We’re joined by Teddy and Kenny Lee, the brothers behind Cellar Door Games and the new game Rogue Legacy. We talk about how it’s okay to die, laugh at your children’s genetic deficiencies, and make a lot of failed Canadian cultural references.
There’s something charming about talking to two developers who don’t know that they made a good game. When they released the trailer for the game, they were surprised it got so much attention. When they released a demo of the game to press, they weren’t confident about the praises being heaped upon them.
It’s been a little overwhelming. We weren’t expecting this sort of response. I’ve been working under a rock for the last year and a half. At this point I’m sick of the game and I was certain it was garbage.
It’s a sentiment shared by a lot of developers we talk with that haven’t reached critical appeal. When the brothers recollect the number of games they’ve worked on together they remember a lot of Flash games that were fun to make, but not commercially viable. But their not strangers to game development: Kenny worked for Capcom Mobile and Teddy was Lead Designer on Guacamelee! However, they consider Rogue Legacy their first big commercial release as Cellar Door Games.
Rogue Legacy is described as a rogue-”lite” and is certainly not as punishing as a lot of rogue-like games. While dying in a lot of games is trying for many players, the legacy mechanic in their game makes each life unique and funny. The child you choose to avenge your death may have tourettes, irritable bowels, or have some form of gigantism creating a lot of interesting flair for your next play through.
We like to take genres and twist them.
The legacy mechanic along with unlocking upgrades to your castle, a massive skill tree, equipment and magic makes the game much more forgiving than other rogue-likes. You’re going to die, your children will have some problems, but you won’t be able to put the controller down.
The brothers recognized the rogue-like mechanics in one of their favorite games, Demon’s Souls. It became an inspiration for their game as they described wanting to make something similar: a 2D Cartoony Demon’s Souls. When they started looking for artists, Glauber Kotaki had the exact style they wanted. The soundtrack from Gordon McGladdery and Judson Cowan (Tettix) is also fantastic. Although, we’ll still play a few sessions with the jazz music they originally were considering.
Kenny and Teddy were a lot of fun to talk with about their history making games together, design docs, memes, Denny’s, and another entry in our unofficial poll on poutine.
This interview was recorded on May 12, 2013. Prior to being Greenlit on Steam or an announced release date.