This past week, I was able to get an interview with Martin Wahlund of Swedish-based developer Fatshark.
Fatshark has developed Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 and Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West. In addition, they have taken their first foray into self-publishing with their latest release, Hamilton’s Great Adventure.
How was Fatshark formed and what were the circumstances surrounding it?
Martin: The story behind the company reaches back to 2003. The name and the legal entity Fatshark were founded in 2008 with people from the parent company Northplay.
What makes Fatshark different from other developers/publishers?
Martin: There are so many publishers and developers out there so I guess we are very similar to some and very different from others. We love and play a lot of games. We produce high quality games quickly. We want to see games more as a service than a one-off product. We want to get feedback from the community during the development of a game and we are going to expand on that.
Are there any developers in particular that you’re a fan of?
Martin: You have to admire Blizzard for the quality they have in their games. I have played most of their games quite a lot. Another favorite is Black Isle Studios. They developed Fallout 2 and published Baldur’s Gate.
While playing Hamilton’s Great Adventure, I was reminded of the Pixar movie Up. What inspirations did you draw from while developing Hamilton’s Great Adventure?
Martin: We were inspired by a lot of different things. I also feel that it is a game that is hard to compare to any other game. It is an honor to be mentioned in the same sentences as Pixar! Of course, there are some Cthulhu references.
Did you have a method for creating puzzles/levels or did the development team just throw out ideas and use the best ones?
Martin: The levels were created in many ways. Of course, we only kept the best ideas. The ones that got too hard were added as extra levels outside the campaign.
Which character from Hamilton’s Great Adventure is your favorite and why?
Martin: Hamilton himself is my favorite but I also like the Cthulhu inspired enemies.
Fatshark has developed a lot of different games. Which game was the most fun for you, as a studio, to develop?
Martin: All of the games have their own charm. I think it is very important to switch to different types of games now and then to keep ourselves passionate. I have two new personal favorites coming up after Hamilton. Now in development are War of the Roses and an unannounced project that I think most gamers will like!
Is there a specific aspect that you focus on in game development?
Martin: We want to have quick iteration times. BitSquid Tech allows us to do that by way of instant reload gameplay scripts and the ability to jump in and out of the level editor and actual game. We put a lot of focus on making the games fun. That sounds a bit silly but it is easy to forget in all of the effort put into making it work. Multiplayer has also been a theme throughout our history as a game development company.
Are you working on another game? If not, what would you guys want to work on next?
Martin: We have anounced War of the Roses, a multiplayer-centric game based in medieval England. There will be huge battles, intense action and persistence. As I mentioned earlier, we are about to reveal another game we are working on this autumn. Keep an eye on our Twitter (@fatsharkgames) and our webpage (www.fatshark.se).
Where do you see Fatshark five years from now?
Martin: Working with games as a service. We’ll be continuing to develop games that we love to play. Oh, and probably world dominance!