In this edition of Killzown Interviews I had a chance to speak with Matt Siegel from Bit Mass LLC, the creators of Cards & Castles. I talk to Matt about his background in gaming, how he help to create Cards & Castles, and more. Check out the interview below and be sure to check to back to realgamernewz.com for more Killzown Interviews.
First off Matt thank you for sitting down with me to conduct this interview with me. If you would please tell me a little bit about yourself and your company.
Well I don’t like to talk about myself too much, but I guess I’m kind of a nerdy guy (surprise!) who really likes video games and strategy games. I have a background in spending thousands of dollars on MTG in high school and also, uh, programming computers. I’ve been making games since I was 12 and sometimes I go out and drink craft beer, and that’s about it! Our company consists of myself and two primary artists, and a handful of come and go contractors who we hire for odds and ends (sound, Q&A etc). So we’re a really lean operation, which is good starting out. This is our first game and we plan to support and keep working on it for a very long time!
When did you all come up with the idea for Cards and Castles and what was the inspiration behind this title?
It was about a year and a half ago, I’d been experimenting with web-based strategy games and I had something sort of in the Advance Wars vein, only with a random shuffle mechanic for your special abilities. At some point I figured out that the shuffle mechanic was sort of like a deck in a CCG, and if you could customize those decks it’d add a lot of depth and re-playability. So that’s when this thing really took off, that’s when I hired a team and really switched over to the core gameplay concept we have today.
How did the team create the battle system for the game?
Assuming you’re talking about the design, we went with pretty straightforward mechanics of attack and move for the core combat. Because we designed for mobile devices we focused on systems that would not involve a lot of menus or filtering through buttons. Everything you do takes 2 taps at most. Tap to select unit, tap again to act (move or attack). Drag a card to play it. And we did a ton of play-testing with friends and family to make sure the gameplay was smooth and could be picked up easily.
How did the team make the game-play so easily accessible to all games yet still offer challenge later in the game?
We kept the core of the gameplay really as simple as possible, and expanded on that through our card mechanics. The neat thing about a CCG is that cards can do ANYTHING. This is no less true in digital CCGs. So players will start with very simple cards, and we give them more complex cards at a steady rate.
Cards and Castles is such a great game and its free on both IOS and Android, what made you all decide to make the game free to play?
We’re a completely unknown entity, this is our first game and no one has ever heard of us. Keeping that in mind, we went with free to play so that as many people as possible could try out our game. On a personal level I was also very inspired by the Riot Games business model, where they have this high quality free game and use very fair monetization practices to make their money. We were confident that we could make a free game that didn’t stoop to some of the dirtier practices of monetizing, and I think we’ve succeeded in making a game that is very fair to free players and paying players alike.
What was your favorite moment while working on Cards and Castles?
I think my favorite thing was meeting new players at PAX East last spring, it is really great to know how much your work is appreciated.
What new cards and features will we see in the near future for the game?
It’s a secret to everybody! Actually, I can tell you the very next thing that’s coming out is our Halloween costumes! I’d look for those to come out sometime in mid-November. Kidding there, we will have Halloween costumes very soon and we’re going to start releasing new standalone characters very soon, and a full expansion set sometime in the future. There’s a peasant riding a pig which a few people might have noticed has made its way into the tutorial, there may or may not be a spirit panda on its way and a bunch of other new characters and mechanics. We’re going to start playing with debuff buildings as well, buildings that weaken the enemy’s units, which should open up a new dimension of play for tempo decks. We do art previews fairly often on our twitter @CardsandCastles if you want to see the latest stuff!
Will Cards and Castle come to the Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita, or any of the Home consoles?
Our first priority is actually a PC and Mac release. Expect to see that early next year! We actually don’t know a whole lot about console development, so while a 3DS port sounds great in theory I have no idea whether that will ever actually happen. I imagine that depends on how successful we are with our current versions.
Thank you for your time Matt and I wish your team further success with Cards and Castles as well as all of your future titles.
Cards and Castles Trailer