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Basilisk Games Interview

by Kevin "Couchpotato" Loveless, 2015-02-11

Once again welcome back everyone. and it's a pleasure to publish another one of my interviews on RPGWatch. This time I interview head of Basilisk Games Thomas Riegsecker.

We talk about the game Industry, a few lessons on game development, and try to get more information on his engine. So this one is for you Gilliatt as you requested it.

So don't forget to suggest a Game/Developer for me to interview in the forums.

Couchpotato: Thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions for RPGWartch, so lets start by having you introduce yourself to the community?

Thomas Riegsecker:  I am the founder / head honcho at Basilisk Games.


Couchpotato:  Can you tell us a little bit about your studio Basilisk Games?  For example, how was it founded, and what are your goals?

Thomas Riegsecker: Basilisk Games is an indie game studio founded in 2005 with an initial goal of producing an RPG trilogy, which we completed in February of 2014. We are best known for our Eschalon series, which is a stat-heavy, turn-based isometric RPG.

Right now we are working on a brand new RPG as well as another game that is not role-playing specific.


Couchpotato:  If you could pick five RPG games that inspired you to make your own games, what would they be?

Thomas Riegsecker:  Certainly the Ultima series, Dungeon Master, the Might & Magic series, and pretty much all the Elder Scrolls games. That's more than five I suppose! Most specifically, I remember first sitting down with Ultima 2 on an Atari 800 computer, back in 1983, and feeling as if it was a life-changing experience.


Couchpotato:  I was curious if you could describe what your daily job is like at Basilisk Games?

Thomas Riegsecker:  My responsibilities have shifted over the years. Originally, 100% of my job was to develop our games from morning to night. As the games were released and the business grew, I have had to spend more time running operations and less time doing the fun, creative stuff. But fortunately I am moving back into a development role where I can focus more time on developing our next game.

The process of developing a game shifts day to day between coding, writing, doing graphic work, and testing. The best part is that I get to decide how I want to spend my day depending on what I feel like doing when I get to the studio.


Couchpotato: .  One question I always love to ask developers is what's your opinion on the current state of the game industry?

Thomas Riegsecker:  Man, this is a tough question because the industry is always changing. The real innovation is definitely coming from small indie studios right now, and has been for a number of years.  That's not to say that there isn't anything good coming from the big guys, but the truly unique stuff is being made by small teams on shoestring budgets without corporate oversight.

I think emerging VR technology like Oculus Rift has the ability to revolutionize the game industry, and I am excited to be working with it.


Couchpotato:  A follow-up to the last question what's your opinion on modern RPG games?

Thomas Riegsecker:  Generally, I think most mainstream RPGs are just plain bad, although Bethesda still makes decent RPGs that maintain a somewhat classic feel. Many other modern games that call themselves RPGs are really not; those of us who grew up D&D, Wizardry or Might & Magic expect role-playing to be more than what is currently offered up by triple-A developers.

Indie RPGs are usually much better because they adhere to the standards of classic computer RPGs- Grimrock being a recent and great example.


Couchpotato:  You have been in business for close to ten years as an Indie developer. Can you share what lessons you have learned over the years?

Work smart, not hard. I suffered from a great deal of stress and burnout over the years from not having healthy work habits. I'd work 7 days a week and long hours each day, and it's a horrible way to live. After Book III was released, I took a long vacation and had to relearn how to relax!

Couchpotato:  With the rise of crowd-funding have you ever thought about doing a new kickstarter game?

Thomas Riegsecker:  I've considered it, but my motto has always been "never take money from customers until you have something to sell". We've never done pre-orders either. If I took money from customers before I was done with a game, that would triple the amount of stress I'd feel about getting the game done by a specific release date. Kickstarter is no different. I don't want to be included in the growing number of vaporware titles that have been funded and never materialize. A developer can never regain customer trust after failing to deliver a product that he/she took money for in advance.


Couchpotato:  Congratulations on releasing Eschalon: Book 3 last year. How has the game been received, and did the launch errors affect sales?

Thomas Riegsecker:  Thank you. Book III has done as well as the other two games, although yes, the botched launch negatively affected the first week of sales, which is arguably the most important. To counter that bad launch, we ran some early promotions on Steam and GoG which was good for unit sales, but of course the amount earned per game has be notably less. It has sort of all balanced out now.


Couchpotato:  Last year there was talk about a new expansion for Eschalon: Book 3. It that still a possibility, or has it been scrapped?

Thomas Riegsecker:  Anything is a possibility down the road. Eschalon has been good to us, and we'd love to give fans some of the updates and additional content that has been discussed over the years. The plan right now is to continue developing our next game, and after that we will absolutely consider giving the trilogy a fresh update and add new content. We'll let the Eschalon fans decide if an updated trilogy with new content is something they'd want us to spend our resources on.


Couchpotato:   I believe the modding tools for Eschalon III are not very popular. Was the creation of such a tool very time consuming, and do you feel it was worth it?

Thomas Riegsecker:  Well, that is not our tool. That was a fan made editor. Our own tool set is not really ready for public use- it has a lot of quirky features and is very fickle about how it's used, so I never released it. Fixing our tools and updating the game for flexible modding would have used up a lot of our limited resources, so we've backed out of those plans in order to pursue our next game. However, if anyone is interested, there are a number of third-party tools out there to make your own Eschalon adventures and there are several really nice fan made mods available through our forums.


Couchpotato:  Your latest update on your website talks about a new game engine, and new projects in development. Can you share any details yet?

Thomas Riegsecker:  I wish I could! It's always so motivational to have fans excited about the projects you are working on, but it is too early to reveal anything right now. I will say that our next game will have a 100% new engine; we are not reusing anything from the Eschalon series, nor are we revising that world. What we are working on is brand new!

As I mentioned a few questions back, we are also working on another game that would not be considered an RPG. I am not sure if this other game will be released under the Basilisk Games label or something else, but we'll be sure to let our fans know when it's available either way.


Couchpotato:  That's all from me today so once again thank you for your time. I was wondering if you have anything to add before we finish the interview?

Thomas Riegsecker:  Thank you for asking some great questions, and thanks to the crew and community of RPGWatch for being supportive of us over the years! We'll be sharing some cool news with everyone later in 2015.

Well thats all I will have more interviews in the months to come so I will see you all then. So in the meantime why not check out the developers website, and help support him.

Box Art

Information about

Basilisk Games

Country: United States