Redshift Interview

Redshift

If you’ve never heard of ‘The Quest’ then you’re probably not playing games on your mobile. An absolutely massive game with a series of expansions that puts most PC releases to shame, it’s been at the foreground of the first person dungeon crawl since the days of the Pocket PC and has made its presence known on Smartphones, iPhones, Palm OS and now even on to Windows through Steam Greenlight. Redshift, the company behind its success are a small team of two full-time staff working out of Hungary and are deeply committed to ensuring that The Quest always has a place in the market. My Boxed Universe managed to grab a moment of their time and ask them some questions.

MBU
Firstly, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedules to speak to us. Would you be able to introduce yourselves and Redshift for those not familiar with your company?

REDSHIFT
As you have already said, we are two guys creating games in Hungary. Sylon is the founder, graphic artist, writer and level creator. Elendil is the programmer and everything else, including business, marketing and helping with the other tasks where necessary.

Originally we had a third member, Stewe. In fact Sylon created Redshift with Stewe as programmer. Elendil only joined to help out with The Quest, creating the graphics engine. But after the release of The Quest on its initial platforms, Stewe left us. The iOS port and everything since then was created by Elendil.

MBU
How did the two of you meet?

REDSHIFT
We met online. I (Elendil) commented on something written by Sylon, then we talked and found a lot of commonality. And as it turned out we both wanted to create games, so when the opportunity arose, I joined.

MBU
Obviously most people will know you for ‘The Quest’, but what kind of titles did you produce before it?

REDSHIFT
Redshift was founded in 2001. Our first game was “Dragonfire”, a light action RPG, put together in two months by Sylon and Stewe. It had mediocre success on its platforms (Symbian and later Palm and PocketPC). Our first larger game, “Legacy” was completed by 2003. It can be thought of as being the “prequel” to The Quest. It has the same old-school grid and turn based style as The Quest. In its market and time (PDAs) it was the most successful RPG, it has even won a few awards.

 

MBU
‘Dungeoned’ is a fun little collect-a-thon that has arcade and RPG elements to it, whilst obviously not been as epic in scope as The Quest. Can we expect to see a sequel or other games from you in their vein in the future?

REDSHIFT
We don’t think we’ll create a sequel. But we are working a new game, called Grendelmoore, which was inspired by the card game in The Quest. So it’s not just RPGs for us.

TQ 2

The Quest includes its own CCG mini-game.

MBU
How did Dungeoned perform overall?

REDSHIFT
Quite unremarkably. We sold a few thousand copies initially, but nowadays it sells one or two copies a month at best. 🙂

MBU
Obviously we’re primarily here to speak about The Quest. Can you please introduce the title for those yet to play it?

REDSHIFT
It’s basically Morrowind combined with old school dungeon crawlers like Eye of The Beholder or Black Crypt from the Amiga. Morrowind was the inspiration for Stewe and Black Crypt for Sylon. A lot of people talk about how the game reminds them of Daggerfall and Might & Magic, but those titles were not really influential, apart from Daggerfall’s obvious relation to Morrowind and the Might & Magic series being classic dungeon crawlers.

What makes The Quest unique among the modern dungeon crawlers is that it’s an open world game with a large surface area. The emphasis is on questing and interacting with NPCs, not on combat. Of course there are plenty of dungeons and monsters too. 🙂 But there are not many RPGs out there with the depth of the game’s quests, even if we look outside of dungeon crawlers. Almost all quests are solvable in at least two or three ways and your previous choices, as well as your attributes, skills, race, gender or outfit may influence the outcome.

Another obvious difference from most other games is the high resolution hand drawn graphics. Sylon worked a lot on it. 🙂

It’s “old-school” in its mechanics, and some might find it a bit hard (although quite a few find it too easy :), but it can be great fun for even those who never played older games. It lacks a few conveniences which modern gamers take for granted, like a quest marker showing your way, but you can get accustomed to reading the directions really fast.

TQ 3

The Steam edition of the game features hand-drawn graphics and textures.

MBU
At what point did you decide to start releasing expansions for the game and how easy was this to accomplish with the original build?

REDSHIFT
In a way the game was built for expansions. The editor works on “worlds”, and the base game is just another (slightly special) world. However we created only one expansion, “Islands of Ice and Fire”. All other expansions are the work of third parties. Especially the ones released on iOS, they were all created by Zarista Games (except one).

MBU
How did this partnership with Zarista Games (who created a large number of expansions for the game until handing it back to Redshift recently) come about?

REDSHIFT
By the time we released the game for iOS, they have already created quite a few expansions and they approached us about the possibility of releasing them on iOS. Because of the restricted nature of the platform, the game and expansions had to be tweaked to make it work. That’s why they were released by us on iOS. And while they created their expansions, we worked on other things.

MBU
Can we expect to see more DLC from you for The Quest in the future?

REDSHIFT
We’ll certainly update our own, official expansion for the new PC version. However it takes a lot of work to update an expansion, much more than it took for the iOS versions. Which means that apart from the official expansion, the fate of other expansions is much less certain.

Also, although originally the game was designed to be easily “moddable” by creating additional worlds. The original editor has severe limitations when it comes to the new high resolution version of the game. We would like to update it, so others can create expansions too, but it will take a while. And after that we think we rather work on our new games.

TQ 4

The low-res iOS version of the game.

MBU
Are there any thoughts about releasing a sequel to take advantage of the graphical capabilities and processing speed of phones these days and building upon that?

REDSHIFT
We are planning to release for PC first, from now on. And of course this includes The Quest 2. Actually a lot of work has already been done for it. But we would like to make sure it’ll be better than the original, so it’ll take a while.

MBU
Recently the game was released through Steam Greenlight and it looks amazing. Are there plans to upgrade the graphics on other versions of the game to match or do you prefer the retro-flavour that the original images give the title?

REDSHIFT
We thought about it a lot, but unfortunately it’s not feasible to “update” the existing versions. The new PC version is a new product. As a “new” game, we are planning to release it on other platforms. Currently we are working on the Macintosh version. After that we would like to create an iPad and Android version.

TQ 5

a multitude of items and equipment awaits players in The Quest.

MBU
Is there a favourite expansion in the office?

REDSHIFT
“Islands of Ice and Fire”.

MBU
Is it possible that we will see ports of the Steam version on consoles such as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One?

REDSHIFT
We don’t think so. Although the game is well received, it’s relatively obscure, and there are indications it’s too “niche” for a larger audience. We think our efforts are better spent on The Quest 2. Hopefully it’ll have a wider appeal, without losing any of the charm of the original.

MBU
Do you have a favourite character build with which to play?

REDSHIFT
Elendil likes the straightforward approach: get close and hit ’em, while wearing the best armour possible. Sylon prefers tricks and hidden entrances, so he likes to play as Thief.

MBU
What games inspired The Quest and do you have a favourite classic video game?

REDSHIFT
See one of the previous answers about inspirations. 🙂 About favourites: Elendil likes a lot, like the already mentioned Eye of The Beholder. Amongst RPGs he also likes Baldur’s Gate (and it’s sequel, especially) or Morrowind. But he plays quite a few other genres too. Favourites include Doom, Tomb Raider or The Settlers. And that’s just the classics. Listing all the games he likes would take a while. 🙂 Sylon’s gaming tastes are restricted to old school games. He liked Eye of The Beholder, Black Crypt and Ishar. He also played a lot of Doom, Quake and Heroes of Might and Magic (up till the third). But in the last 10-15 years, he preferred to spend his time with other things than games.

MBU
What advice would you give to new developers?

REDSHIFT
Expect to be disappointed. 🙂 Game development is extremely hard, because the competition is fierce. We think the best way to get noticed is to create something unique, at least in part. And of course something good.

TQ 1

Open fields are a rarity in the FPRPG sub-genre.

MBU
At one point you were thinking of producing titles for the N-Gage. How did that go and what was the experience like working with such a device?

REDSHIFT
That was when Stewe still worked with us and it was his idea. So we (Sylon & Elendil) can’t really answer.

MBU
What are your opinions of other FPRPGS on the mobile market at the moment? Do you play many of them?

REDSHIFT
When we released the iOS port, we played with a few, but they weren’t very good. But that was a long time ago and we haven’t kept up. So we have no opinions.

MBU
In an ideal world, with unlimited funds, what would your dream project be?

REDSHIFT
The best RPG ever created.

MBU
Thanks again for your time today, and for readers interested in Redshift, their official webpage can be found HERE with The Quest Gold Edition available HERE on the iStore or the Steam edition can be purchased HERE.