Skyshine’s Bedlam came out last month, but the team hasn’t stopped working on the game – they’re dedicated to tuning the game just right based on the feedback they received post-release. We caught up with them and asked John Mueller, formerly the studio art director at Vigil for both Darksiders games, a couple of questions. Read on for a quick 101 on Skyshine’s Bedlam and our report of this Q&A.
It’s probably best to describe Skyshine’s Bedlam as a mix between The Banner Saga and FTL, but with the style of post-apocalyptic games (and movies) like Fallout and Mad Max. It plays most like other turn-based (isometric) strategy games such as XCOM or The Banner Saga, which is no great surprise because the game was built using the same engine that developer Stoic used to program the original Banner Saga game. While all that may make it sound like Skyshine’s Bedlam mostly just copies others that went before it, nothing could be further from the truth. The game’s unique blend of wacky animations, colorful characters and relatively fast-paced battles make it stand out on its own, and we thoroughly enjoyed playing the game. The tactical elements may not be as deep as those found in other titles, but this allows you to just jump in for a few quick rounds and conquer more of the world map.
We actually also got a sneak peak at the game as during this summer’s Gamescom, when we met with publisher Versus Evil and got some hands on time with the game. We liked it then and we like it now, so we were glad to have the opportunity to chat with Skyshine’s John Mueller. Here’s our report.
At what point in Skyshine’s Bedlam’s development did you first consider using an existing engine instead of building your own?
I had been playing The Banner Saga when the idea struck me for Bedlam. I thought we could do a lot with what was already present in the engine. So with our game we really just took a lot of the fundamental tools and changed the way they were organized.
Why the Stoic engine, and how has it been to work with it?
I think the Stoic guys have made a great tool set built by and for a small team. I think that was also a big factor I knew they had successfully made a game with only a few people using it. We have had a great relationship with Stoic, we are very low maintenance as far as licensee’s go. We ask questions occasionally but we tend to try to exhaust all our own problem solving skills before going and seeking advice.
Skyshine’s Bedlam is a very different game from what you guys worked on in the past – what were the biggest challenges you had to overcome?
I think the UI was probably the biggest challenge in a game like this because there is so much of it. I think we probably spent the majority of development on the game flow and UI, there was so much iteration. We probably threw out half of what we made for the UI at one point or another.
How has the (post) launch experience been for you guys?
It’s been as crazy as the rest of it, no rest for the weary! We never really stopped development and we’re about to release 2.0 which we think is a significant upgrade to the overall experience. One of the best things has been the supportive community that’s grown around the game. The 2.0 update should be out before the end of October and if you already own the game you can test it on our test-branch we have up for the community. We hope to keep building on the experience and adding new content and challenges. I often times say that we’re like a food truck that makes spicy food (challenging games)…it’s not for everyone, but if you like a challenge Bedlam is waiting to be conquered!
Our thanks to John Mueller for his time and answers. Stay tuned for the upcoming 2.0 release for the game as well, which promises some major updates including some new game modes and optimizations.