Old School Gamer Magazine chats with Marko Tominić, owner of Red Martyr Entertainment, and game director, writer and narrative designer of Saint Kotar, who discusses the game, the creative process behind it and much more.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?
Marko Tominić: I just came to the idea that I should make a point & click adventure game as my first ever commercial project. Being a fan of mystery/horror stories, I knew what I wanted to do even before I started. And then I set its plot in the mountain region of our country, Croatia. Beautiful and foreboding, both at the same time. Perfect for a small rural town with a dark past.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What is your role in the game?
Tominić: Officially, I’m the game director, writer and narrative designer. Unofficially, I’m much more than that, which is a common thing in small indie studios.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How did you get involved in the industry?
Tominić: I just decided I want to make games and jumped into it. I had experience selling video games and consoles, but not creating them. Looking back now, it was a very risky, and perhaps even naive, jump, but I ‘d do it all over again I had to. Creating video games is a childhood dream coming true for me.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What has development been like?
Tominić: Ouch. Tons of mistakes and wrong turns, which costed me time, energy, nerves and money. But I guess that’s the best way to learn.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?
Tominić: First of all, point & click adventure games are very rare these days. While new horror/mystery point & click adventures games are like rainbows – you see them only if you are lucky enough. What makes Saint Kotar special, at least from my perspective, is the atmosphere and art style in a dark and twisted world that deals with faith, devil worship and witchcraft stuff. It’s an intriguing combination.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What games influenced this one the most?
Tominić: Perhaps, only Broken Sword, and only in terms of UI and gameplay mechanics. I didn’t start creating this game having in mind other titles. Players compare Saint Kotar to Alan Wake and Alone in the Dark, for example. They also say it is a point & click version of Silent Hill. Some say it reminds them of the first Black Mirror (released in 2003) and Sanitarium. Although all these comparisons are really great and are making us very honored, points of inspiration for me and the team were Lovecraft’s and Poe’s works, the first season of True Detective, and the movies Seven and The VVitch.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Tominić: The whole process is chaos! 😀 I really can’t highlight anything particular, just want to give advice: don’t ever run a Kickstarter campaign all by yourself. I did it, and 3 months later my mind is still recovering.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What were the major lessons learned?
Tominić: Start with a small project. I jumped into a very ambitious project, long one (20 hours of gameplay time). If I could go back, I would probably start with a smaller project, to establish a good workflow in the team and to get some revenue flowing. And I’d gradually keep increasing the scope and complexity of each next project.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Tominić: Yes, but the main problem with point & clicks is that they don’t age well. The world has changed since the 90s when they were a top, or one of the top genres. People nowadays not only have never enough time to play them, but they also don’t have enough attention. With the whole world being a giant network and the constant flow of notifications coming to our inboxes, it is very hard to stay focused and so a lot of people tend to avoid them. Modern players are more into casual and action games. This doesn’t mean there are no p&c players, it’s just that they became a very small percentage in the market.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
Tominić: Playing Baldur’s Gate whole weekends in Autumn and Winter. It’s cold outside, murky, and my mum is cooking a nice meal for launch and a pizza for dinner. I really miss those days.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want this game to ultimately be remembered?
Tominić: With stories, if you succeed to achieve that, the goal is to send a message of how to live in this world, of how to have a good life. Underneath the horror/mystery story, there is a theme in Saint Kotar that, hopefully, will send a message to the players of how to have a better life by having more faith in themselves and in other people.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Tominić: We are preparing a collection of stories related to the background story and the characters that appear in the game in form of interactive comic books. There’s also gonna be a DLC that will let you play as a third character (the woman that disappeared in the story) during the events that happened before the start of the game (prologue). After that, well, I have a lot of ideas for the next project. First we focus on this one and make sure to make it a great one, and then we’ll see.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add?
Tominić: I’d like to invite your readers to add Saint Kotar to their wish lists on Steam (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1358530/Saint_Kotar/) and GOG (https://www.gog.com/game/saint_kotar)