Developer interview: Cardpocalypse

After an earlier release on Epic, Cardpocalypse from Gambrinous recently launched on Steam alongside brand new DLC for the game. It’s been met with very positive reviews from users since the launch, so we got in touch with Colm Larkin, the founder of the studio, to learn more about their follow-up to Guild of Dungeoneering, how it came about and what players can expect from the new content.

How did you come up with Cardpocalypse’s fusion of RPG adventure and deckbuilding?

We decided to set the game in a school quite early on since it would give us a lovely melting pot of oddball characters who still feel familiar. Nostalgia was a feeling we wanted to evoke and this seemed like a really strong way to deliver on that. At first we talked about having schoolyard ‘battles’ during breaktime with the player collecting weapons or allies during classtime. The idea of ‘collecting’ reminded us of collectible card games (we are huge card & tabletop fans) and suddenly everything came together: kids in school obsessed with a card game that the player must master. It doubled down on the nostalgia and we felt it was a novel direction for a card game to go, towards being an RPG. I remember thinking ‘this is going to be great!’ when we got this vision right.


Cardpocalypse initially launched about a year ago – what are some examples of valuable player feedback and new insights during that time?

We’ve been really happy to see fans get in touch with their feedback about the game since we launched. Quite apart from technical help, like players reporting bugs or mistranslations, we’ve gotten great feedback about balance & difficulty which helped us tweak how the game feels. We have a Gambrinous discord server which has been a great way to hear from our fans, but also for players to share strategies & tips with each other!

The art style and school-based narrative suggest a very family-friendly title right away – what did this mean during development in terms of gameplay mechanics?

Our previous game ‘Guild of Dungeoneering’ is also quite family-friendly. Both it and Cardpocalypse are really suitable for parents playing with even quite young children, though we very much targeted older players in terms of setting & nostalgia in both games. I guess it’s a kind of happy side-effect. However we were very aware that the cartoony visuals in Cardpocalypse alongside characters being kids themselves might lead to potential players dismissing the game as being only for kids. We used the writing, music and in-depth game mechanics to try and show a game that was deeper than you might guess at first glance. A great example of this in other media is the Stranger Things series. I’m not sure we went far enough in this regard and it’s definitely something to consider for future games.


The Steam version of the game is launching alongside brand new DLC – what can players expect from it and when should newcomers dive into it?

Our new DLC is called ‘Out Of Time’ and it’s a great standalone adventure featuring all the same characters from the main game thrown into a fun time loop. You don’t need to have completed the main campaign to access it, but if you are a brand new player you should start with the main campaign first. It features the same kind of gameplay (exploration, quests, collecting cards, and playing card battles) but we mix things up to give you something different to the main game. For example, instead of collecting a range of champion cards (a key part of the main campaign), you get one special champion that you upgrade as you make your way through the expansion. If you enjoyed Cardpocalypse this is a great additional expansion to play through.

What’s next for Cardpocalypse, now that the game is out on Steam?

We’ll have to wait and see on that. We have some great ideas for more expansions and perhaps even a sequel, but we’re not sure just yet what’s next!

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