RomancelvaniaThe Deep End Games
Everybody needs love in their life, even …. Drac? Umm…sure … why not, and like all respectable modern celebrities from Hell, literally speaking, Drac gets his very own reality TV show, courtesy of his friend the Grim Reaper. Yes, you’ve guessed it! Romancelvania is a hilarious mashup of dating sim meets platformer in Castlevania #MadeWithArticy.
But while we’ve all had a good laugh playing either the hunky shirtless Drac or the sexy lady Drac romancing their way across Transylvania, the team at The Deepend Games put in some serious work in the production to bring us this lighthearted fun gem. Let’s take a look together behind the scenes.
Articy: Please introduce yourselves and tell us about the team at The Deepend Games working on Romancelvania.
Lindsay: Hello there! My name is Lindsay Gardner and I am part of the very small, but mighty team that worked on Romancelvania. We have an amazing crew from Veterans in the industry to some that are just starting off their promising career in games. At The Deep End we value those who want to learn and are driven by passion and creativity. We are lucky to have a team that has believed in and contributed to the wackiness that is Romancelvania!
Articy: So Drac gets pushed by his buddy the Grim Reaper to find love in Transylvania through a reality show. We just have to ask, how did you come up with this hilarious story idea and can we expect the gameplay to be equally as funny?
Lindsay: Well, we certainly don’t take ourselves too serious here at The Deep End! It’s funny how Romancelvania came to fruition. We were deep in development of another project when Bill and Amanda (husband and wife) played their annual Halloween playthrough of Castlevania Symphony of the Night. Bill and Amanda were Joking about why there were all these monsters in Dracula’s castle. They joked around as if there was a ball or gala going on when Bill turned to Amanda and said “Romancelvania.” She immediately screamed, “I don’t know what that is yet, but shut up and take my money!” From that point on we brought it to the team and Romancelvania was born!
While Romancelvania touches on topics of healing from lost love and being able to move on and find happiness it also delivers in equal parts comedy and nostalgia. We felt the world needs a little lighthearted fun and we hope the audience finds as much joy and laughter as we did at the studio.
Articy: The story is placed in an interconnected world and full of dialogue and narrative options. How much do the player choices influence the story and how did you keep track of the branching storylines?
Lindsay: What our Narrative Director Amanda was able to execute story wise is such a feat. In the end Romancelvania script ended up over 500 pages! With 12 dateable characters, full story arch for each, up to 75 dates, and countless branching narrative choices we certainly had our work cut out for ourselves to deliver! Before we started using articy, in our early demos and prototypes, it quickly became clear that managing all the branching dialogue was going to be an untenable nightmare! I can attest to that as I was the one tasked to implementing it all. I reached a point where I knew I needed some middleware software to help me manage and streamline the already complicated process. This began my hunt for the perfect software. As soon as we started implementing in articy, we knew we untethered and were limited only by our own imaginations.
Right away, articy brought order to the chaos in that we could structure everything in logical, easy-to-follow hierarchies. We could group convos by who was involved, by act, by date type – you name it. So tracking down specific dialogue nodes was a cinch. It also allowed us to create flows that were perfect for things like our bar conversations. In Romancelvania, during what’s known as “The Golden Hour” you can go to “The Gold Room” where you can invite cast members to chat it up. Here, Grim allows you to ask certain questions in order to get to know the cast of the show. Articy made this super simple. Similarly, in order to keep track of what characters said in previous conversations, we simply create a number of variables to track. I say this is a non-coder: anyone can handle complex conversations, quests, and stories.
Articy: At which point in development did you decide you need to use a professional tool and what made you opt for articy:draft?
Lindsay: Pretty early on it became clear we needed some software support to achieve our goals. I began researching different software to help and I came across Articy. The features, ease of use and support Articy gave had my buy in almost immediately. To be honest I also am a huge Tropico Fan and I was elated to learn the developers also used Articy. The integration from Articy to Unreal 4 was so easy to do which made our lives so much easier!
Articy: What kind of impact did articy:draft have on your development process?
Lindsay: Articy gave us so much time back which is the most valuable thing in development! Where our previous methods of implementation would take a day, with articy it would take a fraction of that. Articy is user friendly and super easy to navigate even for those not familiar to this style of software. I even convinced Amanda how easy it was to write in articy and she also couldn’t believe how easy it was to use. And those savings allowed us to expand our scope to include things like more dates with the characters. We have a whopping 12 cast members for Drac to date, which is kind of unheard of in the genre. And each character has TONS of dialogue. I don’t think we would have been nearly as ambitious if we didn’t have articy taking a lot of the burden off of implementation.
Articy: What features of articy:draft did you use the most and how?
Lindsay: So we used a ton, but I would say we used Global Variables and the Conditions and instruc-tions features the most. With so many branching choices and conditions/variables that can spout from that made these features so valuable to us! These made tracking conversation choices trivial.
Articy: If you were to give a small piece of wisdom to a new studio, what would that be?
Lindsay: Be bold! We took a lot of chances with Romancelvania and it has paid off. Mind you, in order to be bold, you do need to know your strengths and weaknesses. In our case, we knew our characters, world, and narrative were going to be enormous strengths. So we made sure we invested as much time in those things as we could. With that in mind, we made every effort to find ways to help elevate those strengths while avoiding pitfalls. articy did exactly that for us. We only wish we had articy from the very beginning and know we will continue to use this software in our upcoming titles!
Romancelvania is available:On Steam On XBOX On PS Store
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