Upcoming turn based strategy game Skulls of the Shogun is being developed by a core team of three gentlemen at Haunted Temple. We were lucky enough to talk with the founder and design director Jake Kazdal (the guy in the dev diary). Fresh from his showing of the game at Fantastic Arcade, Jake was kind enough to venture into the netherworld and sort out some of the details, or rather, pretty much all of the details on Skulls of the Shogun.
Of the massive plethora of topics discussed, up first was mechanics. While the game may look shallow at first, we can guarantee you the tactics go far deeper than one might imagine, without being all that complicated. Spirit walls, eating skulls and haunting structures are just some of the finer mechanics in Skulls of the Shogun. Jake goes on to discuss art direction and story, telling of his time spent in Japan and the myriad of influences that period of his life has had on the development of Skulls of the Shogun.[podcast]https://xblafans.com/xblafancast/HauntedTemple_InterviewSpecial.mp3[/podcast]
The original Duels of the Planeswalkers was perhaps the best bad game one could play on XBLA. It launched with numerous bugs, many of which remain unfixed today. A small number of cards didn’t work as described in their text, it was inordinately difficult to arrange blocking if there were too many attackers, and certain design decisions crippled the strategic calculus normally found in a Magic game. And in many ways the first Duels game played like a giant teaser advertisement for the rest of the Magic universe, rather than as a game whole and complete unto itself. It was still hugely fun to play, because Magic is a fun game with great art and clever mechanics, but the game lacked a certain richness, that attention to detail and the player experience that marks a great game.
Thank Wizards and Stainless, then, for making the bold decision to leave behind the old game, warts and all, and concentrate on creating the game that the first Duels could have been. The new Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 addresses many of the complaints about the first Duels, providing a smoother, faster game experience, a cleaner UI, vastly improved deck editing, a variety of online cooperative play formats, and a generally richer, better game experience.
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The following article is based around an email interview conducted by our team with Jake Kazdal, CEO of Haunted Temple Studios. For the uninitiated, Haunted Temple Studios is currently developing Skulls of the Shogun for Xbox Live Arcade for Spring 2011 release.
Skulls of the Shogun is a turn based strategy title. Players take on the role of a Samurai General who was betrayed by one of his closest allies and slain in the moment of his greatest victory. Awakened in the afterlife, he finds the same opponent has betrayed him again in death. As a result, he begins a rampage trashing the laws of the Samurai afterlife as he seeks revenge.