Interview with Sanctum 2 developer Coffee Stain Studios
Having reviewed both Sanctum 2 and Super Sanctum TD, I was given the opportunity to work with developer Coffee Stain Studios. Sanctum 2's third DLC, titled The Pursuit, releases this Friday on Steam, so I Skype called Armin Ibrisagic, game designer and PR manager, to talk a little about the DLC and the future of Sanctum 2.
The Pursuit will take place immediately after Sanctum 2's second DLC, Ruins of Brightholme. I asked Armin why Coffee Stain Studios wanted to continue with the setting of Brightholme, to which he replied, “We've always liked that setting. It was something we used in Sanctum 1. For example, maps like Mine has a dark art direction. So for DLC two, we wanted to show a bit of the slums from one. In DLC two, you wound a really big titan monster. So in DLC three, you'll be chasing after the titan, activating cores to get the monster into a place you want it to be in.”
So this time around, you're on the offensive, chasing down the wounded titan. You won't be doing so without some new weapons, though. “The drone launcher's primary fire shoots drones that automatically seeks out their targets, and the secondary fire detonates them so they do massive damage.”
Sounds like a pretty cool weapon, and he said players have been suggesting and asking for new weapons (like a portal gun); so I asked him how they come up with the weapons and towers – are they to fill a need or just fun stuff that they've come up with?
“It's a little bit of both. When we developed the first weapons and towers, they were basic ones. Shotgun. Assault rifle. We need a basic shooting tower. Stuff like that. But now we feel with the DLC we can go a bit more crazy. Like the mine control spire, which is awesome. Or the drone launcher, which is like a portable aircraft carrier. We can go more crazy with the weapons now.”
And then there's the towers, which are also getting some really cool additions. “The friendship tower works like this: if you have two towers next to each other, and one of the towers is in range to fire on an enemy and the other one isn't, then the other tower can transfer its damage to the first one. So they kind of chain their attacks together, and it also looks really cool when they shoot. So the friendship laser links together to increase damage. While the mine control spire takes over an enemy for X amount of seconds and has it fight for you.”
I asked if there would be another class added soon, and he said, “Just from a developer perspective, a character takes more resources. We can release perks that give players tons of customization options, but one character is an equal amount of work as an entire DLC. So we wanted to focus on releasing a lot of new perks, weapons and towers, but it is something we really want to do.”
It's not easy to keep towers and weapons balanced, though. As a first-person shooter blended with tower defense, it's vital to make sure that both are equal. You don't want one to be overpowered. Armin said that “it's something we've focused on throughout the development of the game and DLCs. It's supposed to be 50-50 as a tower-defense-FPS-hybrid game. It comes down to which perks you pick. If you pick weapon perks, you'll do more damage with that. If you choose tower perks, your towers will do much more damage. It's up to the player. We've found that it should always be easiest to play as 50-50.”
Super Sanctum TD
I couldn't end our conversation without bringing up Super Sanctum TD, a retro-style tower defense game that's recently gaining some recognition. So I asked him a little more about it and how it came to be.
“It was actually a pretty small project we started at first. We thought we would finish with it in a couple of months and it would go really fast. But then we fell in love with it and worked on it more and more. Now we've developed it for maybe a year and we're still patching it up and working on it. We really love that game and hope that it gets more acclimation, because it's been pretty low-key since we've released it […] We thought it would be fun if we gave it away for free for the Sanctum 2 launch, and then it kind of disappeared while we launched Sanctum 2. We've reworked it now, and we're going to try to get more people to see it because it's really a great game.”
Since I love Super Sanctum TD so much and consider it a hidden gem, I was eager to know if they have plans to bring it to mobile.
“Yea, like, 90 percent of our comments are 'we really like this, can you make it for iOS?' So, I can't promise anything. I can only say that we're looking at it. We're looking at what we can do and how we're gonna port it,” said Armin. “I can't give you a specific date, but I can say that we agree, it would be a really cool game to play on your tablet or iPhone.”
DLC #3 The Pursuit is coming to PC via Steam this Friday. If you own Sanctum 2 on Xbox 360, they don't know if the DLC would be coming to it. They are porting DLC #1 and #2 to Xbox 360 right now, so if those sell well, they'll consider bringing the other DLC. There will also be a fourth DLC, as was promised with the Season Pass.