Swords and Sorcery...
Italy is the home of many wonderful things, from historical buildings that helped shape the world we live in today to magical arenas of wonder such as the San Siro it is without doubt one of the most important countries on the planet.
Whilst many people may believe that all games are made in places like Japan or America Europe is indeed the home of some amazing talent including a thriving diverse and rich indie scene. Heralding from such early machines as the Commodore C64 and Amiga line it has to this day produced many studios that deliver incredible gaming experiences. Megatron takes a virtual trip to one such indie developer to get the scoop on their very first Android game and get to know it's creators.
RGG: Firstly thank you so much for agreeing to chat to us, it's so much fun getting to know members of the indie development scene and helping to promote them and their work so to begin with in your own words tell us about yourselves and your studio please.
Fabio:- Hello RGG, thanks for having us. DS, Dragon Slayer, Studio is an independent game developing team, founded earlier this year by me and my long time friends, Johnny and Simone. The name of the studio came natural to us since it was the name of our clan in the game Starcraft nearly 15 years ago, where we achieved a top 3 national ranking. DS Studio's first priority is to do something we always dreamed of doing since our childhood and to bring some new flavour to the mobile gaming market.
DS Studio consists of experienced as well as novice members. Everyone is working remotely and with a daily job on the side, so keeping up with this project is really a matter of will and passion since it consumes all of our free time. Or as my wife like to point out, everytime she has the chance (laughs).
The studio now consists of five members.
Fabio Cadario, that's me, one of the co-founders. I take care of the game design and creative direction. I also keep in touch with the community. I'm basically a jack of all trades with previous experience as a freelance designer for different kinds of apps.
Johnny Picciafuochi is one of the most experienced members and also co-founder. He has worked for GlobalFun as a programmer for the last eight years, which has proven to be very useful for the development of our current game.
Simone Verde is another co-founder and a novice in game development. Together with me, he takes care of the game design and monitors the testing sessions. He has experience as a tester as well as a modder.
Manon Dreijer had only one year of experience before joining us, but her pixel art was already at an impressive level. Before joining DS Studio, she has worked as a freelancer on multiple mobile games.
Though he is no a full-time member, Marc Greenwood he's definitely part of the team. He has graduated this year with a degree in audio production & composition. Since then, he has worked on a couple of games in UK.
RGG:- Tell us briefly about the game your working on right now, what's it's name, the genre and a quick story.
Fabio:- Sure, Rune Lords is our first project. It's a typical card game in that you get to collect, level up and evolve your cards. Cards are divided in six elements; air, fire, water, death, life and earth. Each player can form a team of five cards using only one card per element.
Rune Lords will feature both, a single player mode, where players will be able to find lootables that will improve their teams, and live PvP, 1 on 1 matches that will reward everyone based on how they performed over the "Arena Season". Hopefully, after the initial launch we will be able to add clan and raid features, depending on how the community will respond.
The game will be F2P with in-game purchases, but we'll stick to an approach where nearly everything will be buyable through in-game currency also. So if you're prepared to put in the necessary time, you can sidestep payment almost entirely. This is something we know most people want; the option to fast track or to play at your own pace.
RGG:- What are the hardest things about being an indie games developer?
Fabio:- I think, for us, it's the time commitment since everyone has a day job and some of us also a family. Organisation can also be difficult, since we're all working remotely. Luckily, we have no problem with time zone differences, since we all live in Europe. Even with these difficulties, I would say this is an amazing experience.
RGG:- How much of an influence (if any) do retro games have on what you do?
Fabio:- I think every game developer of our generation has its foundation on, what we now call, retro gaming. We started to dream of becoming game developers while playing on a C64 more than twenty years ago. From there on, every console and PC game we played shaped our actual view on game development.
RGG:- Who are your influences and on what level, personal or as a studio?
Fabio:- We are not really influenced as a studio, but we are indeed at a personal level. The recurring names that come up while chatting with the other team members are Bioware, Square, Konami, and many others.
RGG:- If we were to kidnap you and take you to a desert island what 5 games would you take with you?
Fabio:- This is a hard question since our team consists of five people, so I made a single list with one title for each one of us. Final Fantasy 7, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a collection of the Sierra adventures, World Cup Italia '90 and Legend: Son of the Empires.
RGG:- So.... Mario or Sonic?
Fabio:- Nearly a clean sweep : Mario , forever ! Marc goes with Sonic instead.
Well after seeing some of the concept art for this new card battling game I have to say that i'm very impressed with what these very talented people have done so far and I absolutely cannot wait for the finished game.
The pixel art is just incredible and even if the game itself is not from a retro concept the obvious nod to 2D sprites is there for all to see. Also the fact that they are making a game for IOS and Android that is something more than a free runner or tower defense makes me very happy.
When you see some of the games chosen from the desert island question you can tell these are people who are steeped in classic games after all Fabio mentioned the Commodore 64 computer, for that alone DS Studio's get huge respect from everyone at RetroGameGeeks.
We look forward to more from these guy's and will bring you all the review of Rune Lords as soon as we possibly can for now though have another look at this sprite art because wow.