Hey g1s, I got the extraordinary chance to sit down with Robert Moran of Witty Wizard. Many of you might know him from his online animations such as “Splash Attack!” and from his hit web series “Unforgotten Realms” (URealms). Specifically, Rob is here to talk about his Kickstarter to fund the first ever game based on the world of URealms, Unforgotten Quest.
Drake: What inspired you to focus on designing Unforgotten Quest?
Rob: Unforgotten Quest is something I have wanted to do since I made the first episode of URealms, my web cartoon about two guys playing Dungeons and Dragons.
I have always wanted to get into game design. A year ago, I was really depressed. I never went to school and was having all sorts of trouble paying rent. Ask any video developer online about making money when you’re just barely popular enough; it's rough right now. I give my dad a call. I'm 25 years old right now, and honestly I'm starting to feel like a failure. I could dump my heart into these projects, but they were really always small little niche videos. URealms is a parody of Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying--when you think about it, the demographic ain't all that big! So I talk to my dad about everything and he finally asks me the big questions, those hard questions everyone has to face in life when you have no idea what you are doing. "In five years, in a perfect world, what would you like to be doing?"
I still remember the smile I had on my face as I thought I would give the obvious funny-guy answer of "arguing with three other game developers why Bards are insanely overpowered," at my video game company. That's what I want to do with my life. Make games.
I spent hours talking to my father about it and in the end he told me to go for it. "If you don't, you'll spend the rest of your life wishing you fucking did," was about what he said. I know he didn't swear because he never swears, but anytime I remember quotes from my dad I always feel like it's not as impactful unless he goes full pirate on me.
"But if this fails" said my pirate dad, "If this fails and you can't make it work. Then you move on and never let something you didn't do control your entire life." I'm pretty sure every time I tell this story now I make my dad’s quotes even more awesome sounding. But you get the general idea of what we talked about. That's what I did and this is what I'm doing. I know that throughout the Kickstarter I will have many challenges and receive many criticisms from people who think I'm too inexperienced. I completely and utterly understand all of their fears and concerns, but I'm doing this anyway. I'm making this happen, I'm making a game,
Man, I still get teary-eyed telling that story.
Drake: What sets Unforgotten Quest apart from the games already on the market?
Rob: This question rubs me in a funny way. It's something you often see game developers answer all the time. Telling you how it's completely different from everything you have ever played and will cause your CD-ROM to eject open so you can high five your computer about how awesome their game will be.
I want to take everything that I feel is fun and put it into one game. Unforgotten Quest is a 2D Co-op platformer RPG. I call it that because you know what kind of game you are getting with those words.
Like other platformers you can expect running and jumping to be a big factor. Like other RPGs you can expect levels, loot, and abilities; and Like other co-op games it means you get to experience with friends as well if you want.
My goal with all this in mind is to take the humor you see in URealms and make a very memorable and lasting experience. I want to make that big ‘ole MMORPG "experience", but have it be a small Co-op game you can land with friends.
I want it to be the kind of game you take the day off work the next day so you can have a 3 day weekend and go all out--but still, at the end, have so much left to do and play.
Drake: With URealms, you have already created a world with its own unique lore and charm. Will Unforgotten Quest give you a chance to share the additional parts that you weren’t able to fit into the Realms videos?
Rob: Absolutely. The hardest part of URealms was both how much time I had to make each episode and the fact [that] episodes were only so long.
For those of you who have never watched the show, this doesn't mean the game won't make any sense to you, it is simply so people can have things happen in their game and go "Ahh haaa. Yeah... I understood that reference." The biggest goal I have for Unforgotten Quest and its story, is to REALLY strive about [it] being the players’ story.
Drake: Can fans of URealms expect shout-outs to the series?
Rob: "If it's in Unforgotten Realms, it's in the game." It seems weird to reference my own work as Easter eggs, but that quote [I’ve] been telling people applies to anything I have ever done. I'm a fan of Easter eggs as long as they don't ruin the experience of the game, so I'll be including everything.
I'm striving to make this a project I can finish on time and I'm being very, very, very careful to ensure that I have enough time to make everything happen. My planning has it that this project should take me a year to do, that's why I'm looking for two years of funding. I want this to be as safe as it possibly could be for someone who is new to the industry.
Drake: You reached almost two fifths of your one hundred thousand dollar goal in under three days of your Kickstarter's launch. How does it feel to not only have that kind of support, but also what is it like to have their expectations on your mind?
Rob: It's unbelievably amazing, but at the same time very stressful. My fans have gone above and beyond for making this project come to life.
I was happy if could have started with 5,000 dollars in the first 24 hours, but we got that in minutes. I can't express my sheer joy to have a fan base that can see my passion for this project. It's so easy to look at my game, and dismiss it as a quick little flash game you would find on the internet. I know to the URealms fans reading this, that they think it looks awesome!
One of my first stretch goals involves getting more money into the project to hire professional artists for this. It's not something we wanted to put in our initial budget though, because the goal of Kickstarter is to do as much as you can with as little as you can, so we have a budget for four people over two years of production.
Everything is amazing, but I'm still really stressed out. My fans are great, but I'm not sure we can even make the budget without new people checking out the project and putting their 15 bucks in. I mean if you look at our Kickstarter, nearly ALL the high tier goals are sold out. That's crazy! But at the same time it's clear that we might stale out, if we can't get the word out on the internet to get people to take some time and check out the project.
Unforgotten Quest has a week to go on its Kickstarter, but still needs your help! Check it out at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/urealms/unforgotten-quest Also, you can check Rob’s work on www.urealms.com/ and you can also follow him on Twitter at @URealms.
Also, feel free to check out the screenshots featured in the interview, some additional ones, and desktop backgrounds in the gallery below.
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