NDS Exclusive Blossom Soft Interview

We chat to Indy developers Blossom Soft about there first DS game, Western Lords.

Ben Johnson at DS-x2 recently got a chance to sit down and talk to the developers of Western Lords, Blossom Soft. Heres what they had to say:

DS-x2: Thank you for your time, could you tell who you are and what your role is at Blossom Soft.

Blossom Soft: My name is Elder Prince and I the producer of Western Lords. But actually I also fulfilling many other positions inside our development team such as 2D artist, story designer, and now I even planning to take part in the programming department to help. I really want stuff to stay faithful to my main idea :). Haha, it the way producers are!

DS-x2: Could you give us a rough description of what Western Lords is all about please?

Blossom Soft: You know, when I was visiting many game communities talking about WL I was a little deceived to notice they labelled our game as an American spaghetti genre because it isn what the game really is.

10 years ago I was already working on the concept of this game while I was watching my favourite anime show called The Mysterious Cities of Gold (MCoG). In fact, this is all what WL is about! I desperately wanted to see a game with that kind of plot!

Back then my first idea of the main character was a young navigator wielding a sword with an incredible dexterity. But then I realized that it wouldn be very unique and it would share too many points with MCoG. So I decided to go further with the idea. I was asking myself for nights and nights; what would actually make the story authentic and remain in the vein of MCoG? Then a light lit in my head, I would simply push the plot a little further in time and decided to create a Mexican environment during a far-western timeline.

But yet, the plot is set in a fantasy world sharing stuff from Inca mythology. Nothing to do with our real world. That what Western Lords is. Far-west elements (revolvers and outlaws) are only there to support the main idea.

DS-x2: What made you choose to do an RPG, like Western Lords? Blossom Soft: *laughs* I don have any good argument for this that will make me sound like a clever guy. But if you surf our blog, youl find an amusing joke made during last April Fool by me and William Knight, and back then our visitors wasn pleased by the fact that we announced WL to be suddenly changed as a puzzle genre similar to tetris due to production cost haha. During that same day I received plenty of emails expressing deception. It was hilarous. I a supporter of April Fool you know *laughs again*. So based on this anecdote, I just guess that a RPG genre is the best form of game fusing an emotive storyline, great sound score, tactical gameplay and nice graphics all together.

DS-x2: Why did you make the platform switch from GBA to Nintendo DS? Blossom Soft: At first, we were planning everything for the GBA. Unfortunately I wasn totally ready to face such a big project. Being an indy devloper isn easy, mostly when youe aiming a professional result. During a whole year I had to learn to manage a team, learn to talk English properly, learn creating 2D-graphics, learn business and legal stuff, and recently I improving my programming skills to make sure the coding department will respect QA rules.

So technically we were in nick of time with the GBA development and our project was literally dead-meat. My mother died the same year too. It wasn easy.

Fortunately the DS is a form of rebirth for my team and I. We have more time ahead of us, not to mention that I have a stronger experience.

I very glad to move on the DS. That a great system, really.

DS-x2: When did Western Lords begin in development? Blossom Soft: It was only 10 years ago that the main idea started to shape. Oh besides I still have an old notebook with all my ideas written inside it. From its yellowish pages I can even tell you that our main character Bandanna was previously called Billy. Willem was called Bishop, Anuk was called Yura and Funebre was called Mortea.

DS-x2: What makes Western Lords different from standard RPG's? Blossom Soft: I don think our role as an Indy developer is to offer a completely new genre. We were more attracted by the idea to publish a traditional RPG reminding the nostalgia of the 1990s. In a way our game is a kind of continuity from this epoch, that probably why our game has a similar look with Chrono Trigger since it was the last best-seller RPG back then. Anyway, I wanted to live this experience once in my life before to jump in the 3D world and Nintendo handheld system was my unique chance.

DS-x2: Does Western Lords use any of the DS's unique features, such as Wi-Fi multiplayer mode that could allow players to form an online party? Blossom Soft: Yes. Wee currently discussing such features. But it is too soon to talk about this right now.

DS-x2: Roughly how far are you in development of Western Lords. Blossom Soft: Moving on the DS implied us to start again most of our earlier development from scratch. For instance, the previous game engine didn respect QA rules, and when our two main programmers left us I was aware that we couldn go on with their work. That the reason why I wanted to take part in the programming department as well, it the compromise to do when youe the leader of an Indy project, you have to be omnipotent .

So far what youe seen on our website are old mock-ups. We just wanted to give a little idea of our game development and maybe recruit more talented people.

So we can almost call our DS decision a new depart, except we have already great DS stuff in the progress.

Also wee planning to offer a package of our stuff to game communities every 2-3 month, so you can expect new information from us before the New Year :). DS-x2: How long do you estimate the play time for a player to complete Western Lords?

Blossom Soft: Probably the standard magical 40 hours. But I can guarantee that you won forget playing Western Lords.

DS-x2: What would you like to say to our readers out there? Blossom Soft: Hey send me money, I hungry! O_o

Haha. Thank you very much everyone. Our determination is mainly due to your support. The fact that you believe in us make a good difference!

I can guarantee you that this project won die that easily unlike many other Indy projects. This game is my only motivation to live in this world :)

Thank you!

DS-x2: Thanks you for your time, and good luck with Western Lords!

Posted on 12-10-2005 by skarma


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