Interview with Alejandro Gonzalez of Milkstone Studios
Tell us a little bit about yourself/company/team?
We are an indie game development company created in Asturias, Spain, and have released many successful titles on Xbox Live Indie Games. Our games feature polished gameplay and high production values.
What made you decide to use the XBLIG platform for your game?
Our first game, Little Racers, was a hobby project that we did on our free time. We chose XBLIG because there were very few options to market an independent game on a non-mobile device and it was easier to develop on a closed platform as the Xbox 360. After the unexpected success of the game, we just kept releasing games on that platform. We’ve tried other platforms in the past, but there’s no magical platform yet.
What was the biggest hurdle in getting this game finished?
Usually our biggest hurdle is to cut somewhere and polish everything. The only exception has been Raventhorne, were we had a tight deadline so we ended up cutting before we intended.
Do you have plans to continue developing games for the Xbox 360?
For sure. We have hope (how else can you name it?) that Microsoft will fix the issues that circle XBLIG and make it a really good platform for independent developers. Right now it’s not the worst, but it’s hard to survive with the issues it has. We won’t stick only with it though. We have high hopes in the upcoming Pc/Linux/Mac IndieCity platform.
How does it feel to know that your game was chosen by your peers and community?
We tried hard to give Raventhorne a good look and compelling gameplay, trying to mimic Muramasa: The Demon Blade. We’re glad that other people liked the game, but sad that we have to do this kind of promotions to get people to know about the quality you can find in the Xbox Indie Games section.
What games directly influenced your game, both positive (wanted to mimic) and negative (things you didn’t wants players going through or feeling)?
As I said, Muramasa was the main influence for Raventhorne. We tried our best to get a similar feeling while in combat, and a good appearance as well. The atmosphere and music is more similar to Dark Souls. As for things we didn’t want players to experience, well, we didn’t have time to add all the things we wanted, so let’s say we couldn’t even think about them.
How did you get into making games?
We studied computer science and started programming games for our own amusement. Shortly after getting the degree, we had the luck to find work in a 3D software development company (not exactly games though), where we learned a lot. After that, we released Little Racers and all the games that came after.
Do you feel your final product fully reflex the vision you had in your head?
Sadly, not at all. We’ve been very time limited so lots and lots of things couldn’t be done. More AI variety and combos, more enemies, weapon level up, more worlds… the list is really long.
Anyway, we probably wouldn’t have done it even if there wasn’t a deadline. We have experience on XBLIG and spending more than two months on a project is risky, unless you’re 100% sure your game is going to be a high success, which is unlikely. We also prefer to focus on short projects, so it’s not usually an issue for us.