[Interview] Quadrangle Games President Gabriel Trujillo on Sanctum Polis

We talk with the president and developer of Sancum Polis - Rest Eternal Memory about the influences behind the retro-style RPG.

This week, we caught up with Gabriel Trujillo, the President and CEO of Quadrangle Games, to talk about their new RPG, Sanctum Polis - Rest Eternal Memory. We dove deep and asked about the influences of the game, how many hours gamers can clock into it, what it will cost on all the platforms, and a lot more.

Sanctum Polis is an old-school RPG with a classic 32-bit style. It stars Caxton Cadwell, a character that's trying to figure out the mysteries at Solaris Notre University and does so through both his dreams and nightmares. Along with being a retro RPG, the game also has survival horror elements that create an interesting concept in the game.

Right now, the game is being funded on Kickstarter and needs your help to reach its goal now that there's just a week left. Interested to learn more about it? Let's talk with Trujillo to find out more about Sanctum Polis.

Brian Spaen: What inspired the character design in Sanctum Polis?

Gabriel Trujillo: The idea spawned from the Kobold and other anthro races from the Suikoden series. I have seen countless RPGs have these interesting anthropomorphic characters that only exist in the background. We wanted to bring them to the forefront so that we could explore the darker side of our own human nature through characters that cannot be immediately stereotyped by our conventional means such as race, religion, etc.

Spaen: Adding a survival horror element is unique and interesting. What is the reasoning behind that?

Trujillo: Not only have RPGs influenced us in our gaming career, but games like Silent Hill have also made an impact on our story telling. Corpse Party in particular used a similar style that had been primarily used in the RPG medium to tell a psychologically thrilling story. Since we are delving into the subconscious of a person's psyche, we find that fear is a very strong motivating factor in people's lives. We also found it interesting to play with the helplessness one feels in real life and in real dangerous situations contrasted with the power you can have in a dream.

Spaen: How long has this project been in the works before putting it on

Trujillo: We have been developing this game for a little over a year before Kickstarter. In that time the project has grown from a small RPG made by 4 developers into this incredible undertaking. I was primarily funding this game myself, but when we saw that people were really interested in the story we wanted to tell, we worked to expand the story and are looking to get the funds needed to add several more levels, puzzles, monsters, characters, and even better visual assets.

Spaen: How many different endings are there in the game?

Trujillo: We have upwards of four different endings depending on the choices the player makes throughout the game. We are also planning our own joke ending inspired by other games, kind of like the UFO endings in the Silent Hill series. We also have New Game+ and an epilogue planned for the game that will release depending on stretch goals but may release at a later date if we don't get that far on Kickstarter.

Spaen: The battle system looks very familiar to the Final Fantasy games on
 Super Nintendo. What are the similarities and differences between them?

Trujillo: Our battle system has a Chrono Discharge Gauge similar to the Active Time Battle found in Final Fantasy VI. We are also planning a feature similar to the Limit Breaks of Final Fantasy VII. Our feature will be a bar that fills for the entire party that allows one party member to do a specialized action. You will have three battlers available at one time that can be switched out at the Area Healer.

Each character will have spells based off of their primary and secondary elements (or a possible doubling up of their primary element that gives them other benefits). The characters can also use items, attack, or flee during a battle. Non-elemental spells can be purchased for particular characters. Tethers will also come into play as an equippable item in our game that will either give unique in-battle benefits or allow the character to summon an ally as an additional spell in their arsenal.

Spaen: Any idea on how many hours a gamer could clock while playing, or how that fluctuates with the different endings?

Trujillo: We would say that the bare minimum needed for a speed run of the game is 20-30 hours. Given the additional side quests, mini-games, unlockables, social interactions, and ending specific events, Sanctum Polis - REM would extend to about 50 hours of gameplay. That is not counting the epilogue, New Game+, or any DLC.

Spaen: What was the inspiration behind the soundtrack?

Trujillo: As we began to work on Sanctum Polis - REM, Bryan Akers, a member of Sleepmeld and a fan of games such as Earthbound, was inspired to create music that he believed represented a dream state. His mesh of electronic sounds has since then become a staple of our world. We are also working with Chris Chirico from Geeks and Guitars for more acoustic music that would help enhance certain scenes, as well as an original song tied to The Talgen which we released a week ago to explain the story of our Legendary Heroine DLC, Talgara.

Spaen: I noticed that it's a stretch goal to put it on consoles or handhelds
 like the PS3, PS4, and Vita. What are the challenges in putting this game
 out on other platforms besides PC?

Trujillo: In order to get our games onto consoles, we are currently in talks with Sony Computer Entertainment to get the game developed through them onto the PS3, PS4, and PS Vita. Also this will help us to get the rights to the Unity add-on for these systems.

Other challenges are of course monetary in nature, since extra programming and development will be needed to incorporate the hand-held's touch screen and features specific to Sony. Too often, we have seen projects fail for not accounting for certain expenses, so we have taken these into consideration ahead of time by combining them into our stretch goal, so that we do not run into similar issues.

Spaen: How much is the retail price expected to be on Steam and/or the various PlayStation platforms?

Trujillo: As of now, we plan on releasing the game at a standard of $14.99 across the board. On Kickstarter, the game will be given to players of the $10 tier and upwards as a discounted incentive.

Spaen: Are there any other ideas for video games that's spawned from the
 production of this game in the future?

Trujillo: We do have plans to make Sanctum Polis a trilogy and possibly expand further on other lore points in the world if there is enough fan demand for more stories taking place in our world, Diurne. After Sanctum Polis, we do have early concepts for a series with the working title of Infernal Conflict, but we're keeping that one mostly under wraps at the moment.

You can learn more about Sanctum Polis and help back the project at Kickstarter or on Steam Greenlight. Learn more about the background of Sanctum Polis on their Tumblr page that includes a story and a wealth of information on the game. There's even a weekly prequel comic that can give gamers even more knowledge about Sanctum Polis.

Obviously, there's been a lot of work put into Sanctum Polis. It's refreshing to see a classic style RPG that doesn't feel like a rush job made in RPG Maker. These developers have taken the time to create their own unique world and characters, and have put their own spin on it with the survival horror aspect. The artwork is tremendous and the music fits with the environment. Best of all, it's clear they fuse a bunch of concepts together from other games they are passionate about.

For any fan of the RPG or survival horror genres, give Sanctum Pols - Rest Eternal Memory a look. We also thank Gabriel Trujillo for taking the time to go further into the game.

Published Oct. 13th 2014
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