[email protected] - Iconoclasts Interview

By Rebecca Smith, 2 years ago
Iconoclasts puts the players in the shoes of mechanic Robin. She loves to help others to fix their machines. However, without the authorisation needed to do this officially, Robin is viewed as a sinner in the eyes of the evil, corporatist religious authority known as One Concern. Her friends view her as a renegade though, so together they choose to take a stand.

The Metroidvania style title mixes puzzle solving with the need to defeat enemies that get in Robin's way. "Monumental" boss battles will also try to put a halt to her progress. Our hands-on demo with the title pitted us against more common enemies that could only be defeated in a certain way. Some could simply be shot, while others needed to be stunned with a power slam before they could be harmed by Robin's weapon. We needed to solve puzzles to open doors to new areas, which in turn required us to find keys to unlock the next set of doors. This game will not be an easy ride. The following two trailers focus on each of the two aspects of the game; the first focuses on combat whilst the second looks at puzzle solving.

This game is very much a labour of love. Since 2010, just one man has developed this action-adventure game that promises to have "staggering scope and beauty". At EGX, we managed to grab an interview with developer Joakim Sandberg, otherwise known as Konjak, about the title that will be heading to both Playstation 4 and Vita.


How does the game balance the combat and the puzzle solving - does it favour one or the other?

In terms of building the game, it's about 50-50, but most players are probably going to spend a lot of time figuring things out. It's a slower-paced title with probably around a third of the time spent in intense action.

Are there any RPG elements in the game, such as character levelling?

No, it's quite a straight-forward game. There will be some light optional elements where, for example, you can build up your shield system to be able to take more damage. Other than that, I'm trying to keep it simple. You get your tools that have their abilities from the start, but you might not be able to use all of those abilities until later. You'll learn more about what you already have as you progress.

What about difficulty -- will it be brutal or friendly for newcomers to the genre?

I'm not aiming for a brutal difficulty. That's why it's good to come to shows like EGX to test things. I'm hoping for it to be barely difficult. I'm not trying to please everyone, but I want to try to create the experience that I would look for in a game -- a bit of a challenge but not dying a hundred times to accomplish one task. Most people would probably notch up two or three deaths per boss, but by then you should be able to figure it out.

Screenshot 9

Why did you choose to give the game a pixellated, sprite-like appearance?

Necessity -- I'm not a graphics artist in any way. I started the game in 2010. I created the poster art for the booth just a week or two ago. I couldn't draw at that level when I started the game.

You're developing the game on your own. Has that presented any challenges during development?

Mental challenges, yes. It has been very difficult spending all of my time over the last five years working on this game. The other challenge has been trying to make the game quickly enough. It has been in development for a long time now. Otherwise, it is very nice to be able to make all of the decisions.

Is there anything that has changed since the start of development, such as ideas that had to be scrapped or new, amazing ideas that just had to be added in?

With the way that I've made the game, it has made it very hard to change things. While things have changed before, the only difference in the state of the game in between shows like this is that it is more polished as time goes on.

Screenshot 10

What was your inspiration behind the game?

There's a bit of Metroid Fusion and, especially, Monster World IV, which is a little bit more unusual, I guess. Monster World IV is more comparative with the structure because you return to places, but you don't do it through your own choice.

In terms of Metroid Fusion, I mean that the game is linear and that it isn't open world. You head where the path leads. I don't want people to be disappointed by the fact that the game is not open world. Iconoclasts and Metroid Fusion have the same feel in terms of the character being able to climb and jump away from ledges; it's a game from which I have really been learning a lot.

I also really liked the presentation from Final Fantasy IX. It's charming but with some seriousness here and there. I enjoy the Final Fantasy games and I really liked the tone of them, especially in terms of dialogue.

Will the game be changed for the Playstation Vita so that it can use some of the Vita's special features?

Right now, the plan is for zero differences because we want the game to be exactly the same experience on whatever platform you choose. I'm not sure if the game will be cross-save yet; we will see.

Finally, roughly when can we expect to get our hands on the game?

Hopefully mid to late 2016.
Rebecca Smith
Written by Rebecca Smith
Rebecca is the Newshound Manager at TrueGaming Network. She has been contributing articles since 2010, especially those that involve intimidatingly long lists. When not writing news, she works in an independent game shop so that she can spend all day talking about games too. She'll occasionally go outside.