National Video Games Examiner Patrick Hickey Jr. chats with Evan Wagstaff, the developer behind the upcoming noir adventure for Mac and PC “Second Death.” Breaking down the development process and his goals for the title, Wagstaff lets us know exactly what makes the game a special one.
For more on the game, click here.
Patrick Hickey Jr.: What inspired the game?
Evan Wagstaff: I was browsing Reddit about 3 years ago and someone in /r/AskReddit came up with the premise of being stuck on an island and you had to choose your tools to survive. I thought that was a fun idea, so I wanted to give players that experience in a deeper way.
As for the mechanics, games like Borderlands and Diablo-inspired the randomized loot system. My time playing Fruit Ninja definitely influenced parts of the battle system.
Hickey Jr.: What’s the story like?
Wagstaff: The story is a mix of mob noir and island adventure. At each of seven stages, the player sees a flashback of the protagonist’s life as a detective or his brother’s life as a mob enforcer.
Hickey Jr.: What has the development cycle been like?
Wagstaff: It’s accelerated in the last few months. I’ve been getting much more comfortable with the engine, Game Maker Studio.
Hickey Jr.: What games did you play as a kid?
Wagstaff: As a kid, I was a big fan of the early Final Fantasy games. Second Death has a similar turn-based battle system. But I don’t think I’ve ever played a game like this. It’s a synthesis of several concepts that I like.
Hickey Jr.: What inspired the battle system?
Wagstaff: Games like Paper Mario popularized the critical attack mechanic, and you’ll notice some similarities to Fruit Ninja when defending against enemy attacks. I wanted both attacking and defending to engage the player instead of relying on random critical or miss percentages.
Hickey Jr.: Who do you think will enjoy this game the most?
Wagstaff: I think this game will be a hit with someone who appreciates the battle system as a fun challenge all its own, but also wants to unravel the story.
Hickey Jr.: What are your goals for the game?
Wagstaff: I think it’s the hope of any game developer — I want the players who pick up the game to enjoy it. I’ve added some hard-to-find secrets and events, so that when you find one, I hope it feels really special.
Hickey Jr.: How do you want this game to be remembered?
Wagstaff: If this game changes anything, I’d hope it makes other developers rethink the ‘press A to attack’ battle rut. It made sense when all players had were an NES controller, but now we can do so much more to engage our audience.
Hickey Jr.: Any updates planned?
Wagstaff: I’m working on getting the full game into app stores and Steam first, but I’m sure I’ll roll out some fun updates once the ball is rolling.
Hickey Jr.: What’s next?
Wagstaff: The next steps are to finalize Second Death and distribute as widely as I can.