An Interview With the Developers of Forsaken Castle
Forsaken Castle, a 16-bit “metroidvania” platformer developed by Duck Block Games, was recently funded through Kickstarter with enough backer support to include the Nintendo Switch on its list of platforms.
After its Kickstarter campaign, we got in touch with Lance and Clint Trahan from Duck Block Games to discuss Forsaken Castle and what fans can expect. (Disclosure: Samantha was a backer for the Forsaken Castle Kickstarter campaign.)
First, congratulations on not only getting funded for Forsaken Castle, but also meeting several of your Kickstarter stretch goals, including one for a Nintendo Switch release. Is there any particular reason you picked the Switch as one of your stretch goals?
Lance: From day one when we first showed the game off at PAX South, people were asking if we would be looking to bring the game to the Switch. I feel like Nintendo has done an excellent job with designing the console and the demand speaks for itself. It works great at-home or on-the-go and we think Forsaken Castle would be perfect for it.
What led to your decision to make Forsaken Castle? Was it an idea you had in mind for a while?
Clint: We’ve worked on several game ideas over the last few years but never got anything to a playable demo. Partly because the projects were too ambitious but we also had issues with performance since we were targeting mobile back then. I decided to try making a short 2D platformer with pixel art run on my phone and eventually decided to expand the idea into a full Metroidvania for PC/consoles.
Lance: Part of the decision to move from mobile to PC/console was because we wanted to show the project at PAX South and found playing Forsaken Castle with a TV and console controller the best way to experience the game instead of with dodgy touch screen controls.
When I played the demo, one influence immediately stood out to me: Castlevania. Of course, there are other “Metroidvania” elements in it, as well. What were your greatest inspirations as you made the game?
Clint: Gameplay and design are pretty much influenced by my favorite Metroid and Castlevania games, but I’d say the art and story are mostly influenced by JRPGs and anime, like Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy, Ragnarok Online, Record of Lodoss War, Rune Soldier Louie, and many others.
The demo includes a few upgrades that let you explore new areas. Will upgrades be more spread out in the full game, or is the demo’s pace a good representation?
Lance: The current demo is more of a compressed experience for the Kickstarter, so that we could convey a bit more to people of our capabilities to execute on the basics. It was also important to keep things short when showing at shows like PAX, so everyone could have a chance to experience it. The public demo will undergo some additional revisions going forward, to offer a more genuine look at the first real 30 minutes of gameplay.
I also noticed there wasn’t a map in the demo. Will the full game have a map, or will we be relying on our memories?
Clint: We will have the classic Metroidvania style map added once we get the menu updated. The castle will be fairly large, so it would be pretty difficult to navigate without a map.
Lance: We will definitely have a map, but now you have me interested in having an option to disable the map for future new game runs after you’ve run through the game at least once or unlock modes with a secret cheat code.
The second playable character, Meryl, will have her own gameplay, ability, and story. How will playing as Meryl be different than playing as the main character, Lily?
Clint: The way Meryl fights and navigates the castle will be different than Lily. She will use long range attacks and rely heavily on her mana. Unlike Lily, most of her abilities will be available from the start and the player will need to figure out how to use them to navigate the castle differently than Lily would. The story will not only be seen from Meryl’s perspective but will also change since it won’t be Lily saving the day.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share about Forsaken Castle with our readers?
Clint: Since this will be our first game we really can’t express how much we appreciate the enthusiasm and support we’ve had so far. We really like the Metroidvania genre and hope to create a fun and challenging game that players will enjoy.
Lance: I have to echo the same, we’ve seen so much love and support from everyone that we are beyond motivated to produce the best experience possible! For now, we’ll be making regular public updates to our Kickstarter until we have a proper dev blog setup and announced, so check there for updates for the time being!
Congratulations again on your successful Kickstarter. We look forward to playing Forsaken Castle!
Lance: Thanks so much!
Clint: Thank you!
Forsaken Castle sounds like it will be an enjoyable addition to the Nintendo Switch’s library, especially if you like the type of exploration-based gameplay popularized by Metroid Castlevania. If you’d like to try the current demo, it can be downloaded for the PC here. Let us know your thoughts on Forsaken Castle in the comments below.