Review Fix chats with Daniel Szodruch – Co-Founder, Game Designer and Composer for the fun indie, old-school RPG, The Quest Giver. Detailing the game’s creation and even sharing a few development stories, Szodruch lets us know exactly why it’s a cool game.
Review Fix: How was this game born?
Daniel Szodruch: It was born by simply playing RPG games and asking ourselves: how much effort must it be to be a quest giver, to gather all the knowledge necessary to write profound quests, to keep track of what has been done and what needs to be done. But most of all the game was born, because we felt like no one has ever asked that question before.
Review Fix: What has development been like so far?
Szodruch: It’s been a rollercoaster ride. We actually started working on “The Quest Giver” about four years ago, before we even released our first game. But soon we realized that we were far to unexperienced to create a project this complex. So we put it on ice soon after we started. But now, four years and a released game later, we felt ready for it.
In the recent development we had to think over many design decisions, each time we realized that something we decided on, would collide eventually with another decision. This happened a lot in the past year.
Review Fix: What makes this game special?
Szodruch: Not the game itself is special, but the idea, and the opportunities you have within the game.
The gameplay is a simple point and click system, known from various adventure or management games. The idea is special, because it takes on the classic fantasy setting from a new perspective, a part in RPGs that hasn’t been played before. We want to display that part as realistic as we can (as far as realism can go in a fantasy setting), which means the game won’t help the player be a quest giver at all. It will merely offer the tools.
Review Fix: What games influenced this one the most?
Szodruch: As a matter of fact, the games that are most commonly associated or compared with our game, are games we haven’t played (prior to development), such as Recettear or Shoppe Keep.
The games that actually influenced us to have the ideas are numerous RPGs, but of course also games like: The Guild, My Life as a King, Dungeon Keeper and also Civilization.
Review Fix: As an indie studio, what do you think you guys do differently than the big studios?
Szodruch: We aim to think outside the box, and we allow ourselves to think outside the box. The big studios are all afraid to try something new, to break with traditions, or to not let themselves be restricted by norms. We strive for “restrictionless” ideas, which is also hidden in our company name: rest.less Games “rest“ is short for “restrictionless”).
Review Fix: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Szodruch: More of a wild moment. We signed up for a small convention that was held in our city, to showcase an early version of our game there. The evening before, we meant to put some finishing touches on the version, when our server crashed. We never really figured out what happened, but we had lost a huge amount of progress and had to revert to older versions. We then spent the whole night rebuilding what had been lost, but of course due to the time pressure we made a lot of mistakes. One hour before we had to be at the convention (about 7 o’ clock in the morning) we still didn’t have a bug free version, so we had to call and cancel. We went home very sad and very tired.
Review Fix: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics like the ones in Classic games in new games is important?
Szodruch: Personally I don’t think so. I think games with entirely new mechanics are very interesting, and also very important. They expand our horizon in terms of game experience.
Why we stuck to classic game mechanics is because: firstly, the game is taking on a classic genre and we want the player to feel used to it or maybe a bit nostalgic, and secondly we didn’t want the game mechanics to have too much of an impact on the immersion of the world. The player is encouraged to think about the world and the content, instead of thinking about how the mechanics work.
Review Fix: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
Szodruch: That would probably the night I “turned into” a gamer. I had borrowed “Final Fantasy VIII” for Playstation 1 that day and started playing in the evening. I was around 13 years old. The game blew my mind in a way I had never experienced before and made me forget time. At 6 o’ clock in the morning my mom came in only to find me still awake and playing. I didn’t even notice it was already morning and it was my first time ever to pull an all-nighter.
Review Fix: How does this game disrupt the video game landscape?
Szodruch: I’m really hoping it serves a motivation for other developers to look at other genres in a similar way “The Quest Giver” looks at RPGs. And it might encourage players to be wanting more glimpses behind “genre curtains.”
Review Fix: Who will enjoy this game the most?
Szodruch: Fans of the roleplaying genre, old school gamers, Pen & Paper gamers, fantasy fans, and fans of management simulations.
Review Fix: How do you want this game to be remembered?
Szodruch: We want it to be remembered as something new, as something funny, as something you’ve played a lot, and as a typical rest.less Games product.
Review Fix: What are the goals for the game?
Szodruch: The in-game world could be ever-growing and we mean to let it grow. We have a whole lot of ideas for game enhancing mechanics and expanding content. The version we plan to release in the 2nd quarter of 2018 will merely be the basic game, for which we can then create updates, additonal content, and improvements. For the additional content we want to work with the community and realize their ideas and/or wishes.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Szodruch: We have many game ideas in our drawer, but will stick to the two projects we already have in 2018. This means creating content for “The Quest Giver,” but also reworking our first game “Wait.”
We want to make it accessible for a wider range of people, as it is currently only available for PC.
We haven’t communicated this yet, but we plan to increase the platform variety and maybe more (which is not yet to be revealed).
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Szodruch: We’re very thankful for all the help, advice, and support we got from other indie developers and we really want to encourage all “indies” to stick together.