Interview / Puzzle Quest: Galactrix producer Marcus Savino

To hear people speak about Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords one would think the game was created by a tiny god of puzzles and delivered to us by messengers from on high. The game’s addicting puzzle gameplay mixed in with the overarching RPG elements made it one of the most popular hardcore DS games of last year and created a rabid fan base of players clamoring for more.

And more is coming in the form of Puzzle Quest: Galactrix and if Dennis Lesica speaketh the truth, it’s going to be huge. TVGB decided to find out more about how the next installment of what will hopefully a long and consistently well made franchise came about by chatting with Marcus Savino of D3 Publisher. What makes PQ so addictive and will that mysterious property be present in Galactrix? Find out in this thrilling installment of TVGB interviewing important gaming people!

Matthew Razak for That VideoGame Blog (TVGB): Did you expect the original Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords to be such a big hit? Why or why not?

Marcus Savino (MS): I think it’s very hard to predict when something is going to really connect with audiences. D3 and Infinite knew that they had a great game on their hands for sure.

TVGB: What do you think makes it so addictive?

MS: It’s just a brilliant concept for a game. Infinite made the pieces on a puzzle board stand for something and give you a reason to make every move. Very simple, but profoundly entertaining.

TVGB: Moving forward into Puzzle Quest: Galactrix what did you want to improve?

MS: We didn’t approach Puzzle Quest: Galactrix with a desire to improve things as much as to explore what new things we could do within the gameplay framework of Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. The puzzle/RPG hybrid concept worked great and Infinite Interactive was keen to experiment with a sci-fi themed game. That being said, we certainly took all feedback that we received on Challenge of the Warlords
to heart.

TVGB: What in your mind are the biggest changes?

MS: Certainly the puzzle board is a big change. I’ll go more into that a bit later. In addition, the structure of Galactrix is a bit more involved than Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. We have a large galaxy map with over 80 solar systems to explore. Within each solar system are unique locations such as space stations, shipyards, asteroids, etc. There are so many places to go!

TVGB: Why did you decide to move into science fiction and away from fantasy?

MS: It was really Infinite Interactive’s interest in the genre as well as their enthusiasm for stretching this compelling gameplay concept into new avenues.

TVGB: The story in Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is surprisingly deep for a game based around puzzles. How big is Puzzle Quest: Galactrix‘s story?

MS: Well, with more than 100 hours of gameplay you need a very compelling story to keep a player interested. Infinite Interactive put tremendous effort into the story of Galactrix and we think players will enjoy the warring factions, scary villains and sci-fi scope the story offers.

TVGB: The puzzles are obviously a bit different now with their shape and a few new mechanics. Why did you decide to change the format?

MS: We wanted to retain the match three accessibility of Puzzle Quest: COTW, but we also wanted to add new depth to battles. With our new multi-directional battle board, the player has control over the board as it refreshes. This added layer of control will allow players to set up very powerful moves that never would have been possible in a simple top-down mechanic.

TVGB: Because of this change do you think fans of the original might be off put?

MS: It will probably take a few minutes to get the hang of the new board, but once you get it, you are off to the stars!

TVGB: Did you have to give up any great ideas during development for any reasons?

MS: I would say that the best of everyone’s ideas made it into Puzzle Quest: Galactrix.

TVGB: What will be the major differences, if any, between the DS version and XBLA/PSN versions?

MS: The gameplay is identical. You get the same story and depth. Obviously, there will be more detailed visuals on the consoles but DS players will certainly get their money’s worth!

TVGB: Ok, so here’s the TVGB pitch for the next PQ: Puzzle Quest: Ninjas. What do you think?

MS: Everybody loves a good ninja game, I wouldn’t rule it out ;).