Review Fix chats with Nate Weiss, owner and developer at Wizard Fu Games, who discusses the Action RPG and his hopes for it. Inspired by Zelda and Metroid, it’s a unique experience designed with a ton of passion by a one-man dev team. Songbringer will be releasing on Xbox One and PC on September 1st and PlayStation™ 4 on September 5th.
Play as Roq, a space-faring planetary surveyor who wakes up shirtless on a strange planet. With the help of your robot companion Jib, it’s your job to save the universe from the ancient evil army you’ve accidentally awoken. Only by exploring the harsh world of Ekzerra, mastering the dungeons and defeating its fearsome bosses will you unlock the secrets of your own power and return the galaxy to peace.
Songbringer is an action RPG inspired by the original Zelda games with real-time combat, a wide range of weapons and a ton of hidden secrets. World maps are generated from a six-letter world seed, which determines the layout of the overworld and dungeons.
Review Fix: How was this game born?
Nate Weiss: It was a rough time. I had spent all my money and ran up credit card debt on my last video game, which flopped and was quite a disappointment. It flopped because of a lack of marketing. Thus, I began to learn how to do some grassroots indie marketing via Twitter, Twitch, Youtube, etc. This led to doing a Kickstarter which succeeded and Songbringer was born.
Review Fix: What was development like?
Weiss: It’s been incredibly rewarding and challenging developing a game of this scope solo. It’s challenging to get all the things done that normally a team would handle: programming, art, music, sound effects, business decisions, marketing, emails, social media, demo-ing, expos, quality assurance, etc. It’s rewarding because of how satisfying it is to have so little friction between the conception of an idea and its implementation.
Review Fix: What makes this game special?
Weiss: It has the feel and bespokeness of a 2D Zelda-structured game, yet is procedurally generated, allowing for surprises every time you start a new world. It also allows you to solve problems in multiple ways. There is no one linear path. There are many paths to success.
Review Fix: What games influenced this one the most?
Weiss: The Legend of Zelda, Crystalis, The Secret of Mana, and Super Metroid.
Review Fix: Any thoughts on releasing on the Switch? Especially considering the success of a game like Kamiko?
Weiss: Would love for this to happen. No solid information as of yet.
Review Fix: As an indie studio, what do you think you guys do differently than the big studios?
Weiss: Well, indie studios can be more flexible and less committed to a particular way or design document. I personally dislike design documents as they tend to put a project on a railroad. What if halfway through the journey you would like to take a slight detour into those beautiful mountains? That can’t happen if you are stuck on the railroad. Bigger studios tend to require things like design documents so that everyone can be on the same page.
Review Fix: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Weiss: The Kickstarter succeeding and seeing people lined up to play Songbringer at PAX were really fun moments for me.
Review Fix: How does this game disrupt the video game landscape?
Weiss: It seems like gamers lost faith in procedural games recently. Hopefully, Songbringer reignites some of that. I believe that if procedural is done well and it is not over-hyped, it can be a beautiful thing as it creates an ever-changing landscape. Being surprised is something I cherish.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy this game the most?
Weiss: Probably those that are into action RPGs, the action adventure genre, Zelda-inspired games, 2D gameplay and/or pixel art.
Review Fix: How do you want this game to be remembered?
Weiss: Hopefully some players will remember it as one of their favorite action RPGs. Hopefully, some game developers will remember it as an example of how it is possible to mix bespoke elements with procedural game design.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the game?
Weiss: To make enough cash to make the next game.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Weiss: Songbringer will still require full-time work for at least another six months. There are updates planned and believe it or not there are still many things left to do in order to prepare for the September 1st launch.