In a press release earlier this month Video game publisher Versus Evil announced a new partnership with Dublin based indie game studio Gambrinous. The studio’s founder, Colm Larkin, excited about the new partnership can now focus his small team’s efforts on their first commercial game, “Guild of Dungeoneering”, and stated, “It’s great to know that our first commercial game is in such safe hands with Versus Evil and I am really looking forward to getting ‘Guild of Dungeoneering’ out there in front of the gamers that have been so supportive over the past year”
In this time of Kickstarter projects, major game studio shut-downs, and veteran AAA developers willingly leaving large companies to make it on their own, it seems rare to see small studios team up with publishers. This is of course still a common practice and, like anything, comes with unique advantages. We sat down with Larkin to learn about some of those advantages as well as hear how his company got its’ start.
Jesse Tannous: Tell me a little bit about how your studio formed. What made you interested in getting into Game Development?
Colm Larkin: I’ve been trying to make games since our family’s first computer, a ZX Spectrum in the 80s. Everything was written in BASIC and whole sections of game magazines were dedicated to code you could then type into your own machine to make a small game. Fast forward to a few years ago and I decided to get back into it and that’s how Gambrinous was formed.
JT: How was the concept of “Guild of Dungeoneering” born? How long has it been in development?
CL: “Guild of Dungeoneering” began as a game jam prototype for a monthly jam called “One Game a Month.” I took part in 2013 and made a few different prototypes and by the end of the year I decided to take one of them and turn it into a real, finished game. That is what has now become “Guild of Dungeoneering.”
JT: What is the game development environment like in Ireland?
CL: There’s a really supportive, friendly indie game dev. scene in Ireland. There are several regular meetups (I help run one) and no shortage of folks to bounce ideas off or get feedback on a game you are working on. This is true all over the world, but one of the fantastic things about game development is that competitors aren’t really a problem. For my game to be a success I don’t need other developer’s games to fail (unlike say in a tech startup). This leads to a really inclusive community where everyone helps each other out. It’s probably one of my favorite things about making games.
JT: What are some of the biggest advantages to having a publisher like Versus Evil to promote the game?
CL: As a small game developer one of the biggest problems you face is trying to reach potential fans of your game. Making an amazing game is not enough – you also need to be able to tell the world about it. I would say I spent about half my time on marketing or outreach and I could see that it still wasn’t going to be enough. Teaming up with Versus Evil means they can focus on that side of things and we can go back to focusing on making the best game possible. I’m very excited about what they can do for us.
JT: Tell me about some of the expectations you have for “Guild of Dungeoneering.” Do you have plans or ideas for future content already?
CL: The game feels a little bit like a board game played out on your screen. Just like with real board games I could see us making new campaigns or content packs to expand the gaming experience in the future. First things first though – we need to finish the game and make sure it’s so wonderful that our fans demand more!
When developers are able to focus on their product instead of the multitude of other responsibilities that are required to make a game successful some truly amazing projects can be created. With any luck, Gambrinous’ and Versus Evil will prove this theory right.