Two years ago when a couple guys wanted to come back to their 1st love they created at the beginning of their careers, they decided to take it to Kickstarter and hoping that that the fans would help bring what they love back to life. After surpassing their goals by $17,232 Zojoi has cleared the path to recreating the game two generation of gamers loved and now so shall this current generation of gamers. Zojoi, thats right the studio behind the classic point and click adventure, Shadowgate from the days of NES has taken the time to answer a few questions about their upcoming title and the re-imaging of that decades old title of might and magic. These Questions were answered by Karl Roelofs, Design Director at Zojoi
What made you guys come back to this classic series; was there an outcry from your faithful supporters?
Dave and I always had the desire to bring back the original game and tell the other stories from the world of Shadowgate we have written. When we saw that retro-gaming was being embraced by fans again, we decided that the time was right to re-introduce the franchise. So we reached out via Kickstarter and found that fans of the original game (especially the NES players), as well as new enthusiasts, were excited about what we had planned.
When designing this updated version what from the past titles did you want to redesign and what did you completely scrap?
Well, we definitely did not want to do a port – we had done this about ten times before – so we spent a lot of time looking at each puzzle, deciding whether it was something we wanted to keep. I would say that 95% of the puzzles are either completely new or use the same location but are altered in some way to fit with the storyline better. There are a few puzzles from the original that we completely scrapped since they really didn’t fit into our narrative anymore. We’re pretty happy with the outcome.
What added features and or content have you added?
We weren’t constrained by a disk or a cartridge, so we were able to add some of the things that we always wanted to. New to this version of Shadowgate is an in-game map that tracks the locations you have travelled to as well as records the cryptic clues found along the way. We provide 45 in-game and Steam-based achievements that range from experiencing all the deaths in the game to beating the game within a certain amount of turns. We have several side quests and new creature interactions, a full-blown interactive soundtrack by Rich Douglas and three difficult levels that change the puzzles in the game based upon your skill level. Really, there is a ton of new stuff here.
When designing this game have you placed any Easter eggs of sorts giving a nod to your fans of the past games?
Absolutely! We pay homage to several things from original game that didn’t quite make it in this version. Players may get to finally find out what is behind that locked door in the well room and we also give a shout-out to fans of Déjà vu and Ace Harding. Also, should you choose, you can switch from orchestral music to the original 8bit NES music (composed by Hiroyuki Masuno). Additionally, we’ve elevated the role that death plays by scattering a number of hidden deaths throughout the game. These offer several particularly nasty yet humorous ways to meet your end.
Who from the original development staff came back to help with this iteration?
Dave and I are the only members from the original team (we designed the original game as well as created all the art). We then reached out to a team of folks, many whom we had worked with in the past and they were just as excited to re-imagine this game as we were. Our team is really an awesome group and for the last year and a half has been pouring their hearts and souls into making Shadowgate every bit as memorable as the original.
How excited was it for you to have the chance to have better orchestrated soundtrack for Shadowgate this time around?
We are ecstatic to have Rich Douglas provide not only the soundtrack for Shadowgate but an unbelievable sound design (sound effects, ambience, etc.) Rich took his inspiration from the original soundtrack but went way beyond that, creating both familiar orchestrated themes and brand-new epic compositions. Additionally, the game supports multiple tracks of instrumentation that can be added or removed to enhance the ambiance of a particular room or situation. This really amps up the intensity when you are encountering deadly traps and monsters throughout the castle.
What do you think is next for your studios?
Well, from a Shadowgate perspective, we just made the game available for pre-order at www.shadowgate.com and should have the game out on Windows and Mac this summer. After that, we will release the game on iOS and Android before moving on to doing localization for other languages. We’ll then be looking at other console platforms and since we’ve built the PAC (point and click) engine, making developing other games easier, we plan to re-visit the world of Shadowgate very soon. In fact, we have the story-arc planned for the next two games.