I recently had the privilege to chat with the team behind “The Hand of Panda”, a Kickstarter game project that (if funded successfully) will be heading to the 3DS and hopefully the Wii U also.

Pure Nintendo: Please give a quick introduction to our readers, and let us know what your roles are on the project …

Ross Omland/Isaias Martinez: Well, Ross Omland and Isaias Martinez are both artists that worked on several titles for the Nintendo Wii and 3DS while working at eV Interactive. We’re the creators of “The Hand of Panda” and felt it was time to branch out from our employer and try to create something of our own.

PN: Given their absence in recent years, do you think a market exists for a game inspired by the bonus rounds in fighting games?

RO/IM: There’s definitely a market for it. If there’s a place for Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, then there’s definitely room for us. Many people are gravitating toward quick pick up and play experiences and we simply want to be a part of that.

PN: Do you have any particular favorite bonus round from fighters of old?

RO/IM: “Test your might” from Mortal Kombat left quite an impression on us mainly because of the increased difficulty as you continued through the game. I know of no other bonus rounds that do that.

PN: You had an earlier Kickstarter project trying to get the game on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. Why did you decide to change to the Nintendo 3DS?

RO/IM: There’s always a steep learning curve when first venturing out on your own, so after learning there were too many barriers to entry on both platforms, we decided to focus on consoles we had already worked on and were comfortable with as a stepping stone to something hopefully much larger in the future.

PN: You’ve worked with Nintendo hardware prior. For fans wanting to check out your earlier work, what are some games they should look at?

RO/IM: Well for games while working at eV Interactive, you should check out the Remington games: Super Slam Hunting Alaska and Africa. They were fun projects to be a part of.

PN: What are your thoughts on the 3DS hardware, both as a developers and as a gamers?

RO/IM: The 3DS is a double edged sword as it’s not very powerful, but can pull off some wonderful effects if you can work around the limitations of the hardware. While games can be a lot of fun on the 3DS, I wouldn’t recommend it as a starting place for developers unless you’re really great at tricking the player into seeing something more than what’s really being displayed on screen.

PN: If this game is successful, you’ve mentioned a Wii U version down the road. Will it be an HD port, or are you looking at it as more of a sequel.

RO/IM: We originally designed this game to be much larger than what’s possible for the 3DS. Once the 3DS version is out of the way, we’d very much like to do an HD overhaul, complete with more graphical effects, breakable items and new gameplay elements. It will be the same game, just a much more enhanced version fitting for the Wii U.

PN: Any final words you’d like to share with our readers?

RO/IM: We’re definitely not relying on Kickstarter for the success of our project, but it does serve to help speed up our development process. We’re very excited about our game and hope we can bring a really fun experience to those who loved playing the bonus rounds found in so many games that we’ve grown up with. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

Check out The Hand of Panda on Kickstarter!