlemode for the Switch. This free update includes 32 national teams competing in group and knockout stages and should be available before the end of the World Cup. We also plan to have more updates for next year’s Q1 and will announce these plans in the new year.
Q. If you could go back in time right before the game’s release, what would you like to change about Retro Goal?
To mark: In an ideal world we would have had the Global Championship mode in the game at launch, but we’re thrilled with how the game has performed and how it’s been received by press and players alike.
Retro Goal is one of the most unique football titles I’ve ever played. From the old-school graphic style, which reminded me a lot of the soccer titles on the NES, to the game’s intuitiveness, making it a perfect go-to soccer game for a casual fan of the sport like me, I was impressed by the overall quality of the game . All Switch players should explore this title, especially those interested in sports titles.