We had the opportunity to speak with developer Marcus Pukropski of Sidequest Studios. He explains the reasoning behind Rainbow Moon’s features and the games that inspired its development.
PixelPerfectGaming: We noticed that Rainbow Moon offers a variety of play mechanics. It combines dungeon crawling with open world mechanics, which is uncommon in most role-playing games today. What made you decide to expand on the dungeon crawler concept?
- Marcus Pukropski: Rainbow Moon has a lot of dungeons (more than 20) but it wasn’t entirely designed with a dungeon crawler concept in mind. The main genre mix that we wanted to achieve with Rainbow Moon is to combine open world exploration mechanics with a tactical turn-based battle system.
- On the one hand, you will be able to explore a big world that is steadily opening up more and more, lots of dungeons but also engage into tactical turn-based battles that you will find in other strategy RPGs. We felt that both ideas accomplish (it) very well and wanted to bring some new and unique ideas into the traditional role-playing genre.
PPG: Most role-playing games use the tried-and-true formula of placing save points inside towns, etc. Rainbow Moon allows gamers to save their progress whenever they like via the system menu. Can you explain to our readers why you decided to exclude save points?
- MP: Yes, the answer is actually very simple. Save points can be really frustrating, especially if you only want to play for a short period of time. They have been very common in role-playing games in the past, but nowadays not many players have this kind of patience. Rainbow Moon is a very long game and different people are playing at a very different pace. Therefore we thought that it was very important to give players this kind of freedom.
PPG: While reviewing Rainbow Moon, we noticed that it includes an online feature where gamers can share their progress. There are few, if any, role-playing games available today that have this feature. What was the reason behind this?
- MP: People love to share and show others how good (or bad) they are at doing certain things. For instance, think about trophies or achievements; it’s a way of demonstrating what you have accomplished. It has become a very popular feature that many gamers don’t want to miss anymore.
- We ruled out online game play for Rainbow Moon because we really wanted to focus on a single player experience. Sharing game progress was a great alternative because it did not conflict with the game’s concept. By the way, it is completely optional. The game only tracks stats that were manually uploaded by the player.
PPG: Rainbow Moon’s combat system is simple and intuitive. It uses a turn-based system, but it’s flexible enough to allow additional player interaction. Instead of selecting your hero and moving a cursor across the playfield to select a destination, you made it so the player can actually control his/her hero(s). In the beginning, were you considering a more traditional combat system like Final Fantasy Tactics or did you have plans for something more innovative (i.e. Rainbow Moon’s current combat system)?
- MP: Our idea was to have a very easy-to-use battle system. The average encounter only lasts for around one to three minutes and we wanted to minimize the player’s input that is required to complete a command, therefore we decided for a more direct approach.
PPG: Exploring the world map is easy because creatures can be easily avoided. Even when the player decides to kill a group of creatures and return to the same location later, a window appears indicating that additional monsters are present. Rainbow Moon doesn’t force gamers into combat. In a lot of ways, it seems like Rainbow Moon addresses complaints gamers had about previous role-playing games. The game does change slightly depending on the difficulty setting the gamer chooses before starting, but overall Rainbow Moon is a much friendlier game. Can you elaborate on why you decided to do this with Rainbow Moon?
- MP: Just like the save point feature that we have talked about before, it’s a part of modernizing traditional gameplay elements. Looking back 10 or 20 years, almost all role-playing games had random encounters. If you look at modern western RPGs, such as let’s say Skyrim, the battle system has evolved into something very action-oriented.
Random encounters can be very annoying, especially if you want to take your time and calmly explore an area. However, a completely real-time action battle system can also be very hectic and not all players will favor this action-adventure approach.
- Rainbow Moon is designed to combine traditional with modern elements. We absolutely wanted to maintain turn-based battles, but we didn’t want players to feel annoyed by constant random encounters. Therefore, you will find a unique mixture of both of it in the game. You can collide with enemies and trigger a battle and optionally accept random encounter invitations if you like to.
PPG: Rainbow Moon is a perfect candidate for online co-op gameplay. Are there any plans to release a co-op patch or maybe even DLC that includes this feature?
- MP: No, we don’t have any plans for an online co-op patch or DLC. We are a very small team which gives us limited resources and Rainbow Moon’s gameplay focus lies in a single player experience.
PPG: The gameplay seems to be inspired by such classics as Final Fantasy Tactics and Vandal Hearts. Were these games your inspiration for Rainbow Moon and were there other games that inspired you that you would like to mention?
- MP: To a limited degree, inspirations came from Final Fantasy Tactics, the Disgaea series and a number of other Nippon Ichi games. However, overall Rainbow Moon plays quite differently compared to any of these titles as we wanted to bring our own ideas and creativity into play. For example, you will find a lot more exploration elements in Rainbow Moon, something that neither Final Fantasy Tactics nor Disgaea offer in this degree.
PPG: What are your plans for Rainbow Moon now that it has a strong following? Any plans to release it on other platforms like PC or Xbox 360?
- MP: We are still considering ports to other platforms, including the PC, Xbox 360 and PS Vita. A decision hasn’t been made at the moment, but it’s still an option. However, any port wouldn’t happen overnight, so it’s unlikely to see Rainbow Moon on any platform other than the PS3 until 2013.
PPG: While it may be too early to ask, do you have plans to release a sequel to Rainbow Moon? We can see it spawning into a series
- MP: We have a lot of ideas left, which means a direct or indirect sequel is surely an option. However once again, no decision has been made at the moment.
PPG: And finally, what inspired you to develop a role-playing game that is so drastically different than what is currently available?
- MP: With Rainbow Moon, we wanted to stay true to our roots and create a game that combines classic gameplay mechanics with contemporary audio visuals. At the same time, it’s always very important to us to bring our own ideas and innovations into play. No matter if it’s Soldner-X, Soldner-X 2 or Rainbow Moon, we think that all of our games will feel very unique and gamers won’t feel disappointed with them.
- Many thanks for giving us this opportunity for the interview.
And we would like to thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to answer our questions.
You can read PixelPerfectGaming’s recent review of Rainbow Moon for Playstation 3 by clicking here.