Black Forest Games has clear ideas and is very determined. The developer from Offenburg, a German town on the border with France, has put its hand to the unforgettable The Great Giana Sisters, a title that mirrored 1987's Super Mario Bros. and was put out of business by a lawsuit filed by Nintendo.
Yet, for some reason, this "illegal" game was very much liked by the gamers of the late eighties, who still remember this game with a touch of nostalgia. The decision to revive the brand, therefore, did not seem at all far-fetched.
Confirmation that people loved the Giana Sisters came from Kickstarter: the developers asked for $150,000 to build a new game in the series, and they were funded with more than $186,000. So the title will get made, and for this reason we decided to talk to the people making the game.
First of all, congratulation for your recent success on Kickstarter. How did you come up with the idea to bring back this franchise?
As Giana Sisters was our brand it was not a difficult decision to take to relaunch it. When last year Jean-Marc, our creative director, came up with the idea of twisting the worlds we were sure, that the time for reviving Giana finally had come.
What's the concept of Project Giana? I played the demo, and it seems the game isn't just a regular "old school" platform...
It's all about the twist. As the player you don't only have to take care about timing, fast reaction, the right pace, you also have to make sure that you change the character, from cute to punkie and back, and their worlds at the right time.
The level design seems quite peculiar, since you can switch between two different dimensions. How will you use this feature in terms of puzzle solving and exploration?
That's the core feature and it will be part of each challenge in the game. If it's about overcoming some obstacles by switching the worlds while jumping, discovering hidden places or defeating the bosses. Everything is related to that twist.
What's the status of the development? The demo seemed quite complete in terms of gameplay...
Gameplay is set. We still have lots to do with sound, dressing, balancing and additional levels and bosses. Latter we are able to do due to the great support from the Kickstarter-backers.
Do you think nostalgia will play a major role in the success of this project?
This was for sure one reason of the success on Kickstarter. Another was the high quality of the game we were able to show. Last not least the great soundtrack from Chris Hülsbeck and Machinae Supremacy. For the sales of the final game we can't rely on the nostalgia-factor. We have to convince the gamers with fun-game-play and a great game.
How are you going to use the money of the backers? Is Kickstarter really useful to bring projects like yours to life?
As quoted before we will use the money for finalizing and polishing the game. For sure Kickstarter or crowdfunding in general is a good opportunity to bring independent projects to life. Though in our case it was more enabling to finish the game. But more it is a reality-check for you as a developer and a great chance to get in touch with your community.
I also saw you project on Steam Greenlight. Do you think these kinds of ventures will help the indie games to reach more people?
Frankly, we currently have no clear visibility on the impacts of Steam Greenlight.
With Kickstarter you reached the first objective, and the game will be made. Are you still thinking about the other objectives, such as bringing the game to Ouya and adding more levels?
The team really thinks about everything and is excited about all the options that could be possible. Still the management of the studio has to take care that we first make some money with the game and then take care of content and additional platforms.
The backers will receive a DRM-free copy of the game. What's your opinion about DRM? Do you think it's the right way to fight piracy?
Unfortunately it seems as if there is currently no DRM-solution that gives buyers all freedom and comfort they should have as owners of the game. For us the fight against piracy starts in the head of people.
What are the plans for the future? Will you expand the game once it's released?
We will keep working on the game, like bringing it to PSN and XBLA and the franchise.
Project Giana is a working title. Do you already have in mind a definitive title for the game?
The backers voted for Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams.