Me: Hey guys! I'm looking forward to getting inside your heads. Literally. No, not literally. Tell me, what got you into Video Games to begin with?
Simone: My first contact with video games was when I was pretty young. Back then, I always loved to play Creatures for C64 and Flashback for Amiga, but should I choose one of my favorite in my gaming past I would definitely go for Final Fantasy VII. That game was the beginning of my love for the RPG genre. Nowadays, I don't have a specific preference, it may be related to the fact that I don't have much time for playing, now that we are so focused on our game.
Me: I've seen Rune Lords and I'm getting amped just thinking about it. It seems to be a Virtual Card Game with RPG and Strategy elements. Would you mind telling me more about it?
DS Studio: Rune Lords is a card game with a new combat system, designed with the mobile audience in mind. It counts over 60 cards divided among six elements. You have to build a team of five cards, with a maximum of one card per element. Then you can fight your opponents by drawing runes and custom gestures on the screen to activate the card's skill. The basic concept is kinda similar to the other card games you can find in the store charts; collect, level up and evolve your cards.
What makes Rune Lords really stand out, is that you actually have to do something during your match, victory is not just one click away. You need strategical thinking to prepare a good card setup and the ability to use the right skills and as many of them as you're able in the ten seconds allowed to draw the runes.
Me: Sounds like your studio did their research. The interactivity is crucial, in my humble opinion. I know personally, I would rather have to perform actions in-game as opposed to just drawing, placing and waiting. What are some of the other features of Rune Lords?
DS Studio: The game will allow both a single player and a multiplayer mode. In the single player part the player will be able to move freely on a map. He can choose to follow the story going from a location to another, test himself against random encounter or scripted events while gathering currency, cards and items to improve his team.
The multiplayer will consist of a PvP Arena with monthly rewards. Each match will be live and each turn will be synchronous, so both players can plan their choices and their actions will be executed simultaneously.
Me: Will there be a chance for Asynchronous game play for the folks who have limited time to PvP with? And will there be any cross-effects of playing both Single Player and PvP Mode?
DS Studio: So far the PvP is live and synchronous and seems to work well enough. We handle the multiplayer with Google Play Service, so for accessing PvP a G+ account is needed, but making one is really 3 tap away. The PvP offer some bonus to the team's stats and this may affect single player also. While single player is important since it offer currency and loot to upgrade your team.
Studio: Well, in this aspect we may also have a different approach than other card games on the market. The "energy mechanic" will be used only for the single player mode, while you can have as many battles as you like in PvP. I think this is an important difference, many of the current card games for the mobile market come from Asia and they bring with them a mindset and a cultural background that really doesn't fit the western players. That's why we choose to go with a hybrid approach.
The game will have a social aspect as well. You can use cards of your friends to help you in battle and ask other players for help to defeat particular enemies. We are already planning for both a clan and a raid feature to be released later on. The nostalgic and beautiful pixel art, that's even a current fashion amongst indie, set up for a unique experience engaging older and new players from all over the globe. The game will be released for Android first and following up for iOS.
Me: GameMaker. Construct. Indie Game Maker. Game Factory. These software titles are bringing ease of access to Designers and Developers who might not have had a voice in the Indie Scene without them. Clients and Websites dedicated to house the prolific amounts of titles are popping up on a monthly basis. Is this going to create a Bottleneck for Indie Devs to try and get their product to the public?
Fabio: Yes, and you forgot to mention Unity, but I don't think it's a bad thing, it’s the opposite. The more easy tools available to the people, the greater the chance to see new ideas on our favorite medium. While the hobbyists, or, not-serious game developers will gradually leave, some rising star will come out. After all, Spelunky, Hotline Miami and Super Crate Box and many others were done with GameMaker and countless wonderful games have been done in Unity3D. The only true problem will continue to be the ability to market yourself and be discovered.
Marc: I feel that Indie Developers that are pure hobbyists with zero industry experience/connections will tend to get lost amongst the myriad of similar stories out there, one in a million might get a 'hit' but after that they're likely to be hired/bought by a million-dollar corp or forgotten altogether. As far as I can tell, the successful Indies who have broken out and become noticed by the general public whilst maintaining their independence have had industry experience and sometimes on some huge games. The reason they became Indie was to do things their own way without any of the drawbacks of working for the million-dollar corporation they used to work for - these people will always have a place within the industry. To be successful and get noticed it is about experience and contacts so it is usually better to cut your teeth at a big studio then go solo afterwards. Big studios will always get the limelight with their Triple, or even now Quad-A, games, but more and more people are looking for something different from their games and not many of the big studios will take the risks needed to innovate and this is where Indies can thrive -by being original and pushing the creative envelope.
Me: And what does that mean to those Indie Games going up against so many Triple-A titles?
Manon: The Indie Scene doesn’t need popularity to make the most out of it, the passion is not found in the number of sales, but in the heart of the developer. Of course, here I’m contradicting two basic needs for any Indie Developer. One is recognition, to receive appreciation for your art, and the second is money, the necessary evil to be able to continue to make your art. The root of those problems lie in the ability to market yourself, make yourself known and reach everyone who would be interested in your work. The indie scene would really flourish if it could break the convention of major companies having the control over the majority’s thoughts. Compare it to the top 40 in music. What songs are in the top 40 is decided by the major record labels who own the artists that are in there. We need our own top 40, controlled by users, and the ability to promote it just as well. I think The Pirate Bay promoting Indie Music Artists on their front page, was a step in the right direction.
Me: I'd like to end the Interview with a fun question. If you could work on any project, new or old, what would it be and why?
Fabio: That's a hard question to answer. In the Triple A industry there are many titles I would have loved to be part of and each one for different reasons. Final Fantasy VII, it's a masterpiece, it's one of my favorite of all time. It would make me feel part of a true piece of videogame history. World of Warcraft, the vanilla one, not the expansions. It opened literally a new world to millions of people, refreshed a genre and brought it to the mainstream and I'm a Blizzard fan from Warcraft, the first one, so I'd probably work gladly on any of their first games. Still, I love to be an Indie with the freedom to virtually work on any project I want. The ability to do this is priceless.