RPGamer guest reporter Johnathan Stringer was able to sit down at PAX East 2013 with Dave Welch of Experimental Gamer, one of the lead developers on Boot Hill Heroes. This Wild West RPG is coming out for Windows and Xbox Live Indie Games soon.
Johnathan Stringer (RPGamer, Guest Reporter): Could you give us a quick rundown of Boot Hill Heroes and some of its influences?
Dave Welch (Experimental Gamer, Lead Developer): Boot Hill Heroes is a retro-styled RPG set in the Wild West. It is made by two guys who grew up playing Super Nintendo-era RPGs like Final Fantasy, Earthbound, Chrono Trigger, etc. All those are games that we love, and you are seeing a lot of those games now because people who grew up playing those games now have the ability to make them. So we are trying to make a game like those that we remember and love, and are trying to add new things and put our own spin on it.
JS: Boot Hill Heroes will be released in segments. What is the projected release schedule for these?
DW: Well, we are finishing up the first part. We have to fix some bugs and add some polish and balancing issues. I can't really give a release date, because if I do, I will be wrong, and I will look bad, but I can tell you that is the status of the game, and it is nearing completion.
JS: Can you give us an explanation on how the combat works?
DW: Combat is kind of difficult to explain. It is a little different than other games you may have played before that look like it. In combat you have four different actions you can do, and you have a power bar that charges in real time. Each action requires a different amount of power to perform. So if you have enough power to do an action, you will do it right away. But if you don't, it will queue up and execute when you have enough power.
We did this for the cooperative aspect of the game. If you have multiple people playing, you don't have to wait for your turn to attack. So it isn't turn based at all. It is still command based, but nobody takes turns.
JS: Could you go a little more in detail how the multiplayer works?
DW: One person controls the entire party on the adventure screen. While that person is in control, other players can bring up their menus, change equipment, and perform actions that don't obstruct gameplay. In battle, each player has control of the character they are assigned.
JS: So why a Wild West setting?
DW: There are two reasons. One, is that it hasn't been played out yet. There are not many Wild West games and even fewer Wild West RPGs. We both love old spaghetti western movies. This is more specifically a spaghetti western as opposed to the old wild west. We had a lot of fun with the idea of telling a fantasy-style story through wild west elements. Instead of wizards you have lawmen, instead of monsters you have outlaws, and instead of say dragons you have bears.
JS: Are there any magical elements in the game, as often seen in fantasy RPGs?
DW: It is more of an exaggerated cartoonish reality where there is little magic but no one really notices, and it doesn't play a story element in the game. Indians might use some sort of magic, but no one makes a big deal out of it. No mages or wizards shooting magic.
JS: How do you capture big scale monstrous bosses typically found in JRPGs?
DW: That is a little tougher as we can't have things otherworldly coming in, so we have to think of more challenging ideas. Like how can a boss battle be more epic? I can't really give anything away, but we had to get creative with some epic boss battles.
JS: So what is the scope and length of the game?
DW: Our original script was a fifteen hour game, but there was a lot more to it than we thought. The whole series will be about 40-50 hours, but we will release it in three parts. So there will be about ten to fifteen hours for each part.
RPGamer would like to thank Dave from Experimental Gamer for taking time away from his booth to sit down for an interview and guest Johnathan for conducting the interview. Fans of 16-bit RPGs should keep an eye on this RPG, as it offers familiar gameplay and aesthetics with a unique setting.