By Josh Speer / February 13th, 2016
Review Manager Josh Speer recently had an opportunity to talk with Black Forest Games, the team behind Kickstarted run-n-gun game Rogue Stormers (previously known as Dieselstörmers). The following is a transcript of that interview, with questions in Bold.
How drastically would you say that the game has changed from the original version? In your opinion, has it all been positive changes?
BFG: Rogue Stormers was – and still is – a side-scrolling run’n’gun at its core. It’s what we added to it that makes the difference. Originally, we designed the game to play like an Action-RPG. You’d crawl “dungeons,” find loot, weapon parts which you used to modify your weapons, or build new ones from scratch. You also gained experience and perks which advanced your character. It was a sound concept, but as the development progressed, we realized that it wasn’t enough to keep the game interesting. We also faced serious balancing issues where people would be able to build doomsday device-like weaponry. In the end, it wasn’t the right mix. Then we played with the idea of adding rogue-like elements. We realized it would change the game to some extent – but it would still be the core gameplay. So last year in January we released a beta version and let both games run side-by-side for a while. In May, we dropped the legacy version and concentrated on the rogue-like elements. It just fit, like the arcade shooters of old. From then on, we continuously improved and developed the game. Is it a drastic change? Not at its core, but it led to a better game in the long run.
Are you upset about the name change? Or do you think Rogue Stormers fits better than Dieselstormers?
BFG: We’re disappointed. After all, we spent more than a year to build and strengthen Dieselstörmers as a brand. It was meant to reflect the setting as our take on the Diesel Punk genre, set in a medieval era. The decision caught us with our pants down. We could’ve fought, of course – but that would’ve meant a lot of resources to be spent in court. In the end, we decided that these resources are better spent on the game and changed the name.
The decision to name it “Rogue Stormers” was for pragmatic reasons: We wanted to stay close to the old name and logo design, in order to maintain as much recognition as possible. And it definitely references the changes we did to the original game design, and it has a ring to it.
Before you made this game, did your team have any experience with making this genre of game?
BFG: Originally, when the game was conceived as a side-scrolling RPG, it directly built up on our expertise with RPGs (the Arcania games) and side-scrollers (the Giana games). The shift to a more rogue-like focus was, let’s say, a leap into new territory. Luckily, we have several avid rogue-like fans in our team, who are excited about the opportunity to create our own entry to the genre.
Which class of character is your personal favorite? Which would you say is best for beginners?
BFG: The easiest characters to play are Brecht, Stabbygale and Presto – in that order. They have a relatively high rate of fire and are easy to aim. Camille and El Cazador are a bit tricky – you don’t have the luxury to spray your fire slowly towards your enemies – you need to pick your target before you move the stick and be sure of where the shot will hit. Also, you need to have a good sense of timing to know when to shoot.
Having said that: My personal favorite is Stabbygale. She’s deadly at close range and her Ripsaw ability makes sure she can pull them to point blank range at will.
Any plans on other Kickstarter projects in the future?
BFG: We haven’t decided yet.
Do you feel the inclusion of secondary weapons makes the game more or less balanced?
BFG: Compared to our original idea of a weapons crafting system, where doomsday device-like weaponry was possible, we think that the step towards secondary weapons is easier to maintain and better to grasp. It improved our control over the property combinations of weapons, offering a more interesting and diverse experience compared to the one winning combo the game previously gravitated towards. We kept many of the original weapon attribute combinations in the game, but they are now spread to secondary weapons, perks and random power ups.
Do you feel the market for indie game makers is better now than it was when you launched Rogue Stormers?
BFG: The market, especially on Steam, became much more challenging with the number of games being released every month literally skyrocketing. Still, we believe that as a studio with a grown fan base and being able to release a high quality game with visuals very few indies can deliver has a great chance to reach many passionate gamers.
Any last words you want to share with fans of your games?
BFG: Keep feeding us feedback. Tell us what you like, what you don’t like. Report bugs you encounter. Help us make a great game. And tell your friends. 😉
I’d like to thank Black Forest Games for their time and Strangely Compelling for helping set the interview up.
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