Following on from my Battle Chasers article that I wrote the other week (which can be found here), fellow ThumbCulturist Jason was lucky enough to meet the creator of the comic book come computer game Joe Madureira while he was at the THQ Nordic London ShowCase. Enjoy his interview!
Jason: Hi Joe, I’m Jason and I’m from Thumb Culture and the guys have come up with a list of questions for you. One of our guys Glyn, really wanted to come down but couldn’t unfortunately.
Joe: Did you guys just do a write up, like a preview? I feel like I may have read something.
Jason: Yeah, Glyn did a write up and absolutely loved the game.
Joe: Yeah it was a glowing and positive preview, it was really cool.
Jason: He said the soundtrack was really amazing. I was listening out for it and it was really good.
Joe: Yeah we have a lot of music that’s now just coming out.
Jason: How do you put all your music together, is it just yourself or?
Joe: We do have myself and my partner Ryan who’s the game director. We got through the tracks and give audio feedback, which is weird cause were not the musicians but we kind of know what the sound should be. We found a really good composer early on, Clark Powell, and more recently Jesper Kyd who did stuff for DarkSiders 2, Assassin’s Creed and a million other games. He’s come on aboard to write some of tracks including the title track which is what he’s writing right now.
Jason: The soundtrack is really atmospheric so it works well.
Joe: We listen to game soundtracks all the time, it’s one of the things that’s definitely important to us in a game is the music. It is especially important in RPGs.
Jason: I can understand that. Have you always had the idea to make Battle Chasers into a game?
Joe: No, I didn’t actually. Which is strange as this comic series was kind of my, scratching the itch, as I was playing loads of video games at the time and watching loads of anime on tv and played JRPGs and I would buy the import consoles and play the games in Japanese and not have any idea what was going on but that’s how into it I was. So, I did this comic as I didn’t know how to get into the game industry and it sort of was my love letter to all these cool RPGs that I was playing, and I wondered you know, what if there was a comic series with characters like these. So I never really thought when I left comics to work in games, I never thought I would do a game that was a Battle Chasers game, even though it was so perfect, it just didn’t seem that was where my career was going. But then after DarkSiders, you know, original THQ went under and we went our separate ways and there was an opportunity to do it again with a small team and possibly through Kick-starter, funding ourselves. It seemed like at that time, if we were going to do an RPG which we were pretty set on, either an RPG or a Metroidvania, it just seemed perfect, hey what if it was Battle Chasers. I resisted at first as I was concerned as I thought, “Cause it was so old I don’t know if anyone would remember it” but basically we would have to start all over anyway, but once we did the Kick-starter, it did great and like all the fans of the comics are still out there on Twitter and a lot were backers and it was cool to hear from them all. I was glad it was something we did but it was not an intentional plan, “like someday I’m going to make this game”. More like, “I wished I worked in video games so I could make a comic book about these video gamey characters”.
Jason: Are you pleased with how it turned out?
Joe: Yeah, very pleased, I am constantly surprised seeing Calibretto uppercut some guy in the face and seeing the characters animated, and thinking what would the characters sound like, I never really thought about this stuff before because I just draw and that was it. It was really interesting some of the choices we had to make. Unlike DarkSiders, everything was designed for it and we knew the function of the game before we designed characters, Battle Chasers was something made so many years ago and I had no concept of what they would move or sound like other than on the page
Jason: What are the biggest influences for Battle Chasers?
Joe: Like I said, back then I was so immersed in anime and manga and JPRGs, so there’s just too many to list but I know everyone always compares Garrison to Guts from Berserk so that is the most obvious influence but a lot of it came from stuff I was reading at the time and games like Chrono Trigger and a lot of the Capcom fighting games. A lot of my characters have resemblance to Capcom fighter characters. That was all influencing my art aesthetic at the time, I moved out of hero comics so I was strictly more into fantasy and those games just have the coolest looking characters.
Jason: Any plans in the future for another Battle Chasers or a new game?
Joe: We’re already talking about the next phase, a lot of it will depend on the success of this game. Obviously, we’d love to do a sequel and it’d be cool if there was a series that stuck around but in order for that this one needs to be a huge success. At the minute we have a plan A and a plan B and we’ll be talking about those in the coming months but the games right around the corner so we’ll see what happens.
Jason: Will you ever return to comics?
Joe: I’ll never leave comics completely but returning full time is something I’ve thought about over the years but right now there’s still stuff I want to do in games and I see being with Airship Syndicate for years to come so, will I do stuff on the side? Probably. I’m doing three new issues of Battle Chasers currently starting with number 10 so just to further the comic’s story and have something current out on shelves and not comics from 18 years ago or however long it is. So I’ll be doing that but I still do covers and things like that but I probably won’t be a full time comic’s artist again anytime soon.
Jason: You quite enjoy the changeover to games then?
Joe: I do enjoy the change, I enjoy the team that we have and the kind of games were working on, so that’ll keep me quite busy for a while. I’d never rule it out as there’s something great about creating comics and I love visual storytelling, laying out panels and I really do enjoy the heart of making a comic but something that I would have to make a lot of time for.
Jason: Apart from Battle Chasers, what’s your favourite game of now and all time?
Joe: Hmmmm, my favourite JRPG is probably Suikoken 2 or Lunar: The Silver Star Story, those are the two big JRPGs that really blew me away as much as Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger, and then I like western RPGs. I enjoy the Elder Scrolls and used to play Oblivion, Morrorwind, Daggerfall and Baldurs gate, so I’ve pretty much loved all RPGs, east and west but those are probably some of my favourite games. And then games like Out of This World and Secret of Monkey Island. If you want to get old, I still have some old classics which to this day are still amazing, things like Pitfall on the Atari I still really enjoy, I’ve been gaming for a long time!
Jason: Ah that’s cool, I started on Atari as well.
Joe: Atari 2600, I had a bunch of games, things like Combat and Night Driver so yeah fun times!
Jason: We had the 520ST and used to play Outrun, Gauntlet and Dungeon Master a lot.
Joe: Oh Gauntlet!, the most crazy first 4 player multiplayer game I ever played. Have you played it recently? It’s kind of terrible.
Jason: Hahaha well yes compared to nowadays. Thanks for your time Joe.
Jason’s full run down on what he saw at the THQ Nordic London ShowCase can be found here!