Review Fix chats with Alan Flores (Lead Designer/Founder, Grind Core Games), who breaks down the fun, creative process and inspiration behind his new game, “Drums of War.”
Review Fix: How was Drums of War born?
Alan Flores: I’ve had this idea kicking around my head for a long time – ever since seeing the troll drummers in the Lord of the Rings movies, in fact. I was thinking that it would be a great feeling to walk around pounding drums like that … and fighting! I had previously worked on a PlayStation Move game (Sports Champions 2), so I was thinking controller-wise that might work. Then I sort of put the idea on the shelf, but it wouldn’t go away. So on Black Friday 2017, I went to the store and bought an Oculus Rift and a Rift-compatible laptop – and I spent the weekend coming up with a basic prototype. From there I just kept expanding on the core idea – adding strafing, drum stick hits, more enemies, more levels … eventually turning it into a full game.
Review Fix: Why do rhythm games matter?
Flores: There’s nothing quite like feeling the music. That’s why people like to go to live concerts. I’m about to go to one right now, by the way! Voivod is one of my favorite bands and they deserve their own game :) I think the deep connection that a player can get from a music rhythm game is the next best thing to actually making music. You get to experience it in a truly unique way.
Review Fix: What games inspired this most?
Flores: Well, I had worked on Guitar Hero for a few years – so that was definitely an inspiration. Beyond that, I would say Donkey Kong Jungle Beat for the drum-based locomotion. Overlord was also a big inspiration because you get to play a big fantasy bad guy.
Review Fix: What was the development cycle like for you?
Flores: I’ve worked on this for just under two years, and it’s certainly been up and down. I have collaborators to help me – but for the most part, this has been solo development. And it’s pretty terrifying to be working on something alone – unsure if anyone is going to care when it comes out. But I’ve been able to make the kind of game I want to make, so it’s been incredibly gratifying.
Review Fix: Any fun stories?
Flores: Some of the most fun parts of development were getting the guys from the bands Warbringer and Exmortus involved. We got to nerd out about games, metal, orcs, and dwarves. Conan from Exmortus even provided the voice of the orc player character!
Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy Drums of War the most?
Flores: It’s really targeted at anyone who is looking for a different kind of experience. There are lots of wave shooters and escape rooms in VR. And don’t get me wrong, those are some of my favorite VR experiences. But Drums of War is a really different kind of game – that and anyone who’s ever banged on stuff when they were a kid … which is kind of everyone?!
Review Fix: What’s next?
Flores: Early reception to Drums of War has been really positive, so I’m encouraged. If things go according to plan, I want to port the game to PSVR and Oculus Quest. I also plan on putting up a soundtrack edition of the game so you can buy it along with the epic soundtrack that Gabe Castro created.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Flores: Please check out Drums of War. Certainly, I think it’s awesome – but the reactions I get from people who put on the headset and then bang drums and blow up their first dwarf house is pretty gratifying. I think it’s an experience that a lot of people will love!