Three Brothers Interview

Three Brothers Interview

Three Brothers Games is an games development company primarily known for their educational arcade title ‘Learn Spanish Adventure’ or their 1970s set horror title ‘Quadrant’ which is available now on Steam. Their latest game however takes on a distinctly RPG flavor in iOS app, ‘Tower in the Sky’. My Boxed Universe sits down with developer Cosmos O. Corbin to discuss it.

MBU
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us today. For those yet to encounter with your company, can you explain Three Brothers Games for us?

COSMOS
We are a tiny game development studio comprised of three brothers. Our goal is really just to make games we enjoy, and think are rad. I guess that is one of the big benefits of being an indie developer, is that you don’t have to do things for any other reason.

MBU
Tower in the Sky is your first published RPG, is it the first time you’ve worked in the genre?

COSMOS
Yes. We have played tons of RPG’s over the years, and I would have to say it’s one of my favorite genres, but this is the first RPG we have worked on.

MBU
Would it be fair to say that Tower in the Sky is a casual RPG experience. An RPG-light?

COSMOS
Yes and No. One of the inspirations for Tower in the Sky was to create a more in depth RPG experience than what is usually made for mobile devices. In the sense that it is easy to pick up and play, yes it’s a light RPG. But, it also requires skill and strategy to progress as well as careful consideration of your equipment and party much like a more like a heavy or “hardcore” RPG. Most of the other mobile games I have played in the lane defense genre have been either extremely casual with no skill or strategy required at all, or dependent on grinding to progress. I think our game has a healthy level of challenge even at the normal difficulty level.

Areas are explored one node at a time and each represents a battle, conversation or choice event.

Areas are explored one node at a time and each represents a battle, conversation or choice event.

MBU
The battle system in Tower in the Sky uses an interesting lane-based form of tower defence where enemies slowly walk toward a party of four characters who must repel them using different class based skills. What was the thinking and inspiration behind this?

COSMOS
We enjoyed several other studios lane based games in the past, and I’ve always felt it was a great mechanic for mobile. The different class based skills come into play because each characters attack has a different range and effect. You have to time your attacks correctly, and think about who attacks where. When battles really get going it can require quite a bit of focus.

MBU
The game also features player choices that decide which way the game will continue and cannot be reversed. An early example of this is recruiting a Cleric or rescuing and recruiting the monster he’s fighting. How important was it to include these branching moments?

COSMOS
Personally we like it when the player makes a choice that effects the outcome of the whole game that is permanent. It gives those moments more weight.

MBU
Even the games’ first area contains a multi-encounter ‘dungeon’, a challenge area and a branching choice. Is it fair to say that the game is packed with neat content?

COSMOS
There is absolutely a TON of content in the game. Levels span across the kingdom, through forests, deserts, icy tundras, desert pyramids, ancient cities, and spirit worlds with different enemies and mechanics. We’ve even got some side quests on the way which take place in an underworld 100 years prior to the main quest. Not to mention that there is already 36 pages of dialog in the game. I actually expected around 4-5 when I first sat down to spell check and edit everything.

MBU
What led to the cartoony graphical style that the game employs? Quadrant uses 3D rendered environments and your previous title looks quite different, is it fair to say you enjoy variation as a company?

COSMOS
Yes, we enjoy variation but the main reason for the art style was necessity. We have one person responsible for all the art and there are hundreds of different enemies, items, characters, NPC’s and more to illustrate. Once we started calculating the time per each illustration it gets really daunting. Even at 1 hour per element, we were looking at hundreds and hundreds of hours of illustration. We had to pick an art style that was feasible for a team our size to be able to create the amount of content we needed.

Lane based combat takes place in real-time.

Lane based combat takes place in real-time.

MBU
Can we expect to see much additional content added to Tower in the Sky in the future? At the present time it looks like you’re following the ‘Terra Battle’ method of promising additional content when certain landmarks are met in download figures.

COSMOS
Yes, I really liked the Terra Battle method of content delivery. We have an additional quest we are working on which will fill in some backstory to the main quest, and explore some different mechanics.

MBU
Who was responsible for the games sound design? Music and sound effects are very subtly used throughout to conjure environments.

COSMOS
Me!

MBU
Would you consider Tower in the Sky a challenging title?

COSMOS
Yes. Our feedback from players has consistently been that it is challenging. In the early beta testing, I would say it was dark souls level of challenge, but we nerfed it quite a bit. Right now, it should be pretty manageable to pass through the quest while dying here or there on a level on easy and normal, although extreme should still be VERY difficult.

MBU
What is your role within the company?

COSMOS
I’m responsible for the art and music assets for the this title, although we switch roles around quite frequently.

MBU
Why ‘Three Brothers Games’?

COSMOS
Because the three of us are brothers!

MBU
Has the response to Tower in the Sky been what you’d hoped for?

COSMOS
Our response from users has been amazing. We currently only have five star reviews on the app store, and have some fantastic quotes from users in forums. All press coverage we have received so far has been very positive, so that feels really good. We were not featured by Apple, and we didn’t get press coverage in any of the major mobile gaming press so our visibility has been quite low. We are hoping that word of mouth and continued really positive user reviews will keep things moving.

MBU
Do you have any advice for aspiring Indie game creators?

COSMOS
Think REALLY hard about how you are going to market your game BEFORE you make it!

MBU
Thanks again for your time today. For those wishing to learn more about Three Brothers Games their official website can be HERE, whilst Tower in the Sky is out now for iOS and has an official site HERE.

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