Soul Saga is the next ambitious Kickstarter title heading our way, now that its reached it’s Wii U stretch goal. The game is based on classic JRPGs which hit the SNES, PS2 and Dreamcast, so we couldn\’t imagine a better home for it than the Wii U. We\’ve decided to switch things up a bit, and have a casual chat about the game and the processes behind it with Disastercake founder Mike Gale…

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, so starting off can you tell us about yourself; Which games and systems do you remember most from your child hood?

The game system I remember most are the SNES, Playstation, and Playstation 2. I pull a lot of inspiration from certain SNES JRPGs, but the Playstation and Dreamcast days were really the ones where I feel gaming had hit a remarkable new medium!

How big is your company Disastercake and who else is helping you with the game?

So Disastercake, at the moment… is just me! I contract out several artists from around the world, but all of the sacrifice of time and money that has gone into Soul Saga has been mine. Well, until I came to Kickstarter and so many amazing backers have now helped support Soul Saga!

\"Mithos,

Yikes! At least it seems to be paying off! Where has your career in development taken you? Have you worked on anything we may be familiar with?

My experience spread back to my time with Microsoft, where I got to work on a bunch of titles as a tester and software developer. It was a decent job, but I didn\’t get any creative input. After a little while there I decided to quit and make Soul Saga a reality since this is the type of game I have always dreamed of.

I can\’t talk too much about my time with Microsoft. I\’m sure everyone knows about the notorious NDAs that litter the industry. But the nature of my job there had me working on several titles including Gears of War, Age of Empires Online and Fable.

Awesome! I love a bit of Age of Empires….

I never got to play that game for fun. One of the downsides of working on projects like that is that it wears into you so much you can\’t really enjoy it by the end.

I\’m going to have to ask you now… When Soul Saga is complete do you think you could play it for fun?

It’s hard to say. Because I\’ll know literally every secret in the game, and I think a LOT of the fun will be uncovering these secrets. I think I would still love to turn it on and play through it, especially flying the airship around Medonia (if we reach that Stretch Goal). I think most of my fun will be watching others play and seeing if they find the secrets I lay around. I plan on hiding things so well people may never actually find them, and I won\’t be telling a single soul where they are! Though I will put subtle hints around.

Awesome… that must be a really  interesting side of game development.. \”how can I drive people insane?\” So, next question… Explain to our readers who may not of heard of the game before, just what exactly is Soul Saga?

Soul Saga is a JRPG inspired by classics from the Playstation era. It sports turn based combat similar to Final Fantasy X, airship exploration similar to Skies of Arcadia, and a Guild building system similar to Suikoden. However, we will have to knock out some stretch goals to get those last two!

The airship exploration sounds exciting! How much of the air are you planning on allowing the players to explore?

It’s hard to put into words exactly, but there’s basically a whole shattered nation floating in the sky called Medonia. Players will be able to explore all of that and then the outskirts of it as well. Medonia is currently surrounded by storm clouds called the Tempest Reef, which are starting to weaken and the islands are now falling form the sky. In the game you play as Mithos who is joining the race to find a way down to the surface world to save his people.

When I was researching the game, Medonia reminded me of Skyloft, did you play Skyward Sword and did that have any influence on the game?

I did, and I loved the idea. However, what it did was remind me of Skies of Arcadia, and made me long for that world again. So indirectly, Skyloft did have an influence by reminding me of Skies of Arcadia.

\"Medonia,

I missed out on Skies of Aracde, but I\’d love to play a new instalment if they ever get around to making it a reality.

Well, that’s exactly why I started developing Soul Saga… I\’m tired of waiting for someone to bring back the classics and do it right!

What kind of puzzles or combat elements will feature in the game?

Puzzle elements could harken to The Legend of Zelda. You can push boulders, cut down bushes, blow up stuff. You have a plethora of different environmental tools to help you explore the world and open up new places. The combat is turn based, but with some more puzzle based elements to enemies. For example, you may have an enemy with a wooden shield, and you could use fire to destroy the shield.

So, what kind of soundtrack are you planning for the game, anything traditional to JRPGs? 

It\’ll have about 20 songs made by the talented Aivi Tran. It’s hard to put Aivi’s style into words, but she will be making one or two tracks during the Kickstarter for everyone to get a taste of before the end of the campaign

You\’ve also set a stretch goal of $70,000 for full-voice acting, is this just for the guild or will it include enemies as well?

It includes combat voice overs and major cut scenes. I have actually cut into the voice acting budget to help cover porting fees since I announced the Playstation 4 and Vita ports. Also, porting to so many consoles it would be best to keep the file sizes lower for audio since the game will be downloadable on those consoles.

JRPG’s traditionaly pack a lot of gameplay in, roughly how long do you think it would take to complete the game? Do you think you will continue the game with a sequel?

I\’m hoping to pack in roughly 15-20 hours into the first game and then I will jump into the second game to continue the saga, using the sales from the first, making it even better!

\"Garen

Would you choose to go down the Kickstarter route again?

We\’ll have to see where this Kickstarter takes us first, but I could see coming again to help get extra funding for the next game. Every penny helps and can make the game amazing! I think the next Kickstarter may even be able to do better with a solid and fun game backing it up.

You\’ve just announced that a Playstation 4 and Vita version of the game is also on it’s way. Do you see this mirroring the Wii U version? 

I\’m not sure what Sony has announced for their console yet, and I\’m under strict NDA, so I can\’t say too much about that yet.

Fair enough, NDAs are mean! Have you thought about how to make use of the Wii U’s unique features yet, such as Miiverse or Spotpass?

I have been thinking about it, but want to think about it a bit more before I announce how I\’d like to work with it exactly. I also need more information on how downloadable indie games can interact with those features.

How have you found your dealings with Nintendo so far? 

Nintendo has been pretty good to me so far. Dan Adelman is the indie contact there; He’s a busy man and can take several days to reply to an e-mail, but when he does it’s enlightening!

How easy was it to get on board the WiiU, would you change anything about this process?

Because Unity has such good ties with Nintendo and the WiiU now, it makes getting on board really easy. I won\’t know if I have any regrets until I have a development kit and am building the game on it.

How does it compare so far with the process Sony has in place and have you considered porting to the Xbox One?

Dan Adelman was quicker to respond than Sony and had more answers with less NDA paperwork. That’s about all I can say on that one.

I have not considered the Xbox One because I have not heard anything about Unity dealing with them. A system having a Unity IDE is the most important thing to me.

That’s just one of the Xbox One’s issues right there…

LOL!

What do you think of the Wii U and the eShop so far? 

I think the Wii U GamePad is very innovative and I\’m excited to work with it! I also think the eShop is opening up the gate for indies to really come in and do something great with the console. I think indies are really going to be the ones to define the future of these consoles, and I just hope they advertise their indie titles just as much as their own titles.

Nintendo certainly seem to be doing so, so far. It’s like their point of difference.

Yeah, I agree.

Thanks for answering my questions, and taking some time out of your day to chat with me.

Thank you! Thanks to everyone who has already donated to the Kickstarter campaign.

 

For all news Soul Saga, stay tuned to Nintendo Enthusiast, and don\’t forget to head on over to the Kickstarter page now to make your pledge!

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