Maxwell Jensen on Crystal Catacombs
Every so often a few real gems emerge from the ether that is indie games, Crystal Catacombs has the potential to be one of them. Make the jump to see what creator Maxwell Jensen has to say.
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Developer: Levels or Lives (Maxwell Jensen – Design/Art)
Platform: PC (possible ports to XBLA, PSN, iOS and Mac)
Genre: 2D > Action > Platformer
So lets start off easy, how did you get into games?
MJ: In general? Well, a long, long time ago my parents bought me a NES and since then I think I was raised more by video game systems than my actual parents. As far as game design goes, I’ve always had an interest in figuring out how video games work… The process of designing games is just fascinating to me.
And have you worked on any other titles before Crystal Catacombs?
MJ: Yeah, I have actually. A few years ago a friend and I built a small Flash title that incorporated a lot of influences from Pong, Alleyway and Arkanoid. It was appropriately titled “Pongatron!”. That was more of practice project… Almost an experiment to see how I could play with the classic mechanics that made those titles so engaging. It wasn’t anything too mesmerizing but I had a lot of fun with the design.
If Pong, Alleyway and Arkanoid inspired “Pongatron” what games have inspired Crystal Catacombs?
MJ:The Metroid and Castlevania series have always been some of my favorite games. Without those titles there really is no way Catacombs would have ever come along.
So talk to me about Crystal Catacomb? What is Crystal Catacombs all about?
MJ:Crystal Catacombs is all about exploring randomly generated dungeons that house a variety of different enemies, weapons and special items. Every time you head into one of these dungeons, no two experiences will be the same. Personally, as a game designer this is what really got me excited about the potential for Catacombs. As you progress through the game new ‘Crystal Realms’ (dungeons) become available to play… The enemies and bosses get harder, the items you find become cooler and the freedom to explore becomes more accessible. Aside from the dungeons the player can also access different shops where they can purchase and sell a variety of weapons and tools to aid them inside the dungeons.
So yeah, mostly that… and bosses, really big bosses.
I enjoy killing big bosses, so is the game going for a level based or gear based progresssion?
MJ: The two almost go hand in hand. To progress through the game the player will have to be able to make it through these dungeons but to be able to do that they’ll have to make sure they are well enough equipped to survive them. Essentially, as the player levels up and becomes stronger, more options open up to them.
That’s great, thanks for your time, is there anything you’d like to bring attention to through the interview?
Hm… I’m sure there is something I could mention but I’m new to all this… This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m really excited about this game. I think a lot of gamers, new and old alike, could really connect with and enjoy Crystal Catacombs.
I’ve also been receiving a lot of questions about the “steep” Kickstarter goal – and I think that is absolutely a valid concern. For me, it comes down to a pretty simple premise. If I’m going to take the time to create this game then I’m either going to go all out and make sure that I have everything I need (team, time and funds) to give the people the best game possible – or it’s just not going to happen. Like Hunter S. Thompson says, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.” … Anyways, I think he said that.
Make sure you check out the Kickstarter page and show your support for this great project. There is also a Facebook Page and Twitter and you can also check out Maxwell Jensens blog to keep up to date with new projects or his artwork.
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