Wizard Fu Games talks about development goals, obstacles faced and the road ahead.
Wizard Fu Games, composed primarily of Nate Weiss who is the founder, has something intriguing with Songbringer. The hack and slash exploration title combines procedural generation with a crazy atmosphere and stands out among the pack. However, Songbringer has had its share of criticism, especially with the world seed generator, difficulty and overall pacing. Wizard Fu Games is still making improvements to the game though and there’s much more to come.
Speaking to GamingBolt, Weiss talked about the biggest obstacles to creating a game single-handedly, the new content that will be coming soon and what exactly people can expect when they pick up Songbringer.
"The benefit to working alone is a sort of pure creativity. An idea goes from conception to implementation without any of the typical middle steps associated with working in a team."
What inspired the concept for Songbringer, especially the atmosphere and aesthetic?
The concept for Songbringer is roughly Burning Man in space. It’s about a crew of adventurers, explorers, artists and party-goers who travel the galaxy in search of places to throw massive parties. But when landing on Ekzera, they find a sleeping evil and fall into its trap.
For a single person to create such a game is a huge undertaking. What obstacles did you face in development and what were the benefits to working alone?
The biggest obstacle working alone is time constraints. There’s only so much one can do, so it forced me to focus on being as effective as possible during development. For example, prototyping ideas had to be swift and some things got cut or changed nearly as swiftly as they were thought up.
The benefit to working alone is a sort of pure creativity. An idea goes from conception to implementation without any of the typical middle steps associated with working in a team. This makes the end result focused and near to the original vision, in my experience.
How has the reception been to Songbringer across all platforms thus far?
It’s humbling to hear how much players are enjoying Songbringer.
What can you tell us about the overall plot and story-telling of the game?
The overall plot starts out light-hearted, with a sort of hippie rockstar vibe. But it grows more serious as certain events happen to change the characters. The main hero, Roq, begins to eat cacti, learns to meditate and his metaphysical power grows along with his personality to some extent.
"The idea is to make sure that every single hurdle the game puts in front of the player, it also provides multiple ways to overcome that hurdle."
How does the world seed generator work? Are there specific words or letters which can trigger different conditions or is it all random?
Each world seed gets mathematically turned into a large number. That number is used to seed the world deterministically, so it always turns out the same based on that number seed. The seed determines the layout of the overworld, the layout of the dungeons, the order of the bosses, the order of the items, the placement of secrets, the key of the music and many more elements.
With this much randomization in place, what elements of the game are hand-crafted? How does a player’s world seed dictate those hand-crafted elements?
The art, the bosses, the story and the music is all hand-crafted. A player’s world seed simply dictates the order, the placement and timing of such elements.
When designing the boss battles, abilities, etc. what did you have to keep in mind when it came to how players would approach them, especially with how one’s progression could be worse on one run versus another?
The secret sauce of Songbringer is here. The idea is to make sure that every single hurdle the game puts in front of the player, it also provides multiple ways to overcome that hurdle. For example, there are these blocks that are shaped like horns that the player usually crafts an acidic weapon to use to melt them. But the player can also get the level 3 blink orb, or craft something icy and freeze any surrounding water to pass the horn blocks as well. So in a sense, there is no progression which is worse than another, just different. Everything is possible.
Have you seen many players sharing world seeds with each other and exploring their worlds? What has the response been to this so far?
This seems to be a mechanic that people really love. Time will tell which worlds become favorites, which worlds become best to speedrun and that kind of thing.
"There’s going to be these clutch courage refills for players that return to the same room that they died in previously."
What changes will be coming in the next few updates to ensure a better-balanced experience?
There’s already been an update which tightens up the sword combat, making it more precise and accurate. There’s going to be an armor item for players that are having a difficult time. There’s going to be a new sword attack ability for players that want more nuance in the combat. There’s going to be these clutch courage refills for players that return to the same room that they died in previously.
Will there be any paid DLC or free content in the coming months?
Yep, free content is coming, as mentioned above with the new items. Also a new boss and another thing that is sort of a secret place.
Is there anything else you want to tell our readers before we let you go?
Just to have fun.