Interview with Hepari: On Pixel Princess Blitz & Indie Developing
Pixel Princess Blitz is a fantasy-themed roguelike action RPG being developed by multinational indie developing team Lanze Games. Pixel Princess Blitz will be out for PC/Linux/Mac, though its release date is yet to be determined.
I was able to contact the head honcho, Hepari, through Twitter, and asked some questions about the Pixel Princess Blitz project and how it's developing thus far.
GameSkinny: Could you please introduce yourself and Lanze Games?
Hepari: I am Hepari, the head of Lanze Games. Lanze Games is a small indie dev team that currently consists of a programmer, two pixel artists, one composer, and me. I design the game and its graphics, write the story, while overseeing the production of Pixel Princess Blitz, our next and first big title. It is going to be a roguelike action RPG with a deep narrative that heavily changes in each playthrough.
GS: In the summary part of Pixel Princess Blitz on Indie DB, it was mentioned that Pixel Princess Blitz was inspired by D&D: Shadow over Mystara, FTL: Faster Than Light, and The Legend of Zelda series.
Could you briefly explain what influences those games had on Pixel Princess Blitz?
H: Yes, those are games I have enjoyed very much, and we felt that we could make something great by combining their most prominent elements.
For example, I wanted to make a beat'em-up style action RPG because of my childhood memories of D&D: Shadow over Mystara, and The Legend of Zelda inspired me with its fun and memorable dungeons and its art direction. And - for me - FTL: Faster Than Light was the first game I'd played that was built around random encounters.
I ended up craving for more of the same, but so far, there hasn't been a real alternative.
We have come a rather long way, and as the game started to shape up, those initial inspirations have taken a back seat.
GS: If there is a unique trait of Pixel Princess Blitz that would be appealing to the gamers, what would it be?
H: The game has random encounters, dungeons and beat'em-up-styled combats, but I feel confident in saying that Pixel Princess Blitz is an original game that doesn't try to live on other great names.
Among many features of the game, one thing that sets PPB apart from other roguelikes is the narrative.
One may argue that roguelike RPGs don't need a story. But in my opinion, story is one of the main pillars of any great game. Sure, you can build a good game without a story. But it would be even better with a story.
So, what do we have? We have short random encounters, big plot branches that feature a series of events, NPCs, romance options and even multiple endings that really take your actions in that playthrough into account. I think that we are breaking new ground with this.
The other thing I'd like to mention is the high amount of randomization.
You will travel through a randomly generated world, engage in randomly chosen plot branches, encounter random events, interact with other NPCs that make different decisions in each playthrough, and randomly generated dungeons. Even the layout of each town is random. Will the next town have a blacksmith where you can reforge your broken sword? Will it feature a guildhouse with a wide range of quests? You can never be sure of anything.
GS: What do you consider as the most important factor in the development of Pixel Princess Blitz?
H: Of course, we are paying attention to every part of the game. It needs a great combat system, an epic soundtrack, attractive graphics...
But ultimately, our goal is to present the player with an authentic RPG experience. I think that in a real RPG, the player should assume the role of a fictional character, and be allowed to influence the world that character lives in and the people it meets.
I want to capture the fascination that I felt when I engaged in a session of Tabletop RPG the first time, and to reach that goal, we are just doing our best.
GS: Mobile game development is popular along these days, but Pixel Princess Blitz will be released for Windows/Linux/Mac. Why is Lanze Games focusing on PC release? Is mobile version being considered?
H: Working with Unity3D means that porting to different platforms is relatively easy. But right now, we are not giving much thought to a mobile version because it would force us to adjust the controls, dumb down the game and go for in-app purchases, or shower the player with ads.
Mobile and static platforms are vastly different gaming environments, and trying to bring the game to all those platforms would result in something that can't please anyone.
GS: You have developed games before Pixel Princess Blitz. Did the past experience in developing help the development of Pixel Princess Blitz? If it did, how?
H: Once you have a few finished projects under your belt, you start to get a grasp of how everything works. You know what you must do before kicking off a new game, how to organize your team, how to respond to the players and fans... But most importantly, you know what you are really capable of, and won't boldly try your hands on something that is beyond your skills yet.
GS: As the team leader, how are you designing the future of Lanze Games?
H: I really try not to get ahead of myself. It is fun to have dreams, but I'm just happy when my next step doesn't pull me down into a pitfall. That said, there are many, many innovative and fun game concepts just sleeping in my head, and I hope that I can build them upon the success of PPB.
GS: Last question. Is developing indie games fun?
H: Well, right now I have a good project going on, my teammates are skilled and determined. Also, I am fully confident that Pixel Princess Blitz will bring much joy to gamers once it's out.
So I would be lying if I said that I'm not having any fun being an indie game developer.
But the hard truth is that it's a job like any other. It requires determination and effort, and there is no one to compensate you for your sacrifices if your game flops. (And believe me - if you are going to make games, you will face lots of flops.)
For more information and updates about Pixel Princess Blitz, check out Hepari’s Twitter!