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The Iconoclasts and Konjak; A Chat With Joakim Sandberg [Interview]

Yesterday I published my preview of Konjak’s most recent build of The Iconoclasts, a gorgeous Metroidvania title that I enjoyed tremendously.

Today, I bring you a full on interview with Joakim Sandberg, the fellow behind Konjak! At the time of the interview I was pretty “high” on The Iconoclasts so that’s what I mainly questioned him about and we covered a lot of topics: his recent IGF submission, future updates for the game, release strategy, etc.

If you have yet to check out some of his work, including the aforementioned Metroidvania, follow the link below!

DIYGamer: Can you briefly explain who you are and what you have created?

Joakim: Well, I’m Joakim Sandberg and I make games for most of my time. My most [well] known game is probably Legend of Princess, but people seem to have liked Noitu Love 2 a lot, as well as my current project, The Iconoclasts. I am attempting to make a living out of it.

DIYGamer: Now most of your current titles are free, and you say you’re trying to make a living out of it, so what do you currently do to make money?

Joakim: Currently I don’t make too much, but mainly I have made sprite animation and a bit of sprite design for Wayforward and other companies. I’ve also drawn a few things sometimes. That’s pretty much it!

DIYGamer: You’re most recent game you’re working on is The Iconoclasts, a game which you submitted to IGF 2012 as well. When did you start work on that and how did the story and game evolve?

Joakim: The project’s initial idea stems from Ivory Springs, an abandonware available for download on my site. The story that I want to tell has evolved since then but I kept it the same way it starts off. That was likely in 2006 that I started it. After a few years I felt like trying again, and then I quit that too! This is my third attempt and I don’t see any reason to stop this time, even with a bit of a hiatus.

The story doesn’t have any kind of manuscript, I am going from notes and what I always imagined what it would be, so we’ll see how that works out. I constantly change my mind about it.

DIYGamer: The game feels fairly finished, at least in my preview build, what else are you working on with it? What future updates are planned and what do you still want to change?

Joakim: I make my games in a very linear fashion which is why I also feel like making finished art pretty much right away. I want to see the game as a mostly finished thing take form, I was never very good at working with just boxes and temp art. But I will always change things to improve them, in terms of programming. Because of the way I’m making this the available versions people have played have far less branches for item rooms than I’m planning to add later, when more moves and weapons are finished.

DIYGamer: And you’re making The Iconoclasts with the Scirra engine?

Joakim: Well, it’s the Construct Classic engine. The one in Construct 2 is similar but isn’t the same. My game couldn’t be ported to it. I mainly use the engine for familiarity, but it kind of paints me into a corner in terms of multi-platform releases. Maybe later on I can be hopeful someone can mess with Classic’s completely open-source code to let me put it elsewhere.

DIYGamer: So you have submitted The Iconoclasts to IGF 2012. I, personally, think it could go all the way, but do you have any personal expectations or hopes?

Joakim: I am very self-detrimental so I rarely have high hopes. All I want is a nomination because I want to go over there. And I tell myself quite often how my game will always be seen as retro and using archaic styles, but at least in terms of gameplay I still feel approaches like 2D planes are much faster and more precise. About the visuals, I’d paint it all if I realistically could. So yeah, all I’m hoping for is a nomination!

DIYGamer: Many of your other games were released for free, is The Iconoclasts going to be released in a similar manner?

Joakim: Probably not. :)

DIYGamer: Typically you release your game for free, how do feel about selling The Iconoclasts?

Joakim: If you played Noitu Love 2 without paying you pirated it, haha. But I don’t mind, nobody paid for it and I’m just happy people played it! Some people supported me though and I’m thankful.

DIYGamer: Have you thought about where you might distribute The Iconoclasts? Desura, Steam?

Joakim: I haven’t gotten that far in development yet, certainly not halfway, so my mind is only lightly touching these subjects. I would love to be on Steam as it’s a service I personally use a lot. Don’t know much about Desura.

DIYGamer: Finally, what are your future plans? Have you started scoping out any other game ideas?

Joakim: I have lots of game ideas, especially more strange ones. For some reason, making games on my own, I have a hard time staying with those projects. I think it’s because I have a hard time knowing how well they work right away and lose motivation, whereas something like an action platformer I know exactly how I want it. But I have countless ideas. Even for games I couldn’t make at this time like 3D, big projects. I think if I continue to make games in a similar fashion I would like to make the intended last Noitu Love game, and hopefully do it more painterly since it’s smaller than Iconoclasts in scope.

DIYGamer: Awesome! Well thanks for taking time to speak with me today!

Joakim: No problem.