PAG Exclusive: Feral Interactive talks Calico
One of the lessons we can take away from this is that Feral Interactive cares about you.
The U.K.-based publisher has been releasing excellent editions of excellent Mac games since before some of you were born, an impressive feat considering the relatively small Mac gaming base and the cold shoulder Apple throws it. A good example of Apple’s disinterest is the lack of multiplayer options you may have found when purchasing games through their Mac App Store—options that are available through Steam, GOG, etc.
Today, Feral has picked up the slack with the official launch of Calico, an online game-matching service for games purchased specifically through Apple’s Mac App Store.
Calico is a custom library built into Feral’s games that allows Mac gamers to play against one another online and enjoy the full multiplayer features of supported games. It currently supports standard multiplayer features, primarily game matching, friends lists and chats, achievements and leaderboards, with more functionality planned for future versions.
Leading up to the announcement, we talked with Feral about what inspired the creation of Calico, platform support, and the dedication of the Mac gaming community.
Public Access Gaming: It’s always disappointing for gamers when their favorite titles hit the Mac App Store without the multiplayer components of their Steam version. I imagine it’s disappointing for developers/publishers to have to cut it, too. Is that what brought Calico to fruition? Have fans been complaining?
Feral Interactive: We want you to have access to all the features in our games, so of course it’s been disappointing to have to drop multiplayer support from our Mac App Store titles. Rather than relying on Apple’s own multiplayer network, Game Center, we decided to take things into our own paws. We want gamers who buy through the Mac App Store to enjoy the same experience as those who buy through Steam.
There was never a great clamour of complaint from customers about lack of multiplayer support, though there was some puzzlement. Ultimately we didn’t create Calico because of complaints, we created it because it shouldn’t matter which channel you choose to buy Feral games through, be it Steam or the Mac App Store.
PAG: Considering Apple’s lack of support for multiplayer gaming through Mac App Store, have they been helpful with or supportive of Calico?
Feral Interactive: We haven’t discussed it with Apple, but hope they appreciate that we’re trying to do right by our mutual customers!
PAG: Calico provides a multiplayer service for Mac gamers, but it’s more than that, isn’t it? Considering Mac App Cats, #BeatFeral, and other initiatives, Calico is as much about bringing together the Mac gaming community as it is about getting more life out of Feral releases, right?
Feral Interactive: That’s right! One of our consistent aims is to help our customers get the very best out of the games we release. That’s not so much about getting more life out of our games as it is about making sure every customer gets the best experience from them. Plus, the Mac gaming community is smaller than on Windows, so we see it as part of our responsibility as a publisher to help bring Mac gamers together and grow the community. A more vibrant Mac gaming community can only be a good thing.
PAG: A handful of Feral games currently support Calico, either through online multiplayer matching or achievements. Is Calico a priority for upcoming releases, and are you considering retrofitting older titles?
Feral Interactive: All our new Mac App Store releases with a multiplayer element will be supported by Calico. In regard to retrofitting older games, that’s not a priority right now…but never say never.
PAG: And now that you’ve launched your first iOS title, will that also offer Calico functionality? I’m sure fans of ROME: Total War for Mac will be grabbing it up for iPad, too, after all.
Feral Interactive: ROME: Total War is primarily a single-player experience, so getting that right was our priority. While we’re not offering multiplayer support for the iPad version, we are open to looking at multiplayer if there’s enough demand and if it’s technically feasible! Requests are always welcome.
Our QA session with Feral ended there, as they’ve been busy adding support for titles such as Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War II® , Company of Heroes 2, XCOM 2, Medieval II: Total War and GRID Autosport. There’s plenty more on the way, of course, so head on over Feral Interactive now to set up your account and join the community. We’re ready to play.