Have you heard of Bulgarian developers Ivent Games? We caught up with them recently to find out more about Strength of the Sword Ultimate for the PSVita, and most of the team got involved!
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! Can you tell us a little bit about Ivent Games?
Georgi: Sure. It all started what feels like a thousand years ago, with me and what it turned out later a very vague idea of the game I’d like to make. And I’d do it all by myself… if I could just find a freelancer willing to do every graphical asset I ask for. Turns out I underestimated the amount of work that was, so I ended up contracting a bunch of people. And they all seemed to do good work on their assigned tasks. That is until a particular weirdo came along and blew my mind.
Lyubo: Hello! It’s me, the ‘weirdo’. So basically what happen was – I got super excited based on the few scraps of work I got to do on the project initially as a freelancer. So I did what anyone would do in my place. I went back for more. In fact I told him to drop everybody else, I was going to do everything as long as I had a programmer willing to code in what I thought should be in the game I’d like to make.
Georgi: It was the perfect match. And we’ve been at it ever since. In the past year we’ve been fortunate to welcome officially to the team couple of people, Mitko and Tzetzo, that have been adamant supporters of the project since the early days. They’ve always been around play-testing different variations of the game and providing game-shaping feedback. But now thanks to a very successful kickstarter campaign we get to exploit them even further in development, community management, public relations, gaming nights at the office, beer runs, etc.
We are talking to you today about Strength of the Sword Ultimate. Can you explain to us what it’s about?
Mitko: Well, if you need a two-word description, you could call it an arena brawler. However it also has the responsive controls and moveset akin to fighter games. It has insane amount of customization that players can experiment with for hours, different armor pieces, weapons and shields give the War Golem specific skills and options, as well as a large variation in stats such as HP, mobility and damage. And you’re going to need that, because we’ve taught the enemies to adapt to what you throw at them and always go for the jugular with everything you got. Every level of this game is a mini-boss battle or above. And that’s just the core singleplayer campaign. In the coming weeks we’re aiming to start beta testing multiplayer modes with our amazing kickstarter backers and that’s going to be its own incredible experience. Believe the hype! This is going to be awesome!
Georgi: Excuse him, he gets excited easily.
What games inspired you prior to (or during) development?
Lyubo: The two main titles that people often compare us to are Dark Souls because of the difficulty and emphasis on execution, and Medievil, because of the art style. And we’re happy to take those, because they are incredible games. In fact, when Souls games come up in interviews we just nod and accept the comparison, even though chronologically when we started developing the game Demon’s Souls was yet to come out and prove our idea of fun through extremely challenging gameplay is still viable. There is no doubt in my mind that without the Souls game affecting the industry as they did, we would’ve never had the success we had on kickstarter this year. As for Medievil, I believe that the artists working on it and I have had a similar source of inspiration in the earlier works of Tim Burton.
What modes can gamers expect to experience when playing Strength of the Sword Ultimate?
Mitko: I’m going to let Lyubo go through this one, but I got to interject. And excuse me in advance for getting hyped up over every little thing. All modes, and indeed all the information for the game is delivered in an amazing way over at our kickstarter page. We could talk for hours and it will still be doing your readers a disservice, because the developer comics Lyubo put on there are… and I’m being modest here, the best thing on the internet since the beginning of time. Please imagine me dropping the mic and walking away like a boss… and indeed like I have any creative input on those.
Lyubo: Yeah, that just happen. Moving on. As you know we’re going to have both singleplayer and multiplayer this time around. With campaign and survival mode in the former, and co-op survival, pvp and Dark Mode forming the latter. Now most of those are self-explanatory, so I’ll just do Dark Mode. It’s an asymmetric multiplayer mode where one side of the usual run of the mill War Golem you’re playing all modes with, you as a player are familiar with the movelist, it’s been explained through the campaign mode and further reinforced as reflex memory by all other modes. And on the other side there’s a thing we call Dark Swordsman – there are no tutorials on how to use that guy, there are no modes that let you train with him, but if you’ve faced enough like him you get the chance to try being him and deal punishment on unsuspecting players queuing to play pvp. It’s a limited time offer though, because you don’t recharge your HP between fights you just keep queuing up fight after fight with that ever-decreasing hp bar until you die and then it’s back to playing normal pvp.
Have you started work on the Vita version yet? Are there going to be any notable differences between the core version and the handheld port?
Georgi: I’ve put some work towards the Vita, yes. The most of my days go toward the PC build as it’s the platform we’ll be doing the alpha/beta testing on. But somedays you just feel like playing around with a devkit or two. I’ve had an earlier bare-bones build run pretty much without problems, but I’ve kept adding stuff and the code got way to messy. That will need some cleaning up, but I’m confident we’ll not be delivering an inferior version of the game to the Vita. It’s a powerful device and it can handle it.
Many Vita gamers take advantage of Cross Buy/Save/Play. Will any of these things make it into the Vita version?
Mitko: A man of few words. Cross buy will definitely be an option and barring any unforeseen difficulties, so will cross save/play.
Do you have an ETA for the Vita version?
Lyubo: At this point we’re aiming at Q1 2016 as release window for all versions of the game.
What was the motivation for the Vita version?
Georgi: First and foremost, we’d like to deliver the game to as wide of an audience as possible. We’re very proud of what we’re doing and we think people will enjoy it on whatever their favorite platform is. That said, we have a couple of Vitas between the four of us, and we absolutely love the device. We’d love to see more awesome games on it, so in a way, we’re just doing our part.
How are you finding working with the Vita?
Georgi: It’s a wonderful system to develop for.
Which games stand out for you on the Vita?
Georgi: Gravity Rush.
Mitko: Persona 4.
Lyubo: Sorry, I’m a busy game developer that apparently carries his team of four on his back, I don’t have much spare time, but when I do play a mean Techie in Dota2 on the PC.
Are there any games coming out that you are looking forward to on the Vita?
Mitko: I hear great things for a game called Strength of the SWORD: ULTIMATE. I’m looking forward to that. Might be game of the year material.
Do you have anything to say to the Vita fans reading this?
Georgi: Don’t lose faith. We’re coming. And we’re worth the wait.
Lyubo: Love ya, guys! Thanks for the overwhelming support.
Mitko: Shout out to @LastRealGamer on Twitter! He is our biggest Vita fan and he does his best to keep us in the loop with everything that happens concerning the platform.
Tzetzo: Send Vita game recommendations to our twitter, I’m looking for something fun to play on the go!
We would like to thank Ivent Games for their time with this interview! They have asked us to point out that the screens in this feature are not Vita build, but they are committed to delivering the best possible version of the game on all fronts/ consoles. We will bring you more news on Strength of the Sword Ultimate when we can!
This interview first appeared in our March issue of The Vita Lounge Magazine. Stay tuned to our magazine for more exclusive and magazine first content soon!