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Q&A With Magicka Developer, Arrowhead Game Studios

Inspiration And Reception

There's no question that Magicka is all about social gaming, without resorting to the simplistic presentation seen in Farmville and other "social" titles. Four players can control each of the four mages. But the game is also enjoyable in a single-player setting (albeit much harder, it seems). There's also the whole humor aspect, referencing numerous franchises like Lord of the Rings, World of Warcraft, Indiana Jones, and even Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Throw in the spell conjuring system (and the resulting affects on fellow players), and there's good reason why this game is selling so well.

"We always hoped it would [take off so quickly]" says Patrik Lasota, community manager for Arrowhead Game Studios (GS). "We believed in our game and we were pretty sure of its success, but then again, you never know if everyone else has the same taste as you do. We are pretty happy with how well received it was, and still is, in the community."

Lasota goes on to talk about the main inspirations behind the game, confirming previous assumptions about Monty Python and Star Wars. "The technical and graphical inspiration mostly came from games like Tekken, for the combinations, and Zelda: A Link to the Past, for the graphical style," he says, explaining the game's 'console' approach. "Much of the humor in the game is built upon references to other classical works, like Star Wars, Monty Python, and also older games, like Moonstone. I personally like to call this the kind of humor you get when you reach a critical mass of nerds, and as Anton, our lead programmer put it, 'all of us speak fluently in references.'"

I said that one of my personal favorite aspects about Magicka is the way it mocks the fantasy genre. It also feels somewhat "arcade-ish" in the way players are led from one point to the next until eventually encountering the boss at the end of the level. Yet, the game seems best suited for multiple players, despite its single-player campaign. I asked if multiplayer was the game's primary focus, with the single-player campaign serving as the secondary emphasis.

"From the beginning, multiplayer was already a big focus and we wanted it to be the kind of game that you could get your friends together to play for a while, maybe share some snacks, and simply have a good time," Lasota says. "But the game also needs to stand on its own as a single-player experience; not everyone is interested in playing games with others. We are confident that we achieved a good balance for it all."

  • vexun11
    This is a fun game, worth the $ for sure
    Reply
  • belltollsforthee
    Great game, love the comedy and elemental spells
    Reply
  • Ragnar-Kon
    Great game, that is for sure. Arguably the best $10 I've spent in my life.

    Also a great article, particularly regarding DirectX/OpenGL and APIs. I remember reading an article a while back talking about removing the API and coding on the hardware directly. Having done some DirectX/OpenGL work myself, the first thing that came to mind for me was "wooah, thats gonna take forever." Glad someone else on this planet agrees with me. Just not feasible for smaller studios.

    Although he does seem to be a fan of DirectX, which I am not. Not only do I think OpenGL is easier to code with, using OpenGL could easily open up a whole new market for games, especially with the ever-increasing Mac popularity (not to mention make our Linux friends happy).
    Reply
  • jrnyfan
    This is one of my top 5 games I currently play, it's worth ~$20 but the fact that it is ~$10 makes it amazing. I haven't had this much fun in multiplayer since Goldeneye64...
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  • cknobman
    I just picked up Torchlight off of Steam and am currently having a blast. Magicka looks very appealing, especially for $10, but reading reviews it seems as though the game is very very buggy and unpolished. As the game was released 4 months ago can anyone comment on the state of the game now? Have any of the bugs been fixed or is it something you just have to live with?
    Reply
  • Bought this game on Steam a couple of weeks ago. It's fun, but be aware that multiplayer may not be on the standard that you're used to. It's very much P2P hosting, which comes with its usual problems of having the right ports open/forwarded. The hosting machine has the save file, so if the person who's been hosting isn't available, the rest of you will have to start anew. Dedicated server software is something that would be pretty desirable here.
    Reply
  • teaser
    cknobmanI just picked up Torchlight off of Steam and am currently having a blast. Magicka looks very appealing, especially for $10, but reading reviews it seems as though the game is very very buggy and unpolished. As the game was released 4 months ago can anyone comment on the state of the game now? Have any of the bugs been fixed or is it something you just have to live with?So far ....21 updates since january,the game is in a much better state then it was on release day........
    Reply
  • sirmorluk
    Best $10 I have ever spent. My 6 year old spends hours on it and has completed it a couple of times along with the Nam challenge. Me? Well I suck at it.
    Reply
  • Camikazi
    sirmorlukBest $10 I have ever spent. My 6 year old spends hours on it and has completed it a couple of times along with the Nam challenge. Me? Well I suck at it.QRSAER as weapon enchantment or as AE spell is very helpful :) and FQFQAAS for a beam :)
    Reply
  • Gman450
    Magicka is a great game. Really nice.
    Reply