One More Level is an indie game development studio based in Cracow, Poland. This skilled team consists of game industry professionals who gained their experience with companies such as Teyon, Ganymede, Bloober Team, Artifex Mundi, Nimbi Studios, Tap It Games. The developer’s main focus is on delivering quality games for PC and mobiles, but its aim is to also develop hardcore games for consoles. We first spotted the fellas from One More Level on Kickstarter, where they are trying to realize funding goals for Warlocks. We sat down with Radek Ratusznik, Max Strzelecki, Wojtek Wilk, and Dushan Chaciej to talk about the curiously addictive Warlocks, and about what makes One More Level unbeatable.
Hey there! Thanks for carving out some time to talk to us about One More Level. First off, introductions. Who are you, and what do you at OML?
Radek: My name is Radek and I am a co-founder of One More Level. I am doing a producer work in Warlocks. Besides this project I am also a game and level designer.
Max: Hi, I’m Max and I’m the programmer working on Warlocks at One More Level.
Dushan: I’m Dushan Chaciej, 21 years old, working as a designer on Warlocks.
Wojtek: Hi, my name is Wojtek and I am the artist behind Warlocks.
Can you tell us a little about the projects that you or your team have worked on prior to forming One More Level? How did your experience working on these titles shape OML’s vision or mission–what sets you apart from other developers?
Radek: I used to work on few console titles, like A-men – a launch title for PS Vita – and many more with my previous company. I also have experience with big consoles (PS3), PC and mobile games. Other guys at One More Level are experienced with PC, Wii, DSi and mobile games, both hardcore and casual. Different people bringing that huge variety of skill to the team let us keep things fresh and innovate. The team is experienced in working with all the main platforms and that will help us stand out.
Max: We’ve been working together with Dushan for many years now on various projects – both smaller and bigger. We’ve had experience on casual puzzle games as well as big ambitious strategy games, and we believe having that experience in many different genres helped shape Warlocks immensely. It helped us in polishing the mechanics and catering to bigger audience with our game. Besides, we’re always open to opinions and feedback and that’s what we’ve proven during events like WGK or Gamescom which we attended and listened to the players.
Your team seems to have a grasp on a diverse range of design, so I’m curious: why pixel art for your newest title, Warlocks, for which you’re seeking funding on Kickstarter?
Wojtek: Me, Dushan and Max started working on Warlocks earlier this year, but the scope of what was needed to be done was a bit too much for us. During Digital Dragons 2014 we joined forces with One More Level and continued production of Warlocks. Why pixel art? I decided to go with the style because I have never tried pixel art before and always wanted to try producing pixel art graphics for games. It is very satisfying to see the characters move and interact with each other. Drawing pixels lets you travel in time a bit and remember all time classics such as Final Fantasy or Metal Slug. Turned out I am pretty good at it too.
Dushan: The prototype I had made a couple of months earlier also had pixel-art graphics so I guess Wojtek tried to keep that in mind with his approach on Warlocks. Using pixel-art saves a lot of time, which is crucial when working in a small team.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about Warlocks? I’ve been playing the alpha build online, and I’m kind of obsessed with Jake.
Max: Warlocks is an actionRPG/brawler game, set in a multidimensional universe, where the evil shadows are attacking human realms. It takes inspiration from games like Risk of Rain, where you pick your character and hack’n’slash through hordes of monsters. You also level up, collect new gear, gain new powers and explore the world.
There’s a sort of League of Legends feel to the skills and combat. This, combined with the smooth controls and simple structure of play made it hard for me to put Warlocks down. What other popular games inspired Warlocks direction?
Dushan: Both me and Max, are big fans of MOBAs in general, so we definitely draw ideas from these kind of games. But the main inspiration behind Warlocks was Risk of Rain.
What makes the multiplayer in Warlocks so much fun, in your opinion?
Max: I really like the chaotic feel that this game’s got when things heat up in multiplayer. There’s a lot going on in the screen and the combat mechanics can take advantage of the cooperation factor when you work together as a team in story mode. In versus, it feels more like a fighting game, but with mages, which is also super cool.
Dushan: It reminds me of the fun I had while playing Diablo 3 with a group of friends. The co-op feel is really Diablo-esque, along with other similarities like leveling up, gathering legendary loot and defeating epic bosses.
What role do cats have in your game development, and why is the kitten in your video so adorable? (Please submit your answer using charts, graphs, and other scientific data.)
Radek: Cats are animals from outer space (laugh). They are giving us – humans – mystical power of awesomeness. So that’s why we are using cats in process of development the game.
A member of your team, Max Strzelecki, has programmed this game despite a challenge that some people might find debilitating. Can you share Max’s story with our readers?
Max: My story isn’t really that fascinating, I’ve been born disabled and have lived whole my life like this. It so happened that I picked up programming during my childhood and kind of stick with it, setting a dream for myself to work one day on games. Warlocks is a project in which I can fulfill it, and I’m very happy about this.
For those unfamiliar with some of the great titles from One More Level, can you tell our readers about a few of your other projects?
Radek: Yes. at the moment we are publishing a fast-paced pixel-art Arcade Match-3 Zombie Slasher – ZOMBIEBUCKET.
Radek: We have also some other projects, but I can’t talk about it now :)
What other titles and development can we expect from OML in the coming months and years?
Radek: Besides Warlocks and ZOMBIEBUCKET we are also developing Deadlings for Steam.
Radek: We have another mobile game scheduled to be released soon and one bigger Unity title that we could probably finish till the end of 2015. So it’ll be a lot in my opinion.
Are there any developers or studios that your team champions or that you’re aspiring to? In your opinion, who are some of the industry leaders right now that gamers should be watching out for? (One More Level aside, of course.)
Radek: In my opinion there are many amazing studios, but I would like to honour 3 of them:
- Naughty Dog
- Rockstar Games
To me they are simply the best. Every single title is like a touched by a magical wand, that makes their games best ever.
What’s your favorite game? It can be old or new, one you’ve worked on or one that you feel is iconic?
Max: My favourite game of all time is DotA, and now Valve’s DotA 2. It’s the only game that I’ve played for so many years and I still like to play it once in a while. It’s a masterpiece in terms of design, and current developer of it, although anonymous, is an inspiration for me and many others!
Dushan: I’ve only recently picked up Telltale’s games and instantly fell in love with them. Both The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead series. My favorite is TWAU but TWD is a close second. I hope there’ll be a second season to TWAU.
Wojtek: This is a very hard question. I could tell you a whole bunch of my favorite games but it’s hard to pick just one. Recently I’ve been playing Dark Souls 2 and I think it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played.
Is there anything I didn’t get a chance to cover that you’d like to tell our readers about before we wrap up today?
Radek: Try out our smashing demo of Warlocks which is available online through our website at www.omlgames.com. You’ll find that it’s very immersive and fun. If you have any feedback on the game please share it with us by emailing us or through out fanpage.
I always like to include at least one fun question, just for kicks. Here’s yours: If you could re-imagine any classic game, what would it be and why, as well as how?
Max: I’d like to remake Warcraft III, because at this point that would be faster than Warcraft IV (*cough* Blizzard *cough*). Seriously, will this game ever come out or at least get announced?
Dushan: I’d like to make a Chrono Trigger remake, just refresh the whole thing so everyone could enjoy that awesome game once again or for the first time if they haven’t had an occasion earlier.
Wojtek: My choice would be also Chrono Trigger. It was a very beautiful game, epic battles and touching story. I’ve loved everything about this game. My vision would be hand painted backgrounds, 3D models and dynamic lightening to give it an unique atmosphere. Yeah, I really want to do it! ;)
That’s epic; I’d play them. It has been really great talking with you about Warlocks. I can’t believe how much fun it is now, even in alpha, and I personally am really looking forward to seeing how you improve the game as you realize your funding goals.
Max: We want to bring Warlocks to big consoles too but whether we do that depends on the outcome of our Kickstarter campaign and reaching our first stretch goal.
Radek: We want to make sure that the game is balanced and fun in both multiplayer, co-op and single player campaign. One of our reward tiers let’s you design and name your Warlock in the game. If our backers will add their ideas of warlocks to the game it will become even more fun.
Speaking of funding goals, if you want to learn more about some of the coolest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to talk to and check out their game, Warlocks on Kickstarter, you can do that here. Don’t forget to check up with One More Level to see what this uncannily awesome crew is up to at their website, here. Some of the music for the game is online at Soundcloud, and you can reach out to the guys and help promote Warlocks on Twitter by connecting with them here.