Become a medieval thug in a crazy open-world action game, full of pop-culture references. Complete insane quests, kill heroes, steal horses, fight guards, rob peasants and more! All packed in old-school gameplay style!
During this interview, we talk with Jutsu Games, creators of "Rustler", for their Kickstarter campaign of the game, live right now.
Today, we have the honour of publishing our interview with Jutsu Games, a Polish studio that has their Kickstarter campaign live right now, in order to fund their game, Rustler. If you don’t know it, Rustler has been defined as a «medieval Grand Theft Auto» but, as you should already know, it is not only that. Conceived in a difficult world, full of death, violence and lots of pop-culture references, apart from good jokes, Jutsu Games is bringing a completely eye-catching, new game to the table.
Si quieres leer la entrevista en español, puedes verla en este enlace.
If this studio rings a bell, it is totally comprehensible! They are the creators of very, very interesting games such as 911 Operator and its soon-to-come «sequel», 112 Operator. Because of that, we have gained enough courage to ask them about Rustler, 911 Operator, how their studio works and lots more. Stay tuned!
Question: At the time of sending this interview, you have just reached the minimum quantity you need to fund this game. Congratulations! How has this journey on Kickstarter gone so far? And how is the team doing since the beginning of Rustler as a project?
Answer: So we’ve reached the main goal already and we think few stretch goals will be reached as well. We were experimenting a lot and even were changing the perspective of the camera. Last year we were mostly experimenting with third person camera perspective and it evolved to the top down camera. We think it was the wise choice.
Q: We think that selling Rustler as a “medieval Grand Theft Auto” is a really good catching phrase. However, we also think that your game is more than that. So, how would you convince any potential backer and future customer about it?
A: “Medieval Grand Theft Auto” is only a touchpoint. There are a lot of similiarities, but Horses differ a lot from Autos. First of all they have no radio preinstalled so we have to employ some Bards to play music. Drivng model is hardly different, combat is based on melee weapons (crossbow is strongly debuffed as you have to sat still to reload). Quests have similiar compexity, but we try to put far more comedy and pop-culture references into them.
Q: Through your Kickstarter campaign, we have already seen lots of information about your game, and we have smiled quite a few times due to the references we have seen until this point. Apart from the clear and already mentioned influence of Grand Theft Auto, we also read about a “kind of” Pokémon trainer, and, aside from the videogame perspective, notes on the Knights of the Holy Grail and the Black Knight (Monty Phytons), a hero called Iron Maiden and something about the Round-Earthers, as a juxtaposition from the flat earthers. It is clear that you guys have both lots of Pop Culture to reference and a great sense of humour. What can we expect apart from these allusions?
A: We definitely don’t want to make just a «reference fest». Those pop culture nudges are very often a starting point for our own stories. For example we meet Knights of the Holy Grail, with all their chivalry and silliness presented by Monty Python, but here they already abandoned the search of the Holy Grail and instead started a moonshine distillery. There’s a whole quest chain about their business ventures. Besides all the references, we’re just trying to tell a simple, fun story and fully make use of our «absurd Middle Ages» setting.
Q: We have already read (and laugh a lot) about the kind of mini games that we will be able to see in Rustler. So we have two main questions about them:
Q. 1: How many games do you plan on having so far? Are you going to take any suggestions from the backers/community?
A. 1: If we’re talking about minigames, for the base game we planned 5 minigames (Jousting, Medieval Martial Arts, Plowing, Courier Deliveries, Body Collecting), other 3 minigames (Harvesting, Transport, Racing) will depend on the success of the Kickstarter campaign and interest in Rustler from our community and publicity.
Of course, we will always collect feedback and suggestions from our loved backers and community. Backers which have access to the Rustler’s Alpha, also have access to the discord where they can share thoughts with our dev team and other community members.
Q. 2: And, since you are going to have a mini game about picking up corpses, will there be something related to the Plague or other pandemic, now that the Coronavirus is, sadly, trendy.
A. 2: At the moment, we don’t have plans on including real viruses, diseases and epidemics in Rustler. No need for that, as Black Death is a part of the setting for ages.
Anyway, NPC life has extremely low value in Rustler, people die like flies.
Q: Talking about the combat system, “fighting with sh*t” sounds delicious. Will you add more of those “different” weapons to the player’s choice? Will you let your backers/community decide some things on those terms?
A: For sure, we will be listening to suggestions from our backers and community, but we would like to keep scope of weapons related to the game. Few more weapons are coming – there is an automatic crossbow already, you might see a scythe soon, there will be a pitchfork, or maybe even a road sign as a weapon.
Q: The auto-tuned bard is a really nice detail, that takes us directly to GTA without any doubt. Since the music seems to be a difficult element to include in games with such a rich, detailed and “historically placed” background, are you going to have extra help with this element? How is it going to work to adapt itself to the different situations we may encounter?
A: There are 3 bard modes, idle music played when they are not employed, active when they follow you and “action” when you start a fight – that’s when a beat comes in. When you stop fighting they go back to “active” mode. Moreover you can punch them to change the music, they miss a note when attacked, and they stop playing when they die, obviously.
Q: We have understood, through the Kickstarter campaign, that story is not the main focus of the game. However, will we see an interesting one? Just in case we happen to try and follow it (instead of f*cking around and stop looking for havoc).
A: (°ー°〃) What do you mean that story is not the main focus of the game? Rustler is all about the story, in which our main character “Guy” is trying to stack some cash and become “someone” through a participation in the “grand tournament”. Of course its all about what you do in the meantime. We don’t force the player to “collect 7 flowers for dying grandma” or “kill 5 rats” … or do we ;D ?
Q: 911 Operator, one of your previous (and very successful) games, is a very interesting and fun management title. Has it influenced Rustler in any way?
A: Of course 911 Operator influenced Rustler! It was so serious and innovative, packed with real-life drama and procedures, so we decided to make something fun, absurd and intuitive to play.
Q: Are you planning on bringing your game to consoles, or is it the launching happening strictly on PC?
A: First, we will launch Rustler on Windows and MacOS only. Consoles will become availabe “when the time will come”.
Q: Your Kickstarter campaign ensures the launch on Steam. Will the game also be seen on online stores like GoG or Epic Games Store?
A: At the moment, we plan to release on Steam only. Our plans may change.
Q: What do you think about cloud-based gaming platforms such as Google Stadia or GeForce Now? Do you think they could potentially help indie developers?
A: We think that Google Stadia and other cloud gaming technologies may change the market in a few years. Will see, but we highly doubt that those will help indie developers.
Q: On the same hand, do you think that Xbox Game Pass has benefited indie games’ visibility, or, quite on the contrary, it has harmed them by being inside a catalogue that is shared with AAAs?
A: At the moment, we have no experience with Xbox Game Pass, so we will answer later “when the time will come”.
Q: Nowadays, crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Fig have loss of trust as the main obstacle to fulfil the basic requirements of their campaigns, mainly after cases like Shenmue 3 or Phoenix Point changing the initial launching platform. Do you think that, at the current moment, it is more difficult to gain the backers’ trust than before those situations happened.
A: We didn’t experience some problems with lack of trust from our backers. For example with 911 Operator we collected ~38k$ and with 112 Operator we collected ~53k$. Of course some campaigns collected far more money, but for us its more about an early feedback than the money collected.
Q: Since you guys are an indie studio, growing step by step and with some games already in your portfolio, what advice would you give to any person starting with the development of their first indie game?
A: Keep it simple, be patient and focused. Jutsu Games began its journey in 2010 and released 911 Operator in 2017. We dont talk what happend in between too often.
Q: So, just to end with this interview, we know that you guys are from Poland. Your country has amazed us in the last decade, with really good games and really good studios. How have you lived all these evolution of the industry in your country? Do you feel that the current situation of indie studios in Poland (and Europe overall) has improved over the past years? What would you do to improve it?
A: We are really happy to see industry growing in our country, it’s not only about growth but also about people. People in this industry are amazing and we much enjoy seeing each other. We can see new faces, new companies, some companies which were making indie titles now are closer to AAA games and it’s breathtaking. There is no real need to improve it from our perspective, it would be far than OK if just nobody would try to improve that by force 🙂
If you liked reading about Rustler, we suggest you go and support them on Kickstarter, to help them reach higher goals. If you like Jutsu Games as studio, don’t miss their already-published games, and don’t forget about their next one, 112 Operator.
If you want to read more interviews like this one, here you have a link with all the studios and individuals we have talked with so far.
Before closing this article, we want to thank Jutsu Games for their great disposition answering our questions, and we hope the best for Rustler and their studio in the years to come.