Interview with Francesco and Matteo of Doom & Destiny
Tell us a little bit about your team?
We are two standard Italian nerds. Francesco, from Benjamin Ficus production, is responsible for the plot, level design and guilty of all the misspellings. Despite his love of creating video games, his computer skills suck hard He was lucky enough to find Matteo, his colleague. Matteo, from HeartBit interactive, is the genius behind the programming.
What made you decide to use the XBLIG platform for your game?
Around two years ago, Francesco made a game with RPG Maker. It was a small but fun adventure of four nerds trapped in a fantasy world. Everybody (his friends and his mum) was pleased with the game and kept telling him “You got talent”, “You should make some money with it”, and “Eat your vegetables” so Francesco decided to turn his small project into a real game! He discovered that a friend of a friend (Matteo, from HeartBit interactive) was a very talented programmer who already worked in the amazing field of game development. Francesco showed his project to Matteo who said “your game is pretty cool, why don’t we collaborate to put it on Xbox Live Indie Games. You do the level design, story and other crap while I do the serious coding and programming. It shouldn’t take much time, right?”
TWO years later, here we are!
What was the biggest hurdle in getting this game finished?
Stopping ourselves from adding features. RPGs are a great type of game where you can continue adding elements to the game (monsters, weapons, quests, characters, oh God!) and, if it wasn’t for the Summer Uprising, we would be still adding features and the game wouldn’t be released yet . Having a deadline forced us to complete the game and release it! BUT (there is a but) we aren’t done yet. Despite the release, we are still working on it, adding all the amazing features we planned from the beginning. So, expect a lot of extras by the end of September!
Do you have plans to continue developing games for the Xbox 360?
Of course we have! Game making requires a lot of time and MONEY so right now we are working on the updated version (as mentioned before) and on a release for WP7 and PC (maybe on Steam, if we are lucky enough). In the meantime we are already working on our next game!
How does it feel to know that your game was chosen by your peers and community?
It feels awesome! Knowing that our game is enjoyed by so many people is our greatest reward (well, we don’t disregard some money either)! Every day we receive a lot of mail, posts on our forums and on Facebook. We would like to be able to answer to everyone and say thanks, but time works against us.
What games directly influenced your game, both positive (wanted to mimic) and negative (things you didn’t want players going through or feeling).
Despite what many people may think, we did not start our project after seeing the success of Breath of Death 7. As a matter of fact, Doom & Destiny is a conversion of an RPG Maker game realized around 4 years ago by Benjamin Ficus Productions. We can say that Doom & Destiny, being a JRPG parody, was directly influenced by them, in both positive and negative ways. We tried to mimic the feeling of playing an old SNES rpg but, at the same time, we tried to stay away as much as possible from negative traits like excessive grinding, convoluted plots and unlikable characters. We wanted to deliver a fun and easy experience, but at the same time we tried to create an interesting gameplay capable of rewarding those who enjoy “hard core” RPG gaming.
How did you get into making games?
Francesco’s first approach to game making was with pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons. If we exclude a 7th level fighter he played the first time he was introduced to D&D, he has been a game master since 2002. RPG Maker also helped a lot. As we mentioned before, Doom & Destiny is a conversion of a game made with RPG Maker, ProgettOne, released in the Italian language for free on Benjamin Ficus’ Blog in 2009.
Matteo started making clones of Snake with C++ during programming class at the university. He then moved to XNA programming on the first version of the framework partecipating to the first Dream.Build.Play with the game Just Race!. From that time he always worked on the XNA framework on never released project until we joined our forces on 2009 for Doom & Destiny.
Do you feel your final product fully reflex the vision you had in your head?
Of course, in our mind, the word is in 2D and in 16 bit! Even more, we have to say that the finished product surpassed our expectation!