We had a lot of fun reviewing Loot Rascals on PS4, so we got in touch with Hollow Ponds to talk about the game’s development for Sony’s console.
PS4Blog: Welcome to PS4blog.net. Would you mind introducing yourself to our readers?
Hi I’m Ricky Haggett! I’m a game designer and programmer, as well as the founder of a studio called Hollow Ponds, based in London, UK.
PS4B: Loot Rascals is now available for all to play on PlayStation 4. How would you describe this colorful release?
Loot Rascals is a brutally hard, deeply strategic roguelike, disguised as a cute, silly cartoon. You have to kill these silly aliens and steal their cards, and then arrange those cards into a deck to get all your abilities and stats. And when you die the baddies can loot your corpse, steal your good cards and send them to our server, whereupon they drop into someone else’s game, and that player can send them back to you.
PS4B: How long did it take the team to complete the game? Were there any major changes for Loot Rascals between the initial concept stage and the day it went gold?
We’ve been working on it solidly for 18 months, and although it’s changed in loads of ways since we first prototyped it with cardboard hexagons on a pub table, the basic mechanics of moving, fighting, looting cards and equipping them haven’t changed that much – we just did loads more polish, content and refinement.
We went through a process of adding lots of systems and mechanics, and figuring out what we liked about them before boiling them down to the bare essentials. For example, we used to have a skill tree and in-game currency, but we ended up taking all the interesting elements of those things and refining them into the card system. The overall idea has been to have as deep and interesting a game as possible, with as little complexity as possible.
PS4B: Considering this is a roguelike with a lot of trial and error involved, how long would it take someone on average to complete a full run of the game?
It usually takes someone an hour or two to master the basics and be able to reliably reach the second world (of five). After that, it really depends on how well they can figure out strategies for handling all the different types of situations they’ll encounter. We’ve balanced this game so that every seed is completeable – in fact there’s a Streaks leaderboard which shows how many times you’ve beaten the daily challenge in a row, without ever failing it.
For an expert to beat the game takes somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes, depending on what it throws at you.
PS4B: Since the game has been completed, are you considering delivering more content to it by way of either free or paid DLC?
We don’t have any specific plans for that yet – we’ll see what happens next!
PS4B: Is the team now hard at work on a new game? If so, could you please share some information about it?
We are indeed, but I’m afraid it’s too early to say anything.
PS4B: And now its time for us to go. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just to remind all that the teapot guy in Loot Rascals IS NOT A TEAPOT: