Battle Chasers: Nightwar Interview — Creative Director Talks Development, Crowdfunding, and JRPGs
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is on many western JRPG fans' radars as being one of their most anticipated games of 2017. DualShockers sits down with Creative Director and CEO of Airship Syndicate Joe Madureira to talk about the game's development.
When Airship Syndicate launched the Kickstarter campaign for Battle Chasers: Nightwar, fans of the turn-based RPG genre supported the team with everything they could. Fans wanted to see the art of Battle Chasers come to life in a true adventure that they can experience. I even had to opportunity to preview the game and I had a great time with the early demo, impressed by the art direction and turned-based mechanics.
DualShockers had the opportunity to sit down with Creative Director and CEO of Airship Syndicate Joe Madureira to talk about Battle Chasers: Nightwar‘s development and what’s to come from the studio.
Azario Lopez: Without overdoing it, Battle Chasers: Nightwar captures that classic JRPG feel while still standing out as a unique game. What are some of your favorite JRPGs and which did you choose to add as nods in Battle Chasers: Nightwar‘s systems?
Joe Madureira: There are so many good ones! Some of my favorites of all time are Lunar: Silver Star Story, Suikoden series (mostly 1 and 2), Arc the Lad, Brave Fencer Musashi, and obviously the Final Fantasy games. I wouldn’t say that we specifically said, “Oh, let’s take this from this game.” But I think all of it has just influenced my style. It all influenced the comic, which influenced the game in many ways and from a design perspective we’re really just making a game that we think will be really fun.
Sometimes it’s going to be elements from the classics and sometimes it’s from newer stuff. Crafting systems, collection and achievement stuff that you see in more modern games are in Battle Chasers: Nightwar. But also, I don’t think we are setting out to create some unique thing, but I think it’s for all of our collective love for the genre.
AL: Now that Battle Chasers: Nightwar‘s universe has expanded into the world of video games, do you plan to return to the graphic novels?
JM: So there is a plan, I’m going to do at least three new issues for the comic series, which will continue the story of the comics. The game will only continue the story of the game if there’s ever a sequel: they are separate, and one doesn’t tie into the other.
AL: Battle Chasers: Nightwar did really well on Kickstarter. How was your experience with the crowdfunding platform?
JM: It was awesome. I can honestly say we wouldn’t be able to make this game if we didn’t go to Kickstarter. Pitching a turn-based RPG to a publisher is not the sexiest thing these days, but we knew that if we loved them then there’s probably people like us that love them. Sometimes the fans are the ones that have to step in help games like this get made.
I think that’s why there are so many small games on Kickstarter that are side-scrollers or visual novel adventures: stuff that isn’t sexy today on the market, but then they end up doing really well because the fanbase is there and the love for them is there. However, it’s not something that a publisher is going to bank all their marketing on. It’s been huge for us and there’s a lot of work that goes into it, but it was definitely worth it for us.
AL: Would Airship Syndicate use a crowdfunding platform again in the future?
JM: You know, I think so. It really depends on what the project is and where we are financially. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, but I would certainly consider it again because it was such a positive experience.
AL: After Battle Chasers: Nightwar launches, do you have plans for DLC or updates?
JM: We have definitely talked about it, and we have ideas. A lot of it is going to depend on when we move forward on our next project and also how the game’s received. If it does super well, then of course we have to support it further: but if it tanks, then I don’t know how much further content there is going to be. It’s one of those things where we have a contingency plan and we’re definitely thinking about it.
AL: How was the process during development getting the game on Nintendo Switch?
JM: It’s been good. We just recently started working on that version and a lot of features aren’t in yet, but it’s not any more difficult than it has been for any of the other versions. We don’t really push the technology a lot in this game anyway: it’s more art-driven instead of technology-driven. That’s kind of what gives it that old school look, such as hand-painted textures.
AL: So could you comment on any touch screen or HD Rumble features?
JM: That’s all stuff we are figuring out right now: it’s a little too early to say.
AL: Now that Airship Syndicate has tackled the JRPG, are there any other genres that you’d like to develop?
JM: When we first started Airship Syndicate, we were either going to make an RPG or a “Metroidvania” game. Someday we have to do it.
AL: Would you consider translating Battle Chasers: Nightwar into Japanese?
JM: I feel like I heard that we are, but that’s really a THQ Nordic question. You kind of have to! It’s like how can you have this Japanese-inspired RPG and not release it in Japan? Plus, I would like to hear Japanese audio.
AL: So now that the release date is approaching, what is the atmosphere like in the office?
JM: Stress. I can’t wait to get home. Honestly, everyone is working a lot of late hours to get it out the door and make it a quality game. It’s not the most fun part of game development, but it also feels so close to the end.
AL: Is there anything you’d like to say to fans of Battle Chasers: Nightwar?
JM: Thank you for the support. Not only could we not have made Battle Chasers: Nightwar without fan support on Kickstarter, but we wouldn’t be making this game at all if people didn’t still care about Battle Chasers and the Heroes. All the loyal followers from the comic days and our Darksiders supporters over the years have made this game possible, so thank you.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is coming to PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on October 3rd, 2017.