Stardust Galaxy Warriors is a new atmospheric bullethell/shoot-’em-up for PC from developers Dreamloop Games, and has officially been released on Steam, with early reviews of the game showing a positive response from gamers, with many praising its “incredible soundtrack” and “fantastic visuals.”
The game was designed to bring players back in touch with the shoot-’em-ups (SHMUPs) of old, while bringing a fun experience to users who want to kick back on the couch with friends to laugh and play. It was also designed to bring a uniquely otaku/Mech twist (with a fair dose of tongue-in-cheek cheesiness) to the genre.
After Stardust Galaxy Warriors was officially released on Steam, we sat down with two of the team at Dreamloop Games – Ville Kaunisto and Steve Stewart – in order to learn more about the game, its development, and what else Dreamloop Games is working on.
Stardust Galaxy Warriors has a bit of an old-school feel to it. Were there many influences for the game’s look and feel when you were making it?
Ville Kaunisto: For me personally I remember fondly some sidescrolling shooters I played as a kid. My family didn’t own any consoles, but I did play at my friends places, at hotel lobbies on holidays, stuff like that. I have no idea what most of those games were, I just remember the utter bliss of blowing things up, of picking up these little powerups, getting stronger, just destroying everything. That childlike feeling of happiness and discovery was what we wanted to replicate with SGW. So, I’d not say that I had any specific, named influences, but rather I was influenced strongly by an ideal, an amalgamation of vague memories.
As fun as the game is with one player, it’s a lot more entertaining when you’re playing it with friends. Was it the plan from the start to make Stardust Galaxy Warriors more of a co-op game than a single player?
Steve Stewart: We didn’t start with the idea of necessarily making it more of one or the other. It just seems to be, as with most things, that enjoying with friends is way better. I like to think we struck a solid balance, though.
The game is currently only available on PC. Are there any plans to release the game on consoles or mobile?
Steve Stewart: We are pretty deep in the process of bringing Stardust Galaxy Warriors to console. I’m proud to say that will definitely be happening barring any horrible misfortune or alien invasion. We have a mobile prototype as well, but if we chose to go in that direction we would want to adapt the experience to truly fit that platform and what fans of mobile games want.
Everything about Stardust Galaxy Warriors just screams ‘fun,’ almost as if it doesn’t take itself too seriously, right on down to the game’s customizability. Players are able to modify almost anything, even the amount of enemies etc, which is pretty unqiue.
When you were making the game, did you originally decide to make the game as customizable as possible, or did you make that decision during the actual development?
Ville Kaunisto: To quote from the original design document: “Focus on FUN; every mechanic needs to be primarily judged based on how fun it is”. Heavy customizability was part of that in the original design document as well, but it did evolve during production.
Stardust Galaxy Warriors currently has three different game modes; 30 Stage Campaign, Gauntlet Mode and Challenge Mode. When you were developing the game, did you have many ideas for what kind of modes would lend themselves to the game? Could fans expect to see some more modes for the game somewhere down the line?
Ville Kaunisto: Challenge is kinda the catch-all category where we would like to insert more crazier stuff. We’re also talking about adding some sort of “score attack” mode for couch competition in a future update. Steve has been pushy about adding some sort of silly 1-on-1 player-vs-player mode, but no promises!
Aside from Stardust Galaxy Warriors, Dreamloop games are also working on a couple of other games; Challengers of Khalea being something that looks really interesting. How far into development are you with Challengers of Khalea?
Steve Stewart: Challengers of Khalea is about 1 year into development, at the moment. That puts us at roughly 65% completion. We’ve recently finished re-designed quite a few of the fantasy races that populate Khalea, and that has been extremely fun for the team.
You started a Kickstarter campaign for Challengers of Khalea a while back; unfortunately you didn’t get the funding you needed. How did that impact the development of the game?
Steve Stewart: When we failed on Kickstarter, the weirdest thing happened; We kinda’ felt set free. We took a step back and re-evaluated our goals with the project after all the feedback we had received. We concluded it was time to finally give ourselves the freedom to make a game we were better suited for. We went from an online player-vs-player experience to a narrative-driven, JRPG inspired tactical RPG with management elements. It changed absolutely everything.
The Kickstarter page said there was a rough release date for this coming November. Has that been pushed back due to not getting the funding you needed?
Steve Stewart: When we decided to change direction, we also decided to give ourselves back some creative freedom. We overhauled a lot, and decided to do everything exactly the way we wanted. That included changing our release target to early 2017.
Challengers of Khalea is set to have several different races of warriors once it’s released, as well as a customizable player character. Was it difficult to come up with the different races, as well as ensuring that each character of those races were unique from each other?
Steve Stewart: We didn’t have a high-Fantasy style races in the beginning, but after our “rebirth” things got easier. We have an incredible creative team, and when we decided to change the game, we were able to let them loose and see what they can really do. Turns out it was quite a lot!
The game seems like it’ll be pretty unique when it comes out; to me it seems almost like a cross between the Elder Scrolls series and Fifa, especially when it comes to the core gameplay. Has it been difficult to develop the necessary mechanics for the game?
Steve Stewart: I suppose you could see elements of both in there, yeah. When we began, we definitely knew we wanted to have a combination of management (with the purchasing of warrior contracts) and turn-based tactics. The RPG elements came out naturally, and began to evolve until we arrived at the project we have now. Developing the mechanics felt very natural for our team. We’re very happy with what we’ve come upon, and I think it will be a game that brings a great deal of excitement to fans of quite a few different genres.