I really like Templar Battleforce, from Trese Brothers, so i contacted them to ask if they would accept answering a few questions. They did. Here is the interview.
The french version is available too : Cliquez ici pour lire l’entrevue en français.
Hello ! Could you present your studio and its developpement shortly ?
[Andrew] We are the Trese Brothers, an indie studio that was started by two brothers five years ago. We’ve spent our lives making games together in the pen and paper realm, and stumbled into game development playing around with a project on our Android phones, Star Traders RPG. We found that our type of gaming, complex systems, and thoughtful turn-based games resonated with a lot of people.
We’re on a mission to make the best RPGs and strategy games out there.
You are mostly kown for Heroes of Steel, with nice reviews from players, whereas Star Traders 4X Empires brings more negative feedbacks. Why is it so in your opinion ?
[Andrew] Star Traders 4X Empires is a galactic civilization game. In the game we wanted to do two things — to use the existing lore of the Star Traders world to make a 4X game, and to make a unique internally facing 4X game. I believe we did accomplish our goals, but it makes for a civilization game that some people don’t like the style. For example, you can’t play any other race — only the humans. All of the politics are about struggles and splits within your own empire, different factions within the human empire fighting, using embargos, or treaties. Because it is the Star Traders lore, there is no negotiating with aliens, only war. I think this is very unique in 4X games, but it has got us some negative reviews.
Heroes of Steel is a huge turn-based tactical fantasy RPG. A game I always wanted to build. It’s hour count is crazy, and it takes another odd approach – it’s a no-grinding RPG. There are no places you can go to repetitively kill things, you always have to go seeking new content and story. That’s something unique as well.
What kind of review you get so far, for your last game Templar Battleforce ?
[Cory] I couldn’t be happier with the reviews so far. The game’s 99% positive review rating makes it obvious that Templar Battleforce is scratching an itch that hasn’t been scratched lately. If you like turn-based strategy games, I’d like to say that you need to check it out.
Why are you sticking with turn based games ? Are you planning to develop another kind of game later, an action game maybe ?
[Cory] I don’t think so, not at this time. I’ve always loved games that give you time to think. If you have time to think you’re able to weigh options and make more tactical decisions. We like patient games and we’re very focused on more turn-based games.
Templar Battleforce immediatly brings Space Hulk to players’s mind. Why didn’t you stick with a well known classical universe to get more attention from players and the media in general ?
[Andrew] Templar Battleforce is set in the Star Traders universe. That is a world that Cory and I have been designing and playing pen and paper RPGs in for more than a decade. Battleforce is now the 4th game released in that universe, and each one tells the overarching story from a different perspective. The next game our studio is working on is Star Traders 2. The Star Traders franches has almost 2 million downloads.
For us, we never even considered licensing someone else’s IP. We’ve been telling stories in the Star Traders universe for so many years, it is extremely deep and rich lore. Many people immediately think Space Hulk, but I think Mech Warrior and Dune were the primary influences for the world of Templar Battleforce.
What is your favorite feature in TBF ? Your least favorite one ? And why ?
[Cory] I love the heat system – that’s my favorite, for sure. Each action or move your Templar takes builds up heat. You have to weigh every option. One of the best parts about the heat system is that it has some bite, but not too much. You get consequences for running hot, but it doesn’t end your turn or kill your mech outright. You’ve got to find that spot right next to the red line and keep it there.
[Andrew] I’m excited to say we fixed my least favorite feature. When the game released, each level you started with a set of Templars decided by the level designer (usually me). But it was very limiting, because you got a lot of Scouts and Soldiers and occasionally some heavies. Later, you could deploy reinforcements ,but it always took a long to get out my favorite — the Neptune heavy machine gunner. Boom, boom, blam, blam! Anyway, in our first week on Steam, the community was so vocal about this mistake that we fixed it right away in our second update. Now my least favorite is my favorite feature — Swap! At the start of every mission, you can bring in some specialists, within balancing rules. It really changed the entire game for me.
You seem to be very active toward your community, even if you are only two people. How can you manage to so when other bigger companies failed at it ?
[Andrew] That’s all about love and positive energy. We don’t sleep much. We drink a lot of coffee. But most importantly, we really, truly believe that we will make better games and have more fun if we talk to our gamers. What is the point of making games if we don’t get to know the people enjoying them? If we can’t help them enjoy them more by fixing a few things or improving the game?
The best part is the positive energy we can get from the community. If we hang out with, talk strategy, laugh with our fans … wow, the energy is infectious. We work harder, dream bigger, stay up later for you guys and girls.
When I say we love our games, I mean it. Heroes of Steel has received over 50 updates on Steam, and Templar Battleforce just go it’s 7th in 22 days. On our forum, I’ve posted almost 19,000 times. We’re serious about this — we know it’s why we make games. We’ve been doing it for 5 years and we plan to keep doing it.
Is Heroes of Steel still supported ? Will you develop it more, or are you fully dedicated to TBF ?
[Andrew] If you check out the Heroes of Steel Steam page, you’ll see some recent updates. It is especially benefiting from UI improvements that are being ported from Battleforce. Heroes of Steel is still being improved and supported. It’s also got another big content expansion due soon. Star Traders 4X Empires as well, it’s getting great upgrades coming back from Battleforce.
How long do you think you will support TBF ? Already 6 free updates… Any DLC coming ? If so, will they be free or paid ?
[Andrew] For Battleforce, we really don’t like DLCs. I am also a gamer. I pay for and play games. I know how I would like to be treated as a customer. So, we decided a long time ago to be responsible and be a good game studio. We try to make games and pricing models that we would like if we were the customer. We just hit update #7 with 2 new scenarios, a full upgrade on all the Templar art, and big new features. Paid DLCs? No thanks.
What would you want to say to the readers at the end ? Any secret ? Anything not related to Templar Battleforce ?
[Cory] We’re a small indie studio. We are passionate about making good games and really supporting them. If you like turn-based games, please try them out. Most importantly, if you like the game tell a few friends and leave a review. We are the little gaming revolution, but we need your help.
Thanks you so much for your time and dedication. I wish you a long life as a studio (and as persons too, of course)