I've had one of the most remarkable experiences happen to me over the last week or more. As you may recall, we did an interview with the COO of Keystone Games, Jane Whittaker, a few weeks ago, a topend and AAA game development and publishing company that donates sales profits to the disables and less fortunate. One of the games that they discussed will be published soon is Puzzleverse, which was developed by Devil's Peek Games.
I had the utmost pleasure of not only gaining an interview with the founder and lead developer of DP Games, but learning that he lives in my neighbourhood and that their games are basically being created around the figurative corner from me! I could not withhold my excitement as I began my interview with Robert to found out more about his company.
INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT ANDERSON, OWNER AND LEAD DEVELOPER
1. How long have you been developing games?
I have been creating small playable concepts, prototypes and games from the early age of 10, so games development runs through my blood and is a complete passion. Although it has only been over the last three years that this passion has taken on a commercial dimension.
My upcoming game, the Puzzleverse has been in concept since 2004 and has gone through a number of iterations to make it the best it can be in the modern market.
2. When was Devil's Peek established, and what was the motivation for its origins?
Devil’s Peek Games was established late 2015. After a few months of working on the revised concepts of the game and building the necessary tool set behind to support it going forward, I had decided that it was time to start getting out into the public sector with my development and start building up my audience - and the studio was born.
3. You are based in Cape Town, South Africa, which homes the Devil's Peak mountain alongside Table Mountain. Any special reason you chose that for the name?
Indeed yes I am based in Cape Town. When my wife and I moved down just over four years ago we were fortunate enough to end up in a rather beautiful location which had an incredible view of Devil’s Peak from our balcony:
During the early days of building the Puzzleverse I would stand on my balcony and I would stare at the peak, just letting my mind crunch the problems away. I had to give the Peak some credit somewhere :)
4. How many are there in your team? Do you anticipate growing it some time in the future?
Up until my recent venture with Keystone Games, I have been doing all the art, development, marketing and PR by myself. I am very fortunate to have a close friend who is writing the music for the game, and I assure you his work is top quality so you are all in for a treat.
And yes, I most certainly anticipate growing Devil’s Peek Games. There are a couple of big plans in the pipeline for the studio, most of which we will start putting into motion with Keystone, closer to the release of the Puzzleverse.
5. Keystone Games will be publishing Puzzleverse on Steam and PS4. How did this business relationship come about?
Denis Murphy, Head of Third Party Relations at Keystone fell in love with the game and reached out to me. We had then chatted for a good two months while we started getting to know each other. I grew quite fond of the team members, and what Keystone was all about. Much more than a publisher, Keystone is a family for indie developers, which sounds like a cliché but is very much how it is.
6. Is this a long-term arrangement or one-game deal?
I really have become part of the Keystone family, with those family ties growing ever stronger. You can expect a growing portfolio of compelling games that we develop together on this amazing journey. Already public reaction to early versions of the Puzzleverse has been absolutely stellar (sorry I couldn't resist the pun!), gaining massive traction in the community. I will keep on making games for as long as everyone enjoys playing them!
7. Where did you get the idea for Puzzleverse?
The idea for the Puzzleverse comes from many areas of inspiration, my love for puzzle games, my love for the stars, and for enigmas. Life itself is often a series of challenges and puzzles that we solve, so games of this type have an in-built appeal to the psyche.
8. How long did it take to develop?
I have been busy with this current version of the game for roughly 2 and a half years now. Initially I was doing all the marketing, PR and public outreach which takes a heavy toll on a solo developer. However, that has all been handed off to Keystone now, who are doing a fantastic job. What that means for me as a developer is that I can concentrate on actually making the game and pouring all my energies in to creativity rather than getting bogged down in business. So development has sped up and I have been able to implement some exciting ideas that really brings the game to life.The Puzzleverse is an absolute passion that I look forward to sharing with the world!
9. How does it feel to have your first game being published?
Absolutely incredible! For someone who has loved games since the age of 8, this truly is for me a defining moment in my career. At times a little overwhelming, and extremely daunting - but the Keystone family has been fantastic in terms of support and motivation. Everyone at Keystone has been so supportive and it has been great to be mentored by the multi-award winning Jane Whittaker, author of Alien Vs Predator for the Atari Jaguar and over 30 chart releases (under the business name of Andrew Whittaker) who brings so much experience to the table. I have around the clock access to Jane, world leading artist and conceptualist Katie Bailey and the entire Keystone team, many of them with a background of major chart releases for the big studios. I am truly honored to have such an amazing team with so much heart help me through to the end of my biggest milestone yet.
10. Are there any other projects that you are working on, or any future games we can expect?
I have many small projects shelved I had started working on through my years. I also have many ideas and much energy so yes indeed there will be other games after the Puzzleverse. I have a universe full of great ideas!