Last week, I was lucky enough to go hands-on with a preview build of Galaxy of Pen and Paper, the follow-up to Behold Studio’s indie hit, Knights of Pen and Paper. After getting a taste of this retro-inspired lampoon of tabletop roleplaying, I had to know more. Saulo Camarotti, Co-Founder of Behold and Producer on Galaxy of Pen and Paper was kind enough to let me pick his brain on exactly what’s going on with their upcoming game, how it was inspired by their last indie hit, Chroma Squad, and his thoughts on RPGs on 2017 in general.
MMORPG: Thank you for sitting down with us today! So, Pen and Paper. This is a series that has been around since 2013 and has become fairly beloved by its audience. What is this series all about – why in a video game world should players hear “pen and paper” and perk up?
Saulo Camarotti: This series is about tabletop gamers making fun of themselves. When we play table top RPGs, we never take the game too seriously. We’re always making fun of the NPCs and situations created by the dungeon master. So why should we take the digital RPG so seriously? When you play Knights of Pen and Paper or Galaxy of Pen and Paper the first thing you’ll notice is that the games are constantly making you laugh about how ridiculous some things could be, but also treating the imagination as a serious business. =)
MMORPG: Galaxy of Pen and Paper. The name along gives the impression that this is a more expansive game. Is it, or is that a cue that “hold onto your butts, we’re headed into sci-fi?”
Saulo Camarotti: It is indeed a bigger game. The first game of the series was intended to be a quick prototype of what the franchise could become. We wanted to make a game for mobile in six months, and it was a huge success. Now we’ve taken the time to make a bigger and better game, improving a lot of stuff people liked, but also adding a bunch of other new features. And yes, people should hold on to their butts for this one because it definitely takes on the sci-fi genre.
MMORPG: What exactly has changed since the first game?
Saulo Camarotti:Galaxy of Pen & Paper keeps many of the key concepts that made Knights popular: you play as the game master creating challenges to your group of players, but you also play as the roleplayers trying to overcome the challenge, and we improved both of those aspects. You can create and customize with more depth as a game master, creating not just battles, but also missions. And you have more depth when playing with the roleplayers, customizing your party through skill trees and equipment. But the bigger change is the sense of exploration. We don’t have a billion of planets to visit, but you sure get a sense of wonder while discovering new planets, monsters, NPCs and quest givers.
MMORPG: Since that game released, Chroma Squad also came out. How did it do? From an outside standpoint, it seemed to be received quite well. Did it inform your work on Galaxy as you were developing it?
Saulo Camarotti:Chroma Squad was huge success from our small studio perspective. =) We didn’t conquer the world or anything, but we sure did to get more energized to keep on making games that we love, making people laugh, and exploring new gameplay concepts. Chroma has received over 50 awards and nominations, thousands and thousands of downloads, and so we’re very happy with the result. Chroma Squad is also coming to mobile and console through Bandai/Namco, giving more people a chance to experience the game.
MMORPG: The game is definitely has a sense of humor to it. What’s the philosophy in writing a game like this? As a player who has never played the previous games, what should I expect – is this about gameplay, character development, lighthearted laughs – probably all of the above. What I’m getting at is this: should I go in expecting to be moved or should I go in expecting to giggle? We’re in an age where offer one of the most nuanced opportunities for storytelling. So, in your estimation, where does Galaxy land?
Saulo Camarotti:Galaxy of Pen and Paper is aiming for basically the same goal as Knights and Chroma Squad, we want to make you think about imagination and humanity, as you laugh your way through your journey of fighting enemies and becoming a true hero. We like to make the gamer think outside of the game, and realize they can become heroes in their own lives. Expect to explore a very interesting RPG set of skills and equipment, make a lot of story decisions, and read through a lot of ‘fourth-wall-breaking’ dialogue.
MMORPG: As we were streaming some of the early gameplay, our viewers immediately started asking if there was a place they go to buy Early Access and there doesn’t seem to be [Ed. Note: will change if this is incorrect]. What was the reason for not offering an early buy-in and, more broadly, what is your opinion of the Early Access craze in the PC gaming space?
Saulo Camarotti:Early Access is awesome, especially for games that have tons of replayability. But that is not true in our case. Galaxy of Pen and Paper has this amazing long story, and we don’t want to spoil any of the surprises that it has in store. That’s why we’re aiming for a full release by end of July 2017.
MMORPG: The other question we were asked is whether there was multiplayer. Talk to us a little about that.
Saulo Camarotti:Galaxy doesn’t have multiplayer—it is a single-player game. If our fans make it a success, we’ll think about it. ;)
MMORPG: Your games all harken back to an older time in RPG gaming. Part of this is, I’m sure, logistical, but your games also feel like a love letter to a bygone time; a “look, you can still have that, but with the expectations of a 2017 game.” What are your thoughts on the massively scoped RPGs of today? Is that where RPGs should be heading?
Saulo Camarotti:We think that there is space for every type of RPG . We love the modern RPGs, including the high budget ones. For example, Breath of the Wild was amazing for everyone around here. But we also love the little ones, like Undertale and Stardew Valley. There are so many people playing games throughout the world, if someone makes an RPG that they like, certainly there will be others who will like to play it as well.
MMORPG: So now that you’re here, the game is coming along nicely, what are your next steps and when can readers look forward to playing it for themselves?
Saulo Camarotti:We’re always showing our games at many of the gaming events, like GDC Play, PAX East and West, and Gamescom. If someone is very eager to play the game, please come by our booth and we’ll love to show you. But everyone else can expect the release by July of this year. I hope you all help us make some noise during our launch! =)
MMORPG: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today!