Swedish developer Coffee Stain Studios is perhaps best known for its irreverence goat simulator, but this success opened up his ability to do more within the industry. Coffee Stain went on to create the build/manage game Satisfying (with Goat Simulator 3 announced yesterday at Summer Game Fest), and it’s grown “horizontally” with Coffee Stain Publishing. This wing of the company focused on platforming indie games from Scandinavian studios, such as Ghost Ship Games. Galactic Deep Rock and Iron Gate AB Valheim. One of the latest companies he published is that of Lavapotion songs of conquest.
Lavapotion began its work with just four people aiming to create a strategy game inspired by 90s classics like Heroes of Might and Magic, The Age of Wondersand the kindness of the King. Not only that, Lavapotion has depicted its fantasy world in “high definition” 2.5D pixel art similar to Square Enix’s HD-2D titles. Octopath Traveler and Triangle Strategy. The game’s lead designer, Carl Toftfelt, said it had been difficult to strike a balance, but the work “had been exciting”. Game Rant spoke to Toftfelt about how songs of conquest found its way to a recent launch in Early Access.
How Lavapotion started its journey
Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Lavapotion was started by CEO Magnus Alm and technical artist Patrik Liljecrantz. The duo previously established Flash-based studio Muskendunder Interactive in 2007, renamed Free Lunch Design in 2012 – around two years before being bought by mobile messaging app Palringo.
Alm became Palringo’s CMO after the acquisition, but eventually left in December 2016. He had contacts at Coffee Stain, and his investment in Lavapotion was one of the first big announcements for Coffee Stain Publishing about two months after its inception in February 2017. A statement from Alm at the time expressed relief at being able to leave “free to play bullsh*t” behind. “Working with an investor who cares more about how we design spell systems rather than how we maximize profits is a new departure from what we are used to,” he wrote. .
The fourth member of Lavapotion’s initial team, lead programmer Niklas Borglund, was a former Alm’s employee. The story of Alm and Toftfelt goes back further; being childhood friends who wrote ideas for board games, role-playing games and over 30 years. While gaming has always been a hobby for Toftfelt, pushing himself with difficult parts of Domains 4 Where Civilization, he was an actor and singer for 11 years before Lavapotion. His credits include part of 2013 in the US show Psychas well as films like those of 2014 black mountain side.
“I love breaking games, so Magnus wanted to see if I could apply that to game design. And I did. And it was a lot of fun. Now I just play relaxing games in my spare time , I have all my interests in mathematics while working. .
Lavapotion’s core team has since grown to eight, still small enough that Toftfelt says they all do “a bit of this and that”. However, he thinks there could be enough freelance hours spent on things like audio to equal another full-time position or two.
Although not much has been made public about Lavapotion’s plans in 2017, its desire to create a game like The Age of Wonders and Conquest of the Élysée was here. In fact, Toftfelt said they were so struck by the lack of a genre name to describe these titles between 4X strategy games (like Civilization) and the adventure games that Lavapotion invented: adventure-strategy. The studio received money from Coffee Stain early on to “try to solve these puzzles for the things we wanted to improve,” according to Toftfelt, and after picking an idea, Lavapotion spent the next two years working on its gameplay and its graphics.
“It could have been done maybe less than a year from there,” Toftfelt said. But “we had a big change of heart about how it looks and some core mechanics.” songs of conquestThe pixel art of had moved away from the “goofy fairy tale look” of its inspiration Heroes of Might and Magic 2, resulting in an “everywhere” style with art so intricate it would have taken years to complete any of the game’s four factions. Toftfelt refuted the perception that pixel art is used to “save time”, especially when an animation needs to be redone frame by frame. Fortunately, Coffee Stain was ready to float Lavapotion’s change of direction, leading to smoother navigation to songs of conquestThe announcement of E3 2019 and beyond.
“You can’t ask for a better publisher. They’re so focused on making a good game, one that the team thinks is good. They don’t want to work with games where they don’t have a group of enthusiasts .their entourage who want to get involved.
Solidify Songs of Conquest mechanics
while simplifying songs of conquestThe “modern, yet retro” pixel art of was one of the motivations for its mid-development change, Lavapotion also hoped to find a core magic system that combined previous efforts. Toftfelt said a lot of time was spent figuring out how to work his and Alm’s love for deckbuilders like magic the gathering in a strategy game. They wanted an experience with the potential to strategize and build “loops”, but that didn’t compel players who want to “just buy cool stuff and fight”.
The magic system songs of conquest defined how the units of each of its four factions worked, but Lavapotion also felt it was important to include short story campaigns that offer insight into why its characters fought. Only two campaigns were published in parallel songs of conquestEarly Access launches on May 10, and it’s “very likely” that campaigns for the Barya and Barony of Loth factions will follow. That said, Toftfelt wouldn’t make any promises and said Lavapotion hopes to have a content roadmap based on early feedback this summer.
A notable feature of Toftfelt is the titular “songs” that define the campaigns, unlocked verse by verse during each mission. He said it was nice to use his theatrical experience with songs of conquest‘s composer, becoming the “bard” of the game. Another benefit of working under Coffee Stain Publishing has been the camaraderie at events like Christmas parties and the cross-pollination between studios even when siled. For example, Toftfelt said fellow strategy game developer Box Dragon helped fix some design issues.
Coffee Stain producer Johannes Aspeby has also been an asset to Toftfelt, bringing the spirit of Lavapotion into songs of conquest more literally. A “very hidden little Easter egg” that fans can attribute to Aspeby is a set of Wielders (the game’s magic users) of Rana whose names are anagrams for the team’s founding members: M’Sugna, R ‘Lac, Rik-Tap and Sla-Kin.
“I said, ‘Johannes if I re-spell that, that’s just my name.’ And he said, ‘Yes. There may be others like that.’ We didn’t tell the others until we got into EA, I think. They didn’t notice.
songs of conquest is available now in Early Access on PC.
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