Cryamore's creators on the troubles with bringing action RPGs to the mobile market
By Matthew Diener 21 February 2013
Game Name: NostalgiCO | Publisher: NostalgiCO | Format: Android, iPhone, iPad, Ouya | Genre: Action, RPG
A few weeks back, the world was introduced to Cryamore: an impressive-looking action RPG that promised to recall the golden age of 16- and 32-bit gaming.

Interest in the game was strong from the outset, but it wasn't confirmed for iOS, Android, and Ouya until its Kickstarter campaign reached its 10th stretch goal.

Cryamore's creators - Rob Porter and Alan Wansom – were nice enough to answer a few questions for us about what gamers (specifically, mobile gamers) can expect from the upcoming Cryamore experience.

Pocket Gamer: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us today. When you initially launched the Cryamore's Kickstarter, you were hesitant to bring it to mobile platforms. Why was this?

Rob Porter: Thanks for having us. Originally, we were very stern on the amount of platforms that we would bring Cryamore to. We were just planning to go PC and Mac. Then the console and mobile crowd started calling out to us, pushing us to put it on other platforms like iOS and Android as well, so we just figured, why not?

Alan Wansom: There's also the issue of controls in mobile platforms being tricky to get right as your hand or fingers are likely going to end up blocking the screen which isn't good when you've got an action-driven game. We couldn't ignore the people asking to have the game on mobile platforms, and given how manufacturers seem to be moving to add a bit more to the screen dimensions of smaller devices these days, we found it fitting to bring the game to the mobile audience.

PG: What sort of control scheme can mobile gamers look forward to with Cryamore? Will it be all tap and touch, or will it rely on virtual control sticks and buttons?

AW: We've been mulling over how to best tackle the controls for the iOS and Android versions of Cryamore as we really don't want to mar the experience with shoddy controls, which is often the case when it comes to mobile versions of more action-heavy games.

The default control scheme of Cryamore would have to be virtual direction pads and buttons as these offer the least amount of screen blockage. We'll be sure to optimize and tweak things as much as possible to make the game function just as well in the mobile platforms and not just release a port without much thought to it. We really want the game to be enjoyed in full no matter where you play it.

PG: What do you hope to accomplish with Cryamore? Who is the game for?

AW: From the start, Rob and I wanted to make a tribute to the JRPGs we enjoyed during our youth. If anyone feels the same way about many RPGs these days being less gameplay and more movie, Cryamore is our contribution to the pool of games that want to go against that flow and the game would definitely be something for them to check out.

It's a love letter to the fun and wonder many of us all had with JRPGs back then.

RP: And we're also reaching out to the newer generation of youth. Almost everyone's playing the new Call of Duty, even 5-10 year old kids. Sad to see, but hopefully we can get this game to the hands of kids of this generation that didn't grow up with the fantastic, imaginative games like the ones we 25-something-and-ups grew up on.

PG: The past two years have seen a huge number of classic 16-bit RPGS and action RPGs ported over to iOS and Android. Why do you think this is?

AW: I figure with all the "cinematic experiences" games are offering these days, there's quite a number of people that want something with more gameplay and content. The RPGs from the previous eras definitely had that, and being able to play it on the go is a plus.

RP: Oh yeah, seconding Alan's notion on the "cinematic experience" bit. That's what it's all about these days in the mainstream. It seems everything has to be an equivalent of a big, blockbuster Hollywood epic, even in JRPGs/ARPGs. Even with the countless re-releases of older 16-bit RPGs (we're looking at you, Square Enix), we want to pump the momentum up to see fresh, new titles and ideas utilizing that classic aesthetic being made, and expounding on it with a more modern approach.

PG: The action elements of Cryamore are very apparent from the updates you've posted on your Kickstarter, but what RPG elements can players look forward to?

RP: We don't want to have the common, experience point stat-building element that forces players to grind. Grinding is a rather cheap mechanic to pump hours in and call it replay value. So our stat-building element will be simple: 4 attributes with a modest amount of levels to attain, which will shape how forceful your weapon attack is, how powerful your Cryamore abilities are, your natural defense, and your elemental adeptness.

AW: Esmy (the main character) can also become stronger through various collectibles that she can trade in for health and elemental point upgrades or new attacks for her weapon of choice.

There's really going to be a bunch of things to collect, so anyone that enjoys unlocking various goodies should find the game as something that can fill that craving. Adding to that, the whole element system with the Cryamore abilities which works for both puzzles and battles, but that's gonna be quite a lot to cover.

PG: From what we've heard, the music of Cryamore is as impressive as its art and animation. How did Aivi Tran create the feel for the game's music?

Aivi Tran: Thank you! I found Cryamore's "sound" by combining acoustic/orchestral instrumentals with some quirky synths and chiptune.

Coming up with Cryamore's soundtrack has been super fun - I get to roll up every game soundtrack from my childhood and create my own versions of classic JRPG archetypes. Something I love about soundtracks like Chrono Trigger and the Zelda games are their memorable melodies, and the conciseness and cleverness of their arrangements.

I've tried my best to only use what I need, and constantly evaluate whether this-or-that note is necessary when I'm writing so that the main melodies can shine through.

I've gotten a LOT of help from Surasshu with mixing and other parts of the composing process (he is my hero!) We've gone for a bright and happy sound to match the game's vibrant artwork. I've also created some of my own sounds just for Cryamore, and perform all of my piano parts live for a more emotive, human touch... It's my way of putting my stamp on each song, and I hope it helps to make the soundtrack a little more special.

PG: To talk about art now, the retro influence in the sprite design is readily apparent – but where else did Rob Porter look for inspiration for the game’s art?

RP: Well, I've been influenced by a lot of art in the JRPG genres since I was a kid. I grew up copying Akira Toriyama's work in Chrono Trigger and doodling the trio from Secret of Mana, so the influence was rooted deep early on.

Also, I'm a HUGE Classic Capcom fan, spending a childhood drooling over and mimicking the art of Tatsuya Yoshikawa, Kinu Nishimura, Bengus, Akiman, Edayan, and others that were in that group. Over time, I've become acquainted with so many other styles from various games, mixing their elements into my own art style and the style I've chosen specifically for Cryamore.

PG: Cryamore shot past the voice acting stretch goal without ever looking back, will the voice of Esmy change from the one we heard in the (impressive) Kickstarter video?

AW: We actually talked about having Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson do the voices for everybody in the game. You can’t go wrong with that!

RP: Ha, yeah. Erica will retain her role as Esmy, as well as Kimlinh as Bliss and Marianne as Braxton. We also have a lot of professional talent lined up to audition for the game's other characters and NPCs, actors who've voiced lead roles in One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist, Dragonball, and a bunch of other credits.

PG: Cryamore has an expected delivery date of March 2014 - does this include the mobile version as well?

RP: We're definitely going to shoot for it to be released with all the other versions, but we can't make too many promises on the exact date. But we're aiming for the mobile releases to be very close to the main PC and Mac release.

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