Old School Gamer Magazine chats with Dimitri Zatisev, Creative Director of “Dustwind,” a tactical RPG with a post-apocalyptic theme. Heavily inspired by the “Fallout” series, Zatisev lets us know what makes the game different and special and why the gameplay elements created in retro games still matter today.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?
Dimitri Zatisev: My friend and I (the main developers) have always liked the post-apocalyptic stuff and real-time tactics, so we once just had this idea to make a new game that had both of those things.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What was development like?
Zatisev: Chaotic and very demanding. As complete noobs back then, we had severely underestimated how much it takes to make a video game – especially one of this scope. So we went from having NO clue whatsoever to bringing it to a full release on Steam today. We wanted to quit more than several times, but we didn’t – for better or worse. If I go into detail on this, it could be a full novel, so I won’t. But all of us have definitely grown in the process, we have gained tons of experience making the game.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?
Zatisev: It combines deep but fast real-time tactics with funny shenanigans like shooting people with plungers and kicking them into mines and what not… And also the game can be played in Coop or Solo mode, or PvP – so it offers many varying game modes. Also, we have a built-in map editor which everyone can use, so the game is severely community-oriented. Oh and you can totally play as a dog… Yes, a tactical DOG. Don’t think many games do that. And the character system is rather flexible in general – we have no fixed classes, so it’s up to you to create characters that fight the way you want them to. All in all, the game allows for a LOT of expression, tense moments, funny moments… It is hard to describe, one just has to play it.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What games influenced this one the most?
Zatisev: Fallout Tactics.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Zatisev: The funniest one I remember is when our animator showed me a WIP animation of the dog climbing up a ladder.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Zatisev: Yes and no. While it is a good idea to get your inspiration anywhere – old games included – I believe it is equally important to create better, more modern versions of the old-school experiences. Basically, take the core aesthetics of a game, and see how you can improve upon them with the knowledge & technology we have today.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
Zatisev: Playing Fallout Tactics online with my pals on Gamespy Arcade, for years on end. It was our little community, a refuge in a large and confusing world. We were teenagers back then, you see 😉 It was a great way to express ourselves. This is what inspired us to make Dustwind.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Who will enjoy this game the most?
Zatisev: People who like real-time tactics (with or without tactical Pause, which we have in Solo mode), people who want a game that can be played in a funny way vs. your friends, or in a serious way for example in Coop or Solo, people who love making maps, people who love seeing lots of exploding characters, and people who love creating custom characters & tweaking them.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Bottom Line, why must someone play this game?
Zatisev: Cuz otherwise you are missing out on getting shot in the face with a plunger after an armored dog pushes you off a sniper tower, only for his teammate to explode your crotch with a Blasthammer. Because otherwise, you miss FINALLY getting out of that huge bunker with your teammates, after you thought you were definitely gonna die in that raider rush. These, and so many other reasons.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want this game to be remembered?
Zatisev: As something made with love & something that people who play it enjoy.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Zatisev: I am answering these questions three minutes before the full release goes live on Steam. So next – playing the game with the players. After that, we’ll see.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add?
Zatisev: Nah, gotta go. But you should get the game, I’ll kick your butt in-game!
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.