An interview with the man behind Quest of Dungeons

Upfall Studios is the indie game studio behind Quest of Dungeons. If you’re not familiar with it, you should definitely check out our review of the Nintendo Switch version. Spoiler alert, the game’s amazing.

Based in Portugal, Upfall Studios is basically comprised of one person; David Amador. As the developer’s website puts it:

“…making games the old fashioned way, a team of one person, a few ideas, and a lot of love”.

That “love” you’re talking about seeps through to the final product. A lot of passion and hard work went into Quest of Dungeons and it shows. How long did it take you to get from that initial idea to releasing the game on the first of many platforms?

Thank you. I tried my best to make something players would like. The initial idea came around 2012 and went back and forth for a couple months and after a few failed attempts, I eventually locked the general idea and went into full development at the beginning of 2013. The iOS and PC version was released on March 2014.

Speaking about platforms, did you ever expect your game to be released on so many consoles/mobile devices or was the initial vision smaller?

It never crossed my mind no, and it’s strange because for my previous games I had that bigger vision, PC and consoles, but it never worked, so for this one I had zero expectations. Quest of Dungeons was initially made as a tablet-only game because of the bigger screen, but eventually I saw people seemed to like it, so I started remaking the gameplay and UI for other platforms. One of the reasons why the game has been ported over time instead of a more simultaneous release, was because I had never planned for so many versions, so it took more time.

In your bio you mention that you’ve been making games since 2006. What are some other projects you worked on? Did any of them influence your artistic vision for Quest of Dungeons?

In 2006 I joined a game studio as a junior and worked on a couple of games there. Unfortunately none were ever released because of publishing deals even though two or three were actually finished. When the studio closed, I decided I wanted to actually make and release a game, so I decided to go indie. From that time the most influential things that I learned were making my own tools and trying to think smaller instead of having a big scope, so that I could actually finish making the game.

What are some of the less-obvious influences for Quest of Dungeons?

Perhaps 100 Rogues, which is a great roguelike mobile game, super fun and fast to play. Many people can spot it but also Diablo and horror B-movies for the story part, the shopkeeper is an homage to Resident Evil 4.

Who is responsible for the music and sound effects of Quest of Dungeons? Did you record any of the creature voices on your own?

The music is from Aaron Krogh. I made many of the sounds effects but some other effects were licensed; for example the death voice you hear on the game over screen is my own voice distorted with some filters and mixed in with other elements. There are also a couple of sound effects that I recorded and tweaked with Audacity.

The latest version of Quest of Dungeons is the Nintendo Switch version. Was Nintendo easier to work with than the Wii U era? Do you think they’re more open to indies nowadays?

During the Wii U era Nintendo it was already very open to indie developers. They had a program where anyone that could use Unity or HTML5 could get onboard and start making games, so I think they are continuing to support indies with Switch as they were before and we’ve seen that also in the Nintendo Directs they are making and all the support to indies. So yeah, they are very interested in working with indie developers. Personally they were super helpful. When I joined for 3DS/Wii U versions I had zero idea of the process or how to port the game and they helped with all my questions and the process.

When I played Quest of Dungeons on Switch, it felt like a perfect fit. In TV mode or handheld, the game feels good as a home console game and as a portable one. What are some of the challenges you faced when porting to the Nintendo Switch?

Because of the various versions I had most of the potential problems already covered so this port was really smooth. The only thing that took me a bit more time was to accommodate the game and UI to respond properly to switching between 720p and 1080p at any time, but even that wasn’t that tricky. Overall, this was the fastest and easiest version to work with.

Are you satisfied with the sales of the Switch version?

Yes, I am. The game has been out for a bit over a month now, and I can say that right now it’s
already the top selling console version. Thank you to everyone who supported the launch.

Can you please give us a hint on what you’re working on at the moment?

Well I’m not trying to be mysterious on purpose or trying not to reveal anything, but the truth is
that I’m still experimenting with things to decide the best path to follow.

This last question is a weird one…. do Switch dev kits really come in Mario ‘?’ blocks? Or is that a rumour?

That is a cool rumor right? Does that seem like something Nintendo would do?

Quest of Dungeons is out now on Windows, Linux, Mac, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, 3DS, Wii U, iOS and Android. We played it and it’s great!

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