With long-time browser game development team Artix Entertainment‘s latest project, AdventureQuest 3D, just around the corner, we at SirusGaming consider ourselves lucky to have an exclusive interview with the guys behind the games. Here we asked the team to introduce themselves a bit, as well as share a little background on Artix Entertainment itself. We also asked about what to expect from their upcoming new game.
Would you kindly introduce yourselves to the readers?
Hiya! I am Adam “Artix” Bohn of Artix Entertainment. Our website is www.Artix.com . For the past 13 years, my team of 47 creative, dedicated, and borderline crazy video game developers have been making Flash-based web games. Out of our 7 online games, our most popular games include AdventureQuest, DragonFable, and AdventureQuest Worlds. Over 150 million players have created accounts for those games. Now are making cross-platform games that you can play on Mobile devices & Steam! What makes our games unique is our continuously updating worlds… we continue building the game under your feet, as your play it, with your input. Now we are focusing on our newest game, AdventureQuest 3D which we recently funded on Kickstarter.
While everyone at Artix Entertainment has an equal voice, today we are joined and being represented by:
Dage the Evil: Artist. Ruler of the Undead Legion.
Yergen: Content Director. Speaks softly, carries a large ice cream spork. Artix: CEO. Maker of bad puns and constant trouble.
Main platform/s: Used to be Flash/Unity3D, now we are moving to Cross Platform! STEAM (Windows, Mac), Apple iOS, Android and more.
Game genres catered: Fantasy, Multiplayer with a splattering of Sci Fi and and at least one embarrassing mistake featuring ponies.
Achievements as a dev team:
Our 1st game, AdventureQuest (Flash/Web), was created over 13 years ago and have been updated EVERY SINGLE WEEK since.
AdventureQuest 3D (www.BattleOn.com , Cross Plattorm- STEAM PC/Mac, Apple iOS, Android, more)
We turned down a signed term sheet for a larger company to buy our studio for $84 Million. (Sorta an achievement! …also in retrospect a terrible move, the gaming industry is so insanely competitive now!)
Action Figures of our characters were sold in Toys”R”Us
Card game based on AdventureQuest Worlds was in Toys”R”Us
Our first mobile game, BattleGems was a featured best new game on the Apple App store.
Artix ran on the American Ninja Warrior TV show wearing his Paladin armor.
What could you say your games are like and what makes them stand out? As well as what were your main inspirations for your games?
Our games are a delicious, inspired casserole of hulking monsters, oversized weapons, puns and unforgettable special events. Also an excellent source of calcium when served with milk.
When I was much younger, a friend let me hack the source files of a BBS door game called Legend of the Red Dragon. I surprised players by attacking the town with an army of undead minions and an evil darkness dragon which controlled them. The event was run manually, and I completely broke their expectations of how things worked in game. The following week a boy ran up to me in the hallway at school and asked, “HEY! Are you that guy that did that undead war thing in LOTRD!? That was the craziest thing I have ever played! How did you do that?”
Every since I have tenaciously sought to create unusual interesting experiences in our games including wars, special events, live musical guests, and even that terrible idea we had to do a special anniversary quest which spanned 7 of our games, where a series of videos revealed an evil corporation had gained access to our games and if they did not destroy their evil minions in time they would shut down the game network.
As the players fought, and their combined victories moved a “war meter” forward, more videos of the evil CEO getting increasingly frustrated and taking on more and more desperate acts to stop them. Unfortunately, in this instance, many of our younger players thought it was actually real– Fear resulting from thinking that this Evil Company might actually shut down the studio, resulting in the worst holiday sale in the history of the company. But oh man what an event!
We originally made web games because they were so incredibly accessible. We were creating “Cloud based free to play games” before either of those terms even existed. Our goal now is to continue that trend by making our new games play on any device. The pilot game for this initiative is AdventureQuest 3D at www.AQ3D.com
What were the challenges you and your team encountered upon first starting out as indie game devs and what are the challenges you are facing now?
DAGE: I started as a player of the games. Being inspired by the gameplay, I continually created fan art and bettered myself to create things that would stand out. I really wanted to be noticed. Because of my art on the forums, I got noticed and invited down to meet the team. I went from sitting in my room doing art like I wanted to suddenly being dropped into the “real world” with crazy deadlines every single week. Really, it was a dream come true and it took me to the next level that I was looking for. It really let me get my foot in the door.
Biggest challenge? Coming up with new ideas every week. We do weekly releases in the game. Every single week I had to 1-up what we did the previous week. I’m a good artist, but coming up with new ideas and raising the bar every week was the main challenge. Also, we always have to work within the hardware limits. Shifting to 3D is a lot easier than Flash was, now that we do not have to redraw every piece of armor just to re-animate it.
YERGEN: Coming from a corporate Movie background, joining an indie game studio was a very big change. It is the difference between going from a business to working with a family. The intense pace was the same, but the atmosphere is, well… more chaotic. You never know what you are going to be doing from day to day. Everyone pitches in to complete the goals. One morning I showed up and we saw YouTube had released 360 VR videos. So Artix said, “Let’s make a 360 VR video for Youtube!” Within 6 hours, we researched how to do it, got software, made a 3D flythrough scene for AdventureQuest 3D, fought through the bugs and released it. Most days are like this.
ARTIX: Back in 2002 when I was creating the first game, I was all alone. The game spread virtually on its own because of how unique it was at the time. We found a lot of talented people in the community who started as volunteers and then moved on to become employees and contractors. In 2009, things started getting extremely competitive in the web-game space. Facebook games were all the rage and mobile games were on the rise.
As an indie game studio, you make good games and happy players or you starve. There is so much competition and noise in the gaming space now that simply having a great game is not enough… it has to have a heart, and one heck of a strong reason for your friends to play with you. We believe the secret to a successful game is creating incredible experiences that you can share together with your friends.
What is your biggest challenge in developing AQ3D in particular?
Creating a great Fantasy MMO? No problem. Making it cross-platform, AND creating the same amazing experience no matter which device you are playing with… that is a real challenge!
What’s the main gameplay going to be like and what unique features should the players be looking forward to?
Our goal is to create a single game world, and let you log into that world with the same character from your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android Tablet/Phone and other devices. Imagine you are at your friend’s house and they are playing on their computer using STEAM. You can pull out your phone and join them in two taps. Or imagine you and your friends are all out at dinner and are waiting on desert. Everyone takes out their phones or tables and does a dungeon run.
AdventureQuest 3D has all the features you would expect from a modernized MMORPG. It also features multi-classing. You can obtain different character classes like Paladin, Necromancer, Ninja, DragonSlayer, and many more… then switch between them at any time. Need a healer? No problem “SWITCH!” The game also features weapon fusion. Combine any two items of the same type together and keep the parts you like. There is also “sidekicking” so you can boost your friends up to your level if you are going somewhere too high for them. Game content is designed for solo, 2-player, and group play. The game’s ongoing storyline will be told through regular releases making it a great “go to” game with new surprises to keep you entertained.
What business model will you be following for the game?
There will not be any membership in AdventureQuest Worlds. We are also sick of all the pay-2-win mobile games out there. So we are adopting a much more fair “pay to get things faster” (or early) model. We want to keep as much of this game as accessible to everyone as possible.
In your opinion, how do you see or gauge the mobile gaming industry?
We are in the NEW “Good Ol’ Days” of video games. Never have there been so many tools, resources, creativity and talent available to build games before. Phones now have the power of some consoles, and they are only going to get more powerful.
AdventureQuest 3D is going to be a great role model for cross-platform games. Sure, what we are doing has been attempted before, but I do not feel any games have done it right yet. Whether you are a game developer or a hardcore player, the things we are going to remember about this era will be the incredible experiences that we have together with our friends. In the end, the best memories we have together in games always start with the phrase “Do you remember that time we….” — and that is what we are setting out to create.
What advice can you give to aspiring game devs?
No matter what you are doing in life, I would like to share with you the 3 simple rules we follow here at Artix Entertainment:
Make the next thing you do better than the last thing you did
NEVER GIVE UP.
When all else fails, return to step #1.
There you have it folks, an inside look into Artix Entertainment as well as an insider on what to look forward to in their upcoming new game AdventureQuest 3D which is now in Steam Greenlight. If you’ve played any of their games before, feel free to leave in the comments which one was your favorite as well as any memorable moments you’ve had in game.