It’s not often that one happens to stumble across a 2D action game that sports impressive gothic imagery as part of its vivid art aesthetic. But that’s exactly what happened at Gamescom 2016 when I stumbled across Black Witchcraft – a “Full HD Gothic Action RPG” from Korean indie game studio Quattro Gear. Having never heard about the game before, and with so little information about the product, I decided to interview Seokho Lee (one half of Quattro Gear) in order to find out more about about his game. Enjoy!
What was the inspiration for Black Witchcraft?
Me and the co-founder really liked the gothic style. We were inspired by Edgar Allan Poe who was a really famous American writer.
How long has Black Witchcraft been in development for, and how many people have worked on it?
It took us about two years, and two people have been involved in the project.
What has been your role on the title?
I didn’t really have a role, but I shared a lot of the work with Quattro Gear’s co-founder. So it’s actually a work from both people. I don’t have a specific role in this.
But were you mostly in charge of programming, art, or design? How would you describe yourself in this regard? I know that development is often-times a collaborative process, and every member of staff has their own particular strengths. What would you say is your particular strength that you’ve been able to bring to Black Witchcraft?
Because I was really interested in full HD 2D gothic style art, I was mainly in charge of the art.
What platforms is Black Witchcraft coming out on and when will the game be released?
We are developing for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It’s still in the development stage, and will be launching on those platforms in the first part of 2017.
As far as the game is concerned, what would you like to polish between now and when the game comes out? What are the glaring weaknesses that still need to be addressed within the game?
Before, the game only had one main figure. But we’re now planning to make two playable characters. And in the time when we’ve been developing, we’ve realised that the public reacts really well towards the game, and interest has just kept increasing. So we are now being a little bit more ambitions, and we’re trying to make more chapters for the second character. So this will be the biggest change before the game comes out next year.
Without giving much away, what inspired the storyline for Black Witchcraft?
‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, a novel from Edgar Allan Poe.
How did Quattro Gear form, and how many titles has Quattro Gear worked on prior to Black Witchcraft?
Quattro Gear is actually just a name that we thought sounded good. There isn’t actually a specific reason why the name is Quattro Gear. As for the game Black Witchcraft, it was actually a name we were thinking about for a long time because me and the co-founder have worked together for a long time – for about 15 years – for very famous game companies. And when we were working, we had already thought about the name. The reason why we made our own company is because we wanted to make our own 2D gothic style game.
Is this the first game that you have worked on as part of Quattro Gear?
Black Witchcraft is Quattro Gear’s first title.
You referred to how you have worked with Quattro Gear’s other co-founder in various other companies. What companies have you worked for previously? And what were your biggest reasons for wanting to splinter off and make your own game, as opposed to maybe going to the company head and saying, “Please fund me”?
This one I have already told you. I couldn’t do my own thing in the companies that I worked for. I wanted to make a game where I don’t have to follow any instructions from anyone. Just do it in my own style.
Okay. But what other companies? What is your development background?
The Korean market is online and mobile. There is no console market. We wanted to make a console game. Now that we are independent, we can make this game.
You’re releasing on XBox One and PS4. Given that you’re a small indie developer, how much support has Quattro Gear received from Microsoft and Sony in order to get Black Witchcraft on their platforms?
From Sony, we received the development kit. And when we have problems or something, Sony looks at it, and helps us from their side. And XBox… ID@Xbox is Microsoft’s indie program. To be honest, I’ve actually been very satisfied with the support from the development kits. But with regards to other types of support… it was okay, but not brilliant.
Is this Sony or Microsoft?
Microsoft has done everything that they’ve said that they would do, with the development kit and everything. But Sony has helped us to present our work at other game events.
What about PS Vita?
We’re planning to do the Vita version after we have done the XBox and PlayStation versions. But because the memory is so small, the textures aren’t quite what we imagined, so we need to do a little bit more work on optimisation.
I’ve spoken about Sony and Microsoft. What about Nintendo? How forthcoming, or how helpful have Nintendo been? Have they even approached Quattro Gear?
For this game, no. Maybe for the next one we’re planning… But not for Black Witchcraft.
There seems to be a bit of a trend as far as the industry is concerned. Koji Igarashi, the ex-Konami Designer who was in charge of the old 2D Castlevania games. He’s gone off and is making his own 2D side-scroller called Bloodstained…
I really like Koji Igarishi’s work and am looking forward to his Bloodstained game. I’ve backed the Kickstarter campaign.
There’s been a growing trend for 2D side-scrolling games in today’s market. There’s obviously Koji Igarishi’s forthcoming title. Vanillaware Games also released the remake of their own 2D game, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, on the PS Vita and PS4. Why do you think there is a trend for games of this kind to be making a comeback, even though developers have so much more power to work with nowadays?
The main reason why I made Black Witchcraft is because I have been making 3D games for the last 15 years. Now I just want to make 2D games because that’s what I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. 2D games now have more edge because the 3D games have almost reached their limit. 2D games are more unique in the market as their style is more distinctive.
Special thanks to Ms Choi for providing translation assistance on behalf of Seokho Lee.