Interview with Quentin Gallet, Executive Producer of the upcoming free to play The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot
Well first of all could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello, I’m Quentin Gallet and I am the Executive Producer of the game The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot.
It’s nice to meet you Quentin. Could you tell us what made you want to get into the gaming industry? Was there a particular game that made you interested in the gaming industry?
Well I started 9 years ago in Montreal and basically I was a huge gaming fan, so I wanted to go onto the other side – the creating side. I started on the Xbox 360 version of the game King Kong. I’ve always been a huge gaming fan and one of the games I enjoyed the most was Ico, I’ve spent many hours on the game.
So tell us, how did you end up working for Ubisoft?
I had a friend in Montreal, but before that I had my own company. When I got to Montreal I really wanted to work for Ubisoft, and my friend helped me get interviewed… so I found my way in!
So on that note what’s a typical day in the office like for you and the team?
On a typical day… meetings! No, it’s an amazing working environment I do have to say. The people there work on many games, incase you didn’t know we are not only working on The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot we are working on other games too, and the amazing thing about Ubisoft is that the crowd of people you have around you are just so skilled and competent. Most of my fellow co-workers have 10 to 18 years of experience within the industry so it is really cool to be able to work with them.
So are they very creative people?
Yeah, well it is the gaming industry you have to obviously be creative but you also have to know when to stop being creative and produce a working game. There is the problem where you think “well I would really like to include fifteen features, but realistically we can only focus on seven features” so we have to find out which ones are really cool and will make a good game. There is always the balance between including features which are important and paying attention to what the community wants within the game.
Would you say it’s a skill to be able to pick the correct elements for a game?
Yes of course. I do not necessarily believe in the data driven video games because I think we are game creators, so you really need to believe in what you do. So first you have to start with an idea. Someone like Arnaud, he is the mind behind The Epic Quest for Mighty Loot and he has very strong opinions. You have to be able to counter proof what the community are saying but it is really a back and forth process between the vision (someone who really knows what they really want to do) and the team, but you also have to be humble and understand that sometimes you do not necessarily make the right decisions and you have to change your mind. So there really is a balance.
How about giving us a little bit more info on The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, what can gamers expect from the game?
The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is a castle attacking and defending game. We made the decision to have a Medieval tongue and cheek kind of tone to the game which players have been happy with. We already have people playing within the Alpha and they are very happy about the tone. So I said it was a castle attack and defense game. So you will raid castles in order to stockpile and you have to also defend yourself because other players are going to attack you also. You have to make wise decisions between investing in your castle or your character. The way we see it from a Games Design perspective is that it is a competitive sandbox where you want to give tools to the player so that they are able to create their own challenges.
Ubisoft has already released a number of F2P games, what made you guys choose the Free-to-Play option over a paid subscription?
Well one of the proposed ideas very early on was to evaluate this new business aspect, though we want to make a solid game – as Ubisoft Montreal we have worked on many games before. Our team obviously wants to work on a game which is as good as our others, so before the free to play aspect our plan was to work on a great, engaging, solid game. We know it is a free to play so what we want to do is fulfill the core gamer’s needs. At the moment we are really listening to the community. The whole industry is changing, so we don’t want to copy Social Networking games ourselves though we really think free to play gives you the ability to test and evaluate multiple games without having to pay £40/$60. On the other hand we do invest a lot into the game so we have to find a way to keep it running, so the trade off now is to find a medium where the players are happy to spend their money. The last thing you want to happen is for someone to say that they were not really happy with spending their money, so what we are doing right now is proposing different options – Do you want to buy gear?, Do you want to buy themes? Etc. – and we are evaluating which is best. For us free to play gives us the ability to create a range of options and it really removes a barrier between us and the players. We strongly believe in the free to play model but we have to be humble enough to trial and error some things and to find out a sweet spot. Though for now nothing is set in stone.
How will The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot standout from the crowd?
The tone of the game really sets us apart but we think that the core gameplay loop, the attack and the defence, is very unique right now in the industry. The other aspect is the friendly competition. What we’ve shown so far shows that you compete but not in a harsh way, like some games which are very intense with competition. Not everyone necessarily loves being bashed by other players, so we want to give competition where you can have a fun experience with your friends. You of course will want to compete and you will want to brag and tell your friends “I’m going to go and raid your castle!” but you don’t want to be harsh about it. I think that this friendly competition is a key aspect to the game. So the tone, friendly competition and the unique gameplay loop is really what sets us apart from our competition.
With a lot of franchises going stale recently and gamers getting bored of the same old trout, how will you adapt your new IP to gamers and keep them coming back for more and more, without having to refresh the franchise?
The repetitive aspect, the easiest way to stop this is to involve user created content. Castles which you will see in game, many have been created by the community and what we have seen so far is that they are quite good at creating things which will surprise you. We had to be good enough to give the correct tools to the players, so far there is one layer to the tools players have in game though we plan to give more tools to the players to help defend their castle and surprise opponents when they enter a castle. So I think the best way to avoid this repetitiveness is to have a dedicated community for the game which are creating great content.
Have players surprised you with what they have created so far within the Alpha version of the game?
Well the other day I went through a castle and there were plenty of traps but no creatures what so ever! So I thought to myself “What is the point of your castle?”, though there was several huge creatures’ right at the end. To complete the castle I had to run back towards the entrance and of course the traps trapped me. It was cool because as you played you didn’t see the point of the castle but as you arrived towards the end you realised what was happening. You really can do some quite tricky stuff, it really is cool.
I know it may be a little early yet, but what are your plans for the future of The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot?
We have quite a huge roadmap already! I would really like to put the roadmap up on the net, to show the coming features to the community. What I can tell you is we already have the Mage (Character) which we are currently testing; we are also currently creating a new girl character. We are increasing the defend mode, and adding Clans into the game. When we look at the future of the game it does look pretty scary from here, on the other hand though it is really cool that we are working on this for the next five years. We also look on the forums and at our community feedback and they bring some good and bad points on the features which we pick up on. One of the features the community was really looking forward to was the new replay system, so we prioritised this feature.
With every game there are always challenges we must push past, what was the biggest challenge you came across when creating The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot?
The first challenge we really faced was an internal one, as we had to prove to our friends which are working on big games such as Assassin’s Creed and FarCry that we were making the right move creating a free to play game, and at that a really good one. At the beginning the thoughts were “we’re not really sure”, so we really did have to prove that but now it is cool because we play The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot internally. All our friends are playing our game its great. Our second challenge was to nail the core loop, avoiding having to separate the game modes (attack and defence) and making it one game – where the core loop (looting) is central to it. Now though as you can see this core loop is working well.
As you may or may not know, Invision Game Community is powered by students and they’re a big part of our audience, so what advice would you give to budding young students wanting to get into the industry?
What you see these days is that the best guys are those who play games a lot, they know the system – the mechanics and are able to reverse engineer games. From here they have to be able to work super hard. When you look at Game Designers, Graphic Artists or even 3D Engineer’s sometimes they have been doing their job for ten years and they are still learning, still developing their skills so it really is a long run. You have to be able to be committed and you have to be able to work hard. What I’m saying really is that, it is a job – a nice job I do have to say – but it is a job. The best advice I could give is to work hard and play hard, and really try to understand why a game is good. It really is an amazing industry to get involved in.
Finally; if you could be any gaming character for a day… who would it be?
[laughs] That is a very hard decision! I have never really thought about that… I really don’t know. Especially now I’m playing Hotline Miami so I don’t really want to be part of that game, but I love what those two guys did. If you haven’t played Hotline Miami it is super intense and so good. The company made some great decisions and is really dedicated to the game and I really respect that. Going back to your question though I’m afraid I really don’t know! Let me think about that, I may be able to tell you one day…[laughs]
Thanks a lot for your time Quentin; it was a pleasure speaking to you.
Thanks, same to you.
Check out our preview here: https://www.invisioncommunity.co.uk/review/the-mighty-quest-for-epic-loot-preview/