Confrontation the PC Video Game
Cyanide Studio and published by Focus House Interactive

General Questions:

Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and what you do at Cyanide Studio?

I’m project manager and lead game designer at Cyanide Studio, so my work is to lead a team and work with it. My role is to give a good vision of what we are doing but also to create the game mechanism and game play.

Let’s cut straight to the chase – tell us about your new title, Confrontation the PC Video Game?

Confrontation is a sort of tactical RPG with not so much of RPG but with many of tactical, at least it is what we hope 🙂
The game takes place in Aarklash, a fantasy world from a French miniature’s game (from Rachkam Company). But it is not exactly the same game, it is just a game inspired by this universe.
You take the control of 4 characters at the same time and you have to give orders to each one in some kind of micromanagement tactical battle.
To help you, you can freeze the game with an active pause mode in order to think and give order without time pressure.

Confrontation the PC Video Game looks like quite an exciting and ambitious project – could you give us an overview on what Confrontation does, and some of the key features it will bring to players?

The universe of the game is so great, very deep and has a so good looking that it is a key feature by itself

The main focus of the game is his tactical aspect so the key feature is the fact that if you make a mistake, you will lose. It is something very important for us because all the fun in that game comes when you are really happy to have defeat a group of opponents
And to be happy of that, you have to know that it was not so easy!

Development Questions:

What are the key features from the Confrontation Role Playing Game incorporated into Confrontation the PC Video Game?

I’m sorry to say that there is nothing from the role playing game in our game. : p
We love the city of Cadwallon (which is more a role playing game) but that was not the time for us to do such a game.

The development process for Confrontation the PC Video Game must have been quite a journey, what were some of the major ups and downs in the development?

Confrontation is not a very heavy budget game so it was not always very easy to manage “what we can’t do” if I can say this like that.
We have a very deep background to follow with Aarklash universe and we decide to create our own game’s mechanism so, we began with many things about the universe and nothing about the game 🙂

So, it was not very easy to decide what we can do and what we can’t. Sometime it is hard to say no to a good idea because you know that it will be too long to make it.
The good side is that I love to work with a little team (because you can talk with every one, you can involve everyone in the creation process and it is easier to create team motivation) and create a game from nothing always give some very fun moments when all the pieces began to fit together.

There are a substantial amount of PC Video Games/Role Playing Games on the market, what sets Confrontation the PC Video Game apart from other, similar titles?

I think that we are not an RPG, not a hack and slash and not a pure tactical game! But we have part of theses 3 types of games in our own game.
So maybe Confrontation is not like other games? 🙂

Ok ok, that is a very weak answer but in a way, this is true. We tried to “take” what we love in other games to make our own “mayonnaise”.

The concept artwork looks great, what were the sources of inspiration for this particular artistic direction?

The concept artworks are from the Rackham miniature’s game, they are not ours.
There were many talented concept artists who worked on this universe before us.

What are some of the future plans and projects for Cyanide Studio after Confrontation the PC Video Game is launched?

I can’t talk about that for now. :p

Do you have any advice or “words of wisdom” for new developers aspiring to work in the video game industry?

I’m not a very experienced developer so it will be a shame to pretend that I can give good advice.
I think that the more important thing is to have fun when you create a game because, it’s hard to achieve if you make it without excitation 🙂

Cooperative game play seems to go hand-in-hand with what Confrontation the PC Video Game has to offer – What are some of the advantages and features centered on playing with other people?

Playing with other people is fun because you never know what is going to happen (which can happen with IA).
But, yes, we have no cooperative mode in Confrontation.
We have thought about this but we had understood very early in the development that we will miss so much time to make it. So we just decide not to do it.

Confrontation offers a cooperative game play but only with the synergy between your 4 units. You have to create cooperation between all the fighters of your team but you play it alone 😉

I’m sure one of the main questions regarding Confrontation the PC Video Game is the learning curve required to take advantage of the platform… What kind of skill level will be needed to fully experience what Confrontation the PC Video Game has to offer?

As I said at the beginning, the fact that you will lose if you make any mistake is a key feature for us.
But at the beginning the game is really easy in order to let you time to understand how it works. And we give you the choice between 3 difficulty modes (and easy one is really easy).
The game is a sort of tactical rpg with an RTS looking but the main feature is that you can (and you “have” in fact if you want to survive ^^) pause the game to think and give orders, so the more important skill you will need is to use your brain 😉

I think that, if I look behind, the game is too easy for a long time (maybe it take s 4 hours before beginning for real) but well, it is not the place to discuss about the mistakes we made 🙂

What are some of the challenges you face as an independent development company? How does it compare to working for a larger studio?

For me, the main challenge is that players don’t care that your game hasn’t got a development budget as large as a Blizzard one for example. And they are right! There are so many very good games from so many little teams, that we have to make the good choices to do the same (and sometime our team is larger than “very little” :p).

But it also has advantages to work as an independent company.
We are free to choose the type of game we want to make, we can work in little team (and I love that) and we can involve all the people and avoid to have only executing people in our team!
I think that working with people in front of you is more important and fun that work with people by email 😉

What are some of the more exciting projects you have worked on in the past? What has been your favorite project so far?

I have began working as game designer on Pro Cycling Manager 2007 where I have learn more than on all the other project s I ever made (I was the padawan of Clement Pinget, an incredible game designer who is the soul of Cycling Manager for ten years now).
After that I was lead game designer on Dungeon Party and Dungeon Raider and finally, I have been project manager and lead game designer on Confrontation.

I can’t have a favorite project but I have to admit that Dungeon Party was a very important one for me. It was my first game design from scratch and the game was a part of me of course.
Ok, I know what you are thinking “What the fuck is Dungeon Party? Never heard a thing about that game” 😀

I love Dungeon Party because it was a team play multiplayer Moba in a really funny world. And yes, I love multiplayer game and I love to have fun (I try to laugh every day!! :))

Are there any particular titles or series you would like to work on in the future?

No! I like to know that I don’t know what I will do in the future 🙂
I have to be well organized when I lead a development team so, it is enough for me, I like so much to improvise for all the other times in life.

Do you have a favorite developer? Why?

There is so much impressive developer s that it is a hard to select only one.
But I’m a player so I will try 🙂

If I have to select a company I will choose Faster Than Light just because they have made Dungeon Master which is the best game in the universe, forever 🙂
And if I have to choose one game designer I will said Sid Meyer because Civilization is the best game in the universe, forever 🙂

Wait….two best games in the universe? 😀

Being a developer must give you a unique perspective on many games, are there any particular titles that “stand out” from a development standpoint?

Challenging Questions:

As the industry becomes more commercialized as a whole, do you see a shift in quality of production to more marketing driven games?

I think it’s a mistake to link the quality of the games with the increase of the marketing. In reality, there’s always been good and bad games. Create a video game is not an exact science and we always have to take some risks.

The marketing puts forward some games more than others, even if they are not necessarily better. There are always fabulous games on the market, whether there is marketing or not.

Independent gaming is working (?) well at the time. Some projects have a big success without any marketing so the marketing doesn’t make the game greater or not, it has nothing to do with this.

What are your thoughts on the creative control of a video game project? Have you ever had a conflict between yourself and a publisher?

The most difficult thing is to make the good choice to keep a good direction. When you are in the development, it’s not always easy to step back. It’s the time when you can convince yourself that a choice is the good one, and in reality this is a big mistake.

The role of the publisher is to make sure that these choices are not bad. He is outside of the dev team and even if we don’t always agree, he is often right. He is on the best place to judge the global work.

I never really been in conflict with a publisher because we are working on small budgets and they give us a lot of freedom.

Where does the majority of Confrontation the PC Video Game take place, geographically?

The game takes place in the east of Aarklash. You lead a Griffin force in the desert of the Syharhalna where the Alchemist of Dirz is hiding.
You will travel to the North, to cross the Bran-O-Kor and continue to the land of the Wolfen.

How do you all handle critics and negative criticism?

It is never a good moment when players have a negative feeling of your game. But hey, we make game for them so we have to learn where we have made mistakes and try to understand why in order not to do that again.

But, yeah, it is easier to handle good criticism and see people have fun on your game.

Other than profit, what do you consider success?

Player’s fun of course.

What do you consider failure?

Players not having fun 🙂

How would you like your company to be viewed externally by fans? What do you want to be known for?

We have a lot of passionate people at Cyanide. When we decide to work on a license, it’s because we really love it. We always do all the possible to respect the different universes imaginated by the authors. And I hope the fans can feel that.

Any final comments for our readers?

Don’t date noob, PWN them !