Pieces Interactive may be best known for their work on Magicka 2 and Leviathan: Warships, but the Swedish development studio has been around for quite some time and has worked on a variety of projects. Their newest title, Kill to Collect, will mark the first title in a while that's solely developed/published by them. David Rosén, CEO of Pieces, spoke with us recently about this new game and what we can expect when it arrives sometime this spring.
Co-Optimus: Thank you for taking some time to answer our questions about "Kill to Collect." I wanted to start things off by going back a bit. Your studio got its start developing mobile games before transitioning to the consoles with Puzzlegeddon and Fret Nice. From there, you went on to enjoy a partnership with Paradox Interactive and Arrowhead Studios developing DLC for the original Magicka before developing the maritime strategy game Leviathan: Warships, and then working on Magicka 2. That's a very diverse portfolio! What have been some of the lessons you've learned working on so many different kinds of games?
David Rosén: My pleasure and wow, you have done quite a background check on us! Well, saying it's a diverse portfolio is nothing but true. We love games and in the past we were not yet focused on specific genres as we saw opportunities to try a lot of things. Lately however, we looked in the rear view mirror and realized that all past projects are connected in various ways and which has lead us to where we are now. Magicka DLCs, Magicka 2 and Kill to Collect in particular are co-op action games in a top-down perspective, incorporating our personal touch of colorful and hand painted art styles. The gameplay is most recognizable for being deep and demanding, requiring much more than just mindless button mashing. We think past achievements in our portfolio have helped us “find ourselves” and we’re very comfortable operating in this landscape.
Quick additional note: Puzzlegeddon and Fret Nice were actually before mobile, as that venture was a sidestep to our history. Pieces Interactive won a Swedish game development competition with Puzzlegeddon even before the company was technically founded.
Co-Optimus: Ah, ok; when I was going through all of the games you had worked on, the dates seemed a bit off with those two and the mobile games. That makes sense!
This goes a little into the financial side of things, but if you don't mind sharing, were some of these projects taken on in order to help fund Kill to Collect? Is this a game/idea that you've had on the backburner for some time?
David: None of the projects were taken on with the sole purpose of funding Kill to Collect. We loved working with the Magicka brand and Leviathan was a baby of ours which we loved as well. Yes, theoretically past successes helped support future endeavors like Kill to Collect.
Co-Optimus: Why not do a Kickstarter or Indiegogo or other crowdfunding campaign?
David: A Kickstarter campaign is a lot of work not closely related to actual game development. The simple and honest answer here is we elected to rely on partners for the non-game development factors in the journey to bring a game to market. We are improving our personal communication and make sure to keep our website, Facebook page and Twitter updated. We strive to be better at it and are slowly building our own routines for making sure we update our site and grow our Facebook page and Twitter presence (@PiecesInt). I myself just got a twitter account (@APieceofDavid) and we’ll see how that little adventure pans out.
Co-Optimus: Focusing on the game itself, what was the first idea for "Kill to Collect"? Did it start out as an 80’s cyberpunk dungeon crawler, or did those elements get added later?
David: Well, yes and no. The 80’s element was actually added when we rebooted the project in 2015. My first thing as a CEO in 2014, was actually to shut it down. Not for any reason relating to that project, but we needed all hands on deck to deliver I which at the time was our most important project. It started out pretty much as you described, but went through a bit of evolutionary changes given the stop-and-go nature of its early origins. Interestingly, one of the hardest things was actually to define its genre.
Rogue-like is a term used in so many ways nowadays. Do we dare call it a rogue-like when different games like Diablo and Path of Exile have claimed that genre in so many people’s eyes? If someone who is used to play Diablo goes into Kill to Collect expecting to hack and slash through it, they will be gravely disappointed... especially since they’d die straight off the bat! Frequent hacking for loot is not what Kill to Collect is about. This game is about developing your personal skill and having short intense sessions of challenging fun.