Kickstarter Interview: Comic ConQuest: Rise of the Hoarder will have you step in the role you’ve always fantasized about
If you’ve ever been to, heard about, or even seen a picture of a comic convention, you’ve seen cosplayers in their natural habitat. These men and women have perfected the art of creating costumes to replicate an outfit from characters in comic books, movies, television shows, anime, and video games. The amount of craftsmanship and raw skill that goes into creating these costumes, accessories, and hair styles is absolutely phenomenal. Take a moment and think of the unrealistic and unbelievable outfits that some of your favorite animated characters – yeah, people actually make those.
Now imagine the comic con scene went catastrophic.
Attendees piece together whatever's lying around to make a makeshift outfit/armor and go defeat the evil that has ruined the con. Suddenly, road cones, football helmets, scrap metal, and whatever else you can find becomes the armor of legend. This is the premise of Comic ConQuest: Rise of the Hoarder. Deck your character out in comic book, sci fi, or fantasy duds and go to town on evil. Don’t go alone, though; build your party, mix genres, collect loot, upgrade, and level up!
Comic ConQuest is a tactical, party-based RPG game. This free-to-play title will be available on web, iOS, and Android platforms early 2014. The developers, Sleepy Giant, are boasting regularly scheduled monthly updates to keep things fresh and balanced. On top of all this, seven of the world’s greatest professional cosplayers have been working with the team and will be in the game as characters you can add to your party. Their massive knowledge of the art of cosplay and extensive geek knowledge pushed this project in a powerful direction.
I can tell you’re interested. That’s great! Currently, Comic ConQuest: Rise of the Hoarder is on Kickstarter and is ripe for your backing. I had the privilege to ask some questions to the Sleepy Giant team about Comic ConQuest. Jeff Matsuda (Executive Producer and Featured Artist), Daniel Witenberg (Product Development Director), and Mike Ryan (Design Director) all teamed up to answer these questions. Check out their Kickstarter page, check the game out, read the interview below, and support the project!
What exactly is Comic ConQuest?
Jeff: Comic Conquest: Rise of the Hoarder is a party-based, tactical RPG. You fight your way through an apocalyptic con, picking up loot and smashing enemies with weapons like an inflatable Mario mallet before they smash you.
Where did the idea for Comic ConQuest stem from? How long have you had a project like this in mind?
Jeff: I've actually had an idea like this bouncing in my head since the first con I attended many years ago. I would see all these cosplayers waking around brandishing enormous axes - swords as big as my oldest son - and think to myself, if a fight broke out in here, it would be awesome. The actual idea was proposed to me in my first meeting with Sleepy Giant. They showed me the concepts for a role-playing game set inside of a con, and I gushed for a bit. Then I signed on before they could say “just kidding.”
What games inspired you for this project? What art styles inspired you?
Jeff: There are so many art styles that I respect, and I feel we’ve brought many of them to this project. I've been in comics, animation, movies and games for over 18 years, and some of each have been crammed into this game. My own art style is a mix of so many things - Japanese shows like Kamen Rider, Mazinger, Gatchaman, Western comics influences like Michael Golden, Mike Mignola, Alex Toth, Bruce Timm, Joe Mad and Claire Wendling. In this project, we're injecting all the things I learned from comics - aspects of the characters that we've all loved since we first bought comics from the 7-11 on the corner, or back in the day when we waited in lines around theaters that were barely bigger than our living rooms.
Do you plan on adding multiplayer elements? If so, in what ways?
Daniel: Right now the game isn't really multiplayer, but you can use your friends' characters in your squad, which will give advantages (over using a stranger’s characters). However, we are talking about some additions to the game that will allow players to put together a squad of characters and play against each other in PvP arenas, which will be a lot of fun. We'll be able to do that even sooner if our Kickstarter really takes off, so every pledge helps!
Mike: We originally wanted to include multiplayer in the initial release of the game, with both cooperative and competitive modes. In order to keep things achievable in a sane amount of time (and money), however, we trimmed back to focus on making this a great single-player game. Having said that, the game's asynchronous co-op mode is critical to the design: You basically borrow characters from other players in the community to fill out your party (and other players borrow yours). Down the road, we still hope to add a PvP mode (or several) to the game, but first things first!
Will there be cross-platform play across PC, iOS, and Android?
Daniel: Indeed there will be. Once you've got a game account, you can play on any device on which the game has been installed, and you can pick up right where you left off on another device.
How was the experience of working with top cosplayers? Did their knowledge help with the development?
Jeff: Working with our all-star cosplayer team has been incredible. Their passion and skills are only equaled by their insane geek knowledge. I had many 3-hour conversations/design sessions with each of them, and they embarrassed me in the area of nerd-dom in which I had once thought I could teach a class. I eventually had to ask one of them to stop referencing certain games, cause I was tired of admitting I never played them. I'm a huge nerd, and was beat down by far superior nerds.
These girls were just a tremendous joy to work with; they are great designers and passionate fans. I couldn't have asked for a better bunch to work with. Their input definitely informed us in our design process. Since we designed new characters together with the girls, you'll be seeing their influence in the game.
Will you customize all your characters or just your main? Can you combine genres and have a Sci-Fi character mixed with a fantasy character?
Daniel: Yup, you'll be able to fully customize all of your characters, and you'll also be able to mix and match freely. In fact, there will be secret cross-genre combos that will really power up your character, and will give the game a fun twist - imagine playing a sci-fi viking with a sonic screwdriver...
Mike: Oh yes, you can customize all of your own characters with any combination of gear and weapons you acquire in the game. So you can absolutely have a sci-fi/fantasy mix, maybe with a fancy pair of spandex super hero tights to complete the look!
Could you explain the gear upgrading system? Will your characters have levels?
Mike: Yup, the characters do have levels and you do gain experience points from completing quests. Also, each class has a unique skill tree, so that you can customize your character build as you level up. The gear is designed along fairly traditional RPG lines, with certain types of gear providing bonuses to certain classes, but wearable or usable by all. So a space marine might do extra damage with the Rare Plasma Rifle you just found, but your wizard can use it too.
If Comic ConQuest is free to play, what sort of business model will you be using?
Mike: The short answer is: We’re still in early development so we’re not sure what the business model will be. Creating a quality game is an iterative process. When we design a game, we consider a number of business models, searching for the one that will get the game into the hands of as many gamers as possible.We’re committed to making this a fun gaming experience, and staying flexible during the development stage enables us to make the best design choices based on player feedback.Originally we were contemplating a free-to-play model. As a design principle, we do not endorse what’s commonly known as a “pay-to-win” game design (in other words, granting the highest in-game powers to the players that spend the most money). We don’t even like playing games like that ourselves and certainly would find no gratification in building one. We promise you that this game will not be one of those.
Any plans to add Comic ConQuest to Steam Greenlight down the line?
Daniel: We are considering how to approach the Steam platform, and we'll have a more definitive answer to this question very soon.
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ