A lot of you will know these guys from the legendary Vindicator: Uprising which we would have loved to feature but it’s older than this blog! When we heard they had a new hack ‘n’ slash platformer, aptly named “Thy Sword” coming out we simply had to find out more. Gamephase supremo Thomas Finholm tells us all…
We spotted Thy Sword on Steam Greenlight (congratulations on being greenlit by the way)! Can you please tell us a little bit about the game and what inspired you to make it?
Thank You! This was something we have been thinking about for quite some time. Different ideas and inspirations we’ve had, and we started testing it out as a prototype
and discovered this could be something with great fun to it.
It has a very 8-bit/early 16-bit feel to it which we love, have any retro games inspired this and what were they?
Our biggest influences would be Barbarian on the C64, Moonstone and Golden Axe on the Amiga.
Also, Bubble Bobble on the C64! One screen levels man. We want to create a fantasy world that draws the player in.
How many of you are there in Gamephase and who does what?
Thomas Finholm – Graphics
Mikael Norrgård – Programming
Mats Norrgård – Music/sfx
We all collaborate with design and story and things like that.
We’re big fans of Vindicator:Uprising which has a similar feel (i.e. it’s awesome) but its levels are big and sprawling whereas Thy Sword appears to be focused on one screen levels, it feels more like an Atari game. Is this what you were looking for and what other parallels are there with Vindicator?
The biggest difference is Vindicator has custom designed levels each time and Thy Sword has it’s own procedural level generation and a world map.
So Thy Sword is more of a roguelike in that respect and offers much more in combat mechanics, pickups and items.
We want it to be easy to pick up and play, yet still have challenges and depth to offer the player.
If Thy Sword were released in the 80s you probably would have been told off by Nintendo for making it too bloody and violent. What are your views on censorship in gaming today and what rating do you reckon a next gen version of Thy Sword would get?
It can be seen as violent, sure. I would describe it as cartoon violence. The resolution is so low that the pixels make it kind of on a cuter level. Not to get into a long debate, but the world is a violent place. This is reflected in art, in this case games. When you want to censor games, you essentially want to avoid that side of reality. I’d say it puts Thy Sword somewhere in the range of PEGI12 and up.
We love your pixel art. How did you first get into graphic design and what has led to you making your own games?
I discovered some primitive graphics programs on the C64 when I was around 12 years old. So after many years of doing pixel art for fun (also messing with SEUCK by Sensible Software) I began to think about games development with my friends. Our first attempts (at around 16-17 years old) didn’t go beyond prototypes and smaller, simple games. Years later, when we started talking about games again we decided to make a serious attempt this time. The whole Indie scene was very inspiring and especially that retro and old school type of games could get attention in a big way.
What are the Norgarrds like to work with? How do you guys work and what do you do to let off steam?
We’re all friends from the long, long ago before time. Often times we think in similar ways so that makes it easy. We try to discuss design and all that stuff at meetups (Mats lives in Sweden) and let the original game designs decide what’s right. We all have our strong opinions and our strong areas of expression, which are all needed to make something great. I’d say three people is a really good team size. You sort of have to get along, and somebody always has your back.
Now that Thy Sword has been greenlit when can we expect the full version?
We are crunching away! The feedback from the demo, forums and the YouTube players helps out enormously. A rough estimate would be late in the year or early next year.
What was your first computer/console and favourite games to play on it?
Aah, the classic C64. Of course, I have to mention the original Barbarian again. It had very tight controls and combat mechanics, especially for the time. You might see a hint or two in Thy Sword… I really got into SEUCK, aka Shoot Em Up Contruction Kit. I think that really had a big part in triggering the game designer in me. It made game making seem possible, so shoutout to (AA favourite) Jon Hare and the guys.
Times of Lore
(Can’t argue with that list! – Ed)
If you could go for a drink with any video game character, who would you choose and why?
Oh, I think maybe discuss some mysticism with Mythral the Mystic from Moonstone, over a drink or two.
Nice choice! Thanks for dropping by Thomas, we can’t wait until Thy Sword is finally out to download! Readers, you can keep tabs on this lovely project on the official Thy Sword devlog and also follow Thomas on twitter @ThompFinholm.