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Editorials - Crossbeam Studios Interview

Source: RPG Radar
Copyright (C) RPGRadar.com

Interview with Greg Szemiot, President of Crossbeam Studios

RPG Warehouse: First off, I would like to thank you for the interview. I'd also like to get the public informed on what exactly Crossbeam Studios is, and what is it made-up of?

Greg Szemiot: No problem, I always support the gaming press. Crossbeam Studios is an independent PC game developer. We started with preliminary design and research in mid-1999. Our year of research and testing led us to choose Conitec Data Systems 3D Gamestudio for our development needs. Since we secured the engine and development package, we've been testing it more in depth and testing where our abilities lay. Now in our third year we have about ten staff members working on various aspects of game design, writing, planning, and development. We have staff member in both the United States and in the United Kingdom, all working on games.

RPG Warehouse: As the owner, why exactly did you decide to enter the Video Gaming Industry with all the competition that there is today?

Greg Szemiot: Well, that's a question a little tougher to answer than it might seem. In the console industry it's very difficult for independent developers to get a start off without some major funding, as is the case with Nintendo funding startups with Fund-Q. I decided to start into game design with two of my friends when we discovered than many of our text based games on the TI-83 calculator were popular enough to traverse the country through the net and hotlinking calculators It was very interesting when we found copies as far away as Boston, and we're in Chicago. We decided to take our ideas to the next level, meaning the jump into the realm of graphical games, and 3d.

RPG Warehouse: With all of the competition that there is, what is going to make Crossbeam Studios successful when it comes to games like Final Fantasy, Mario, Zelda and all the other great titles that have made an impact on gamers forever?

Greg Szemiot: First and foremost, the staff at Crossbeam Studios are gamers. The majority of us are Nintendo fans to a degree, so we know just the kind of attachment people get to characters like Mario and Link, and we have no problems with facing off against those franchises. If you can bring something innovative to a player, be it storylines, characters, gameplay, you will have no need to compete. I should probably also mention here that Crossbeam Studios hopes to be on the same console as Mario and Legend of Zelda, whenever that happens to be.

RPG Warehouse: When you entered the Video Gaming Industry, just as every developer has what were some of your goals right off the bat?

Greg Szemiot: Simply to bring unique stories and gameplay to the players. I'm sure that any gamer has sat down after playing a game and said they could have made it better. But how many people actually do it?

RPG Warehouse: What are you personal feelings on the industry today?

Greg Szemiot: Unfortunately I feel that numerous game publishers and developers should be happy to even be around anymore. Everyone is going towards this more mature gameplay like Grand Theft Auto and worrying about sales more than the games themselves. I feel both the companies and players are overly obsessed with image, how does it look, is it "mature" enough and so on. Mario is, in my opinion, one of the most mature franchises out there. It might be cheery and colorful, but the fact that it doesn't need violence and sexual inuendo to be fun makes it all the better. However, we can look at games like Eternal Darkness and see a mature game that really doesn't survive on violence and controversy as much as it does a deep and involving storyline. I think we're going to see a shift towards the "less is more" philosophy. I
think we'll see less games, but we'll see better quality games more often. That's' where you'll see Crossbeam Studios, we won't rush the games, we'll work on them until we're satisfied with their quality. I know everyone says that, but as an independent developer, we can actually take the time to do it.

RPG Warehouse: Is Crossbeam Studios going to be developing for multiple different genres, or is it going to stick to a specific area?

Greg Szemiot: We will support many different genres. Our current titles in development though really only fall into the Adventure, RPG, and Action RPG categories. We will have other types later including First Person Shooters, possibly racing, but really I think you'll see mostly Adventure/RPG/Action RPG games from us, it just gives us more freedom for storyline and character development.

RPG Warehouse: Could you inform us about some of your current projects that you are working on and can you shed some light on your RPG and Action RPG titles?

Greg Szemiot: While I can't say much, I can tell you that two of our titles have had storylines in development for about 2 years, so you can expect a very long involved story with no loose ends, unless we want them in there for some reason. As I said above, a lot of us are Nintendo fans here, so we have taken a look at games like Legend of Zelda for inspiration for some of our

RPG Warehouse: What is going to make those RPGs stand out?

Greg Szemiot: Well, I said we took Legend of Zelda for inspiration, but we aren't making a clone, you can expect a tale with many twists and turns as well as very dynamic characters. We have some interesting systems in the planning stages for magic and attacking. One of our titles has the code name Orb. I think one of our staff members in the UK, James Bond (I'm not kidding, that's his real name), described it best when he said: "I feel that when a customer first boots it up for the first time their jaws will shatter on the floor, and that for the next 12 weeks they won't leave the world of the Orb, and when they get to the end of the game they'll restart it and play it all over just to make sure they weren't dreaming." How's that?

RPG Warehouse: Can you comment on any specific story, gameplay or character details?

Greg Szemiot: Hmm, at this moment I can't. Sorry, but quite a few of them are still be
smoothed out, so they might change.

RPG Warehouse: When can we expect to see these games finished, where will we be able to find them and what will they be found on?

Greg Szemiot: Some of our games should be done in time for the holiday season in 2004. Since we're independent we don't know where yet, but be sure we'll let you know. However they will be on the PC only as far as I can tell at the moment.

RPG Warehouse: Does Crossbeam Studios currently have a Web Site where more detail on these projects can be found and is there anything else you would like to mention?

RPG Warehouse: We have recently acquired www.crossbeamstudios.com and a web server to keep
players up to date on our progress. I'd also like to say that since we are independent we require funds from donations, so we have a store on CafePress where we have some merchandise. The store is located at www.cafepress.com/crossbeam. I hope you will all enjoy our games and will keep in touch.

RPG Warehouse: It's been a pleasure to have you with us Greg and we at RPG Radar wish you the very best of luck in both the near and far future, take care and we will continue to be supportive of Crossbeam Studios to the very end.

Greg Szemiot: Thanks, I look forward to your impressions of our games.

Interview Taken By: Paul Tipton [Mr. T]

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