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Friday, 16 May 2014

Indie Dev Interview - Maestro Interactive

1/ How was Maestro Game Studios originally formed?
Maestro Interactive Games was formed back in 2012 after I had finished my contract with Retro Studios on Donkey Kong Country Returns and had finished work on some other projects. I decided to launch my own team to develop games we wanted to make that had a strong emphasis on sounds and music.

2/ Tell us how Luna's Tale came into being.
Luna’s Tale is about growing up and not wanting to let go of our youth. I was really touched by the final installment of Toy Story, and I felt a connection to the toys not wanting to be given away and to always want to have someone enjoy them. We developed the concept of Luna’s Tale around that. Luna receives a doll when she is younger, and the doll is her best friend, something I am sure everyone can relate to whether it be a doll, a teddy bear, an action figure. Later on as Luna matures and her interests change, she forms a new relationship with a boy and begins neglected the doll. The doll decides to fight back by bringing Luna into the dolls universe and seeing things how the doll sees them and experiences them.

3/ At what stage of development is Luna's Tale right now?
We are in pre-production right now. We have developed most of the mechanics however the art work in this game is very extensive and with a small development team, those aspects take a lot of work.

4/ Any particular challenges along the way?  What's been the hardest thing in terms of developing the game?
Our biggest challenge right now is in terms of the game engine having some issues with 2D sprites and recognizing them. There are some weird gremlins in the code so to speak that are working their magic against us in some places. For example, we have a really awesome rope swinging mechanic that Luna uses, however for some strange reason it currently works only 80% of the time. So we are working on that right now.

5/ On the other hand, has anything come together more easily than you expected?
The easiest thing would actually be getting it onto the consoles themselves. Our game is being built for OUYA, Xbox One, Wii U, PS4 and Vita. So far it works and runs smoothly on all of them and that is something we are really pleased with.

6/ What's the current status of the Kickstarter campaign?
We are at 5% of our initial goal of $35,000 with a little more than 20 days to go. We are really happy with the positive feedback we have gotten so far in terms of the art style and storyline of the game. With the amount of time left in the campaign we still feel that our goal is within reach and with every console now available in the regular goal this is certainly a game for everyone.

7/ What sort of games / devs have inspired you along the way? 
Having worked at Nintendo for a time, I have to say that titles on their platforms truly inspire me. There are a lot of influences of Donkey Kong, DuckTales, Castle of Illusion and other great platformers from the NES and SNES era in this title to say the least. We are going to deliver an artistic vision similar in style of those with a story all our own. But definitely the platformers of that generation are of great inspiration.

8/ How do you see the future of indie game development?
I am a little nervous for the future of indie game development. For example, it used to be mobile and PC first, however with Steam Greenlight allowing 2000 games this year alone, and 100s of apps daily on iOS, discoverability is now an even greater concern. I feel that truly innovative games will be covered up by so much filler content that we will lose the charm of indie development.

9/ Do you have any advice for aspiring indie devs?
Choose your art style carefully because it will impact how players perceive your game, but it will also impact how hard your game is to make, and that is just as important in the end. Don't harm yourself by committing to doing something that is beyond the scope of your team or project and instead find the middle ground of an achievable style which also conveys the meaning you intended.

Thanks guys for the interview and to anyone reading, don't forget to check out the Luna's Tale Kickstarter Page and Steam Greenlight Page.  You can also see the trailer in this post.

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