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I had the chance to speak with the devs over at Zeboyd games and talk about their projects, past and present. Have a look below.

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JB: Zeboyd games is known for many quirky RPGs like Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu saves the world. What was the inspiration for these games?

ZG: I’ve been a big fan of RPGs ever since I was a kid so wanting to make RPGs myself was a natural desire. The mini-RPG in Retro Game Challenge was a big inspiration as I saw it and thought “I could totally make something like that!” whereas a big epic game would have been beyond me when I was just starting out. And both games were heavily inspired by my love of misunderstood heroes (someone who you think should be a villain actually having positive traits).

JB: Cthulhu saves the world was a well-known game on the Xbox Live Arcade store, what was the reception to the game there?

ZG:Actually, none of our games came out on the official Xbox Live Arcade store – they were all Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG). As such, even though they got great user ratings, the sales weren’t amazing. They did better than many games on the platform, but our company didn’t really take off until we ported them to PC and released them on Steam.

JB: How have you found Steam and mobile phone stores to be different to console markets in terms of reception and sales?

ZG: So far, it’s been Steam > XBLIG > mobile for us as far as success goes. Cosmic Star Heroine is the first time we’ll also be releasing a game on the PSN so we’re hoping it does well there.

JB: Cosmic Star Heroine, your upcoming game, looks to be one of the more innovative indie RPGs for PS4. What led to the game’s genesis?

ZG: Cosmic Star Heroine started out as a tribute to the sci-fi RPG series of the past like Phantasy Star & Cosmic Fantasy (hence the title). Phantasy Star in particular had this great mix of space opera, fantasy, and anime, that isn’t really being done these days. Of course, the more we worked on Cosmic Star Heroine, the more it started to diverge and develop its own identity, but those early influences can definitely be seen (especially Phantasy Star, but also other series like Lunar & Chrono Trigger).

JB: Cosmic Star Heroine looks to be very different from your previous games. With regards to the last question, what led to you making this game different from your previous games?

ZG: After making 4 games, we felt it was time to step up our game. We’ve spent substantially longer working on Cosmic Star Heroine (about 2.5 years now compared to around 3-12 months on our previous work) and we feel it’s really paid off in terms of making Cosmic Star Heroine drastically more polished than our past games. With this game, we’re really trying to make a game that wouldn’t feel out of place with the best RPGs of the past.

JB: You worked on the Penny Arcade games with the 3ed and 4th entries. What was that experience like?

ZG: Great! Penny Arcade gave us a lot of freedom as we were developing those games – more than I imagine most publishers would have. And working together with Penny Arcade – particularly Jerry Holkins (Tycho) and Jeff Kalles – was a lot of fun. I also really felt like we learned a lot from them that we’ve used since then in the creation of Cosmic Star Heroine.

JB: When the argument comes up over what counts as a JRPG where do you stand? Do you feel Cthulhu saves the world, Breath of Death VII and Cosmic Star Heroine count as JRPGs?

ZG: I’m firmly in the camp that believes that if you’re going to use the term JRPG, it should refer to certain tendencies of style and not merely indicate what region the game was developed in.

JB: What games influence you guys in creating your games? Is there any series in particular that you feel has a lot of influence on you?

ZG: Besides the aforementioned Retro Game Challenge that helped to kick off our whole development process, some of my favorite RPGs include Lunar: Eternal Blue, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, and most of Atlus’ modern games (SMT: Nocturne, Persona 3 & 4, Etrian Odyssey series, Radiant Historia, Devil Survivor, etc.). I’m also a big fan of Diablo-style Action/RPGs like Path of Exile and Grim Dawn.

JB: Do you feel the market is healthy for games such as yours? Do you think it will be going forward?

ZG: I think the market is healthy as we’ve seen games like Stardew Valley and Undertale achieve great success recently. If we look at those two big successes, it’s easy to see a common path to success – a high quality and original take on an old classic that gamers miss these days.

JB: Do you see yourselves bringing your older games to newer consoles in the near future?

ZG: No plans for ports of older games at the moment. We might go back and do a sequel, prequel, or remake of one of our older titles, but merely porting one of them feels like it’d be more work than its worth, especially since they all run on a different engine than what we’re using right now with Cosmic Star Heroine (our older games were done with XNA, while Cosmic Star Heroine uses Unity).

JB: Do you have anything you would like to say to the readers of real otaku gamer?

ZG: Thanks for being patient with us as we finish up Cosmic Star Heroine! Hope you enjoy it!

 

You can follow Zeboyd Games on Twitter at @ZeboydGames. You can see the trailer for Cosmic Star Heroine Below