EXCLUSIVE Interview with Redeemer Devs, Sobaka
In 2017, Redeemer, a top-down shooter, was released for PC to some mixed reviews. Critics said the game had heart, but there was a lot of room for improvement that could make this game a great one.
Sobaka, the developer of Redeemer, listened and two years later, they are releasing Redeemer Enhanced Edition which is coming to PC, and for the first time ever, consoles.
During E3, I was able to talk to Sobaka and discuss their present, their past, and what is to come in the near future.
Redeemer: Enhanced Edition
If you have played Redeemer or have seen gameplay of it, you know the combat is a bit intense and brutal. The people over at Sobaka had to do some research in order to get the action in Redeemer just the way they wanted.
"We had played a lot and we had watched a lot of action movies so we didn’t really need a rehearsal. Just like in any good action movie – it is cool to smash faces! Games could be really cool without a bloodshed for sure – at the end it is all about fun!"
When Redeemer first hit the PC market in August of 2017, they not only listened to the critical reception but also the response from the players. Over time Sobaka was able to release some patches, added new languages, and even a Russian voiceover which was made by the community.
However, in order to give the fans the updates they wanted to see in the game, they had to find a new publisher.
"At some point we were talking to BUKA and then we realized that we should release our game on consoles. Our PC publisher, Gambitions, didn’t see that this way. They figured it won’t be profitable. BUKA figured it the other way. Thus, we’ve reached an agreement with BUKA to port Redeemer to the consoles."
Now with BUKA controlling the publishing rights to Redeemer, Sobaka can bring the best possible version of the game to PC and introduce it to a whole new audience on consoles.
While it could be difficult to satisfy gamers nowadays, Sobaka listened to what their core audience wanted to see brought to the Enhanced Edition of Redeemer and tried to deliver as much as they possibly could.
"Leveling system is the core part of this update and it was highly requested by community. Certain skills now improve as player uses them, for example, if you fire an assault rifle a lot, then by the end of the game you deal much more damage with it. On top of that, there is a plenty of perks now so player can choose whether to go for a shotgun or for exploding bullets."
Sobaka believes that this is the progress Redeemer lacked in its previous iteration. They knew that something in the game was missing, but didn't know how important it actually was to the player base until after it was released.
Life of an Indie Game Developer
Mobile games have a bigger audience than any other style of gaming. Just think about it: everyone has a phone, right?
Developing a game for mobile, and loading it full of microtransactions sounds like a great and easy way to make a lot of money over time. It's that easy!
Well, it isn't.
Early in Sobaka's history, they were approached and offered a deal to make mobile games. This would've been great exposure for an indie developer and could put them on a great path to success, but Sobaka turned it down so they could focus on their dream game.
"The point is that mobile games are not that profitable as one might assume. For a steady income you should integrate a lot of ads and in-game purchases into your game to pullthe money out of users’ pockets - we believe there’s no creative component in such kind of work."
Not all heroes wear capes.
In addition to just wanting to get more money from the players, the mobile market isn't as easy to succeed in, especially as an indie developer.
"Beside of that, the competition on the mobile games market is pretty tough and a lot of major companies with a plenty of experience, huge budgets and numerous successful projects can easily “suppress” newbies."
When the newest generations of consoles launched (PlayStation 4, Xbox One), the people over at PlayStation wanted to make their new console the go-to place for indie devs to release their newest projects.
That's winded down over the past couple years, hugely in part due to the release of the Nintendo Switch. The Nindies Program has helped plenty of smaller developers bring their projects to the front row so they could get more exposure in a sea of games that is always very crowded.
Or so we thought.
"There used to be less video games in general so it was easier for a decent projects to make it to the audience. On the other hand, the gaming audience is much bigger nowadays and I guess overall it would be roughly the same in percentage."
Being an Indie dev is pretty hard nowadays. There are a lot of people and smaller developers all competing to have their place on your gaming platforms.
"Millions of the talented indie developers are working on a games of their dreams just like we are. Eventually everyone is trying to win the attention of the more or less the same audience. It’s because of the responsibility why being an indie-developer is not that easy. If you have a steady job at a major company you don't bother yourself with anything apart from your task but if you’re an indie developer you have to deal with a millions of various issues swamping you."
Besides bugs in the game, competition is the biggest obstacle that all indie developers have to struggle with.
Future of Sobaka
With Redeemer Enhanced Edition coming to PC and consoles, what is up next for Sobaka?
They are currently working on their next game, 9 Monkeys of Shaolin, which is what they call a "true rebirth of the iconic beat 'em up genre in vein of old-school video games."
The idea for their next project started a few months before they first released Redeemer for PC back in 2017.
"A few months before releasing Redeemer we started to plan our next move. We didn’t know how Redeemer was going to perform but we already had quite a bold idea to develop a third- person game remotely similar to Hellblade. It would have been an expensive and pretty complicated project to sell it to publishers. Then we started toying with the top-down camera, and ended up getting a side view. We set it up a bit and it started to look exactly like beat’em up game players would instantly recognize."
When it comes to certain games, players already know what to do and there is no need to guide them. That is exactly the case for 9 Monkeys of Shaolin. It is reminiscent of a brawler that you would play as kids, but modernized with a cool art style.
While they had the idea for 9 Monkeys, you still need to make some money in order to start the next project. They were hoping that Redeemer would help finance their next game.
"Before making any next moves we have to earn some money. Redeemer didn’t make it quite well. It made some but you can’t even hire anybody else for this money. We’re going to release 9 Monkeys of Shaolin on consoles so we might have a better shot this time. If we still don’t make enough money… well we’ll just start it over with a new game and another concept. As soon as we make money we will see what to do next."
Both 9 Monkeys and Redeemer have plots that are based around the main character avenging deaths of their loved ones. Sobaka prefers to keep the story simple.
"Revenge is a classic and clear plot idea. Although we want to come up with something trickier, let's agree that a simple story about relentless revenge has its own charisma in it."
While you might have to wait until Q3 2019 to get your hands on 9 Monkeys of Shaolin, you don't have to wait any longer to play Redeemer Enhanced Edition because it is available NOW!
Redeemer Enhanced Edition is available for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch!
I would like to thank Sobaka for taking the time during their busy week of E3 to talk to me.