I played Puzzle Quest so much last year that I had dreams about it. Nightmares, even. I dreamed I lived in a world where the simplest of problems were solved by matching sparkling gems. If you have a Giant Rat or Vampire Bat problem, match some red gems and cast a few spells: problem solved. I know I’m not the only one who had their soul possessed for a time by one of the Puzzle Quest versions, the DS one in my case. So it’s with both feelings of excitement and fear that I wait for Galactrix, Infinite Interactive’s follow-up to the surprise hit that was the love-child of Bejeweled and RPGs.
For those of you who loved Puzzle Quest as much as me, and can’t stand the wait, I highly recommend GameSetWatch’s post about the development of the game, “Inside Puzzle Quest – The Postmortem.” Written by Tim Kim, this article was posted as part of GameSetWatch’s Best of GDC 2008 coverage. Kim explores Infinite Interactive’s development process for the game, and how the whole concept for the game was a “happy accident.” I found the explanation of the project hurdles the development team faced to be quite interesting.
Of special note are the problems they faced with localization. Women didn’t like playing the game, because there originally were no female avatars. But with over 100,000 words in the game, it took a lot of extra work and time to add in dialogue for female characters, which was further compounded by the different languages the game was being released in. The Japanese version of the game in particular also had to adjust the dialogue depending on the speaker’s age relative to the listener’s, in order to imbue the dialogue with different degrees of respectfulness.
If you’re a fan of Puzzle Quest, Infinite Interactive, or just the video game design process, head over to GameSetWatch and give this article a read. It’s very insightful.