[email protected] is a game of endurance as you progress through dungeon after dungeon of randomly generated layouts in ASCII inspired fashion. It is a rouge-like RPG, so one life is all you get to test your skills. With multiple classes of characters to choose from and a unique leveling system, you are given all you need to slay whatever lies before you. KeenGamer have had an opportunity to interview Stormcloud Games, the developers of [email protected] and ask them about their creation, potential future plans, and more.
How long was [email protected] in development?
From Initial concept through to final release it was roughly 1 year 8 months.
The ASCII style of video games is a historic one, but what inspired StormCould Games to make [email protected] and reinvent the traditional design of ASCII games with this 3D version?
In truth, we wanted to work on something that inspired us as creators. We’re at this really cool point in the game development right now where people who grew up playing games are now making their own. I think that’s why you see a lot of nostalgic games, be that mechanics or art styles.
[email protected], and the style we went with, is a direct result of being inspired by games like Rogue, Brogue, and NetHack. We wanted to pay homage to these in more ways than just gameplay, and as such going with an ASCII art style just felt right and luckily, for us anyway, looks great.
How was the Unity Engine able to provide the right platform for you to build the game on?
Unity is great for prototyping and fast iteration. When you’re a new studio or working on a new game, being able to see and play something quickly is important. Ideas are great, but being able to play your idea and find out if it’s fun is critical.
By being able to quickly prototype and iterate, we were able to find the fun of the game quicker, cutting out cumbersome elements or adding new content to ensure the core gameplay was fun.
Did the game come out to be all that you had imagined it being at the time of planning and development?
I think so. We had a core idea and knew we’d need to play and refine it over and over. So I’d say we hit that core idea quickly, then spent a lot of time making it fun.
Is there anything you wish had been implemented into the game that maybe didn’t make it into the final retail build?
Hmm. A lot of people ask us for online multiplayer, but that would have blown our scope out of the water. Perhaps more enemy types, I’d love to see what else the art team could do.
Are there plans for any updates or additional content? Maybe online co-op options?
Oops, I gave the game away a little in the earlier question. No, no plans for online co-op. We understand people would like it, and it makes sense. However, during the initial development, online co-op would just not have been possible. We would either have had to make the initial game (single player) worse or somehow fund the studio for longer; neither was really an option at that time.
I think with online co-op you need to be *really* careful. So many games add in online or multiplayer mechanics, and they either don’t work at launch, or you wonder what could have been if that time was spent on making the core gameplay better. I think looking back on it, if we had the same choice again, to add multiplayer or make the core game better, we’d make the core game better 100% of the time. Sorry multiplayer fans!
If you were to add online co-op, would you set your sights on making it random game joining, invite only, or both?
Hah, we’d never thought of it at all. I’d say invite only, but maybe random could work also.
Is there any chance co-op play will one day include a third or fourth person?
Although [email protected] is not a story-driven game and may not exactly call for a sequel, will there be any kind of new ASCII-styled projects in the works from StormCloud Games?
When you finish a project, I think you’re always ready to dive back in and make it better. But sometimes having something else take your focus for a while is good. You can refresh, learn new things and be creative in different ways. Look at Uncharted to Last of Us. I think being able to do something fresh, with the knowledge you can come back to your original IP later, is a strong motivation for developers.
Do you have anything you’d like to say to the readers, or last thoughts about [email protected] and upcoming StormCloud Games projects?
Firstly, thanks for having me 😀
Thanks to everyone who read the article, I appreciate your time! [email protected] is out on PlayStation 4 via the PlayStation Network and you can get it right now! 😀
KeenGamer thanks Stormcloud Games for their time and making this interview possible.
For more [email protected] content check out our review and giveaway (Hurry! It ends up in 3 days!).
[email protected] is out on PlayStation 4 and can be found on PlayStation Store.