Old School Gamer Magazine chats with Tiago Zaidan (CEO and Lead Producer, Gamecraft Studios) about their new game, Vampire Hunters.
About Vampire Hunters:
Inspired by the indie hit Vampire Survivors, Vampire Hunters has players stack weapons until you end up with absurd, impossibly awesome builds. Test your firepower, die, then try again with rogue-lite elements, insane-yet-useful upgrades, and addicting “just one more try” gameplay. Relentless action, blood-pumping music, and a darkly steampunk world combine to deliver a gun-crazy, fantastical FPS experience unlike anything else on Steam.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How was Vampire Hunters born?
Tiago Zaidan: Vampire Hunters was born at the beginning of last year during an internal game jam held at Gamecraft Studios. The main idea behind the game was to utilize the beloved gameplay mechanics from Vampire Survivors but with a different genre – in this case, a first-person shooter. We believed that an old-school FPS would be a perfect fit for this concept.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What is your role in the game?
Zaidan: I am the lead producer.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What has the development been like?
Zaidan: It has been an incredibly fun experience. While we have previously worked on rogue-lites and action games, Vampire Hunters is our first venture into the FPS genre. Exploring a new genre while incorporating familiar mechanics has been a delight. Furthermore, since releasing our demo, we have received valuable feedback and suggestions from the community, which has been fantastic and gives us an extra boost. The main idea behind Vampire Hunters is to build it side-by-side with the community.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes Vampire Hunters special?
Zaidan: The standout feature of Vampire Hunters is the weapon stacking mechanic. Players can stack up to 10 primary weapons, two secondary weapons, and two passive weapons! Additionally, there are perks that can modify each weapon slightly. This leads to chaotic – and thrilling – gameplay. We also designed the game with corridor-like levels, which allow players to focus on what truly matters: slaying vampires and demons. More so, since this is a rogue-lite, each run can be tackled with different weapon combinations, perks, and permanent upgrades, resulting in high replayability and constant progression.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What games influenced this one the most?
Zaidan: Vampire Hunters draws inspiration from a combination of Doom and Vampire Survivors.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any interesting stories or memorable moments during development?
Zaidan: During the initial stages, we planned to have one hand for stacking up to 5 weapons. However, after testing this concept, we thought, why not add another hand? And then another, and another… In the end, we ended up with 6 hands! It’s quite amusing because when we attempted to depict the character’s appearance, it turned out to be quite absurd. Fortunately, since it’s an FPS, players can use their imagination! At one point, we even considered replacing a hand with a foot … but we decided to stick with hands.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What were the major lessons learned?
Zaidan: This is the first Early Access release for us, so we anticipate a significant learning curve. Being able to develop in close collaboration with the community is incredibly exciting. Furthermore, the fact that Vampire Hunters originated from an internal game jam has proven to be an invaluable experience. The innovative nature of the game jam translated into the initial product, making it truly stand out with the weapon stacking mechanic.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Zaidan: Absolutely! All of our previous games were inspired by older titles. We firmly believe that older gameplay mechanics still have untapped potential, offering ample room for improvement. Furthermore, we deeply appreciate the old-school gaming community as they engage passionately and often become dedicated fans. For us, that’s super-gratifying.
Old School Gamer Magazine: The marketplace is crowded. How do you think you stand out?
Zaidan: We’re placing a heavy emphasis on the weapon stacking mechanic. It’s a unique and innovative feature … Not to mention that having six hands on-screen certainly stands out! Our mission is to create an abundance of absurdly fun weapons, perks, and upgrades, allowing players to have a blast while obliterating monsters.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How have your previous experiences in the industry helped Vampire Hunters?
Zaidan: Having been involved in game development since 2014, I can safely say that collaborating with other studios has had an immense impact on Vampire Hunters. Our previous work on rogue-lite and action games provided us with valuable insights as well, enabling us to create thrilling perks, an addictive gameplay loop, and fun upgrades.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you ultimately want Vampire Hunters to be remembered?
Zaidan: At Gamecraft Studios, we strive to create games that people will love to play. Our primary goal is to see players genuinely loving their time with Vampire Hunters. Additionally, we aim to be remembered for the unique weapon stacking mechanics!
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next for Gamecraft Studios?
Zaidan: Currently, we are working on two other games. The first one is Legend of You, which has already been announced. The second game is a co-development with Choice Provisions, although it hasn’t been officially announced yet. Additionally, we have just started pre-production on another exciting title 🙂
Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add?
Zaidan: Thank you so much for this interview! Being recognized by a magazine that caters to old-school gamers confirms that we are on the right path with Vampire Hunters. I hope you have a ton of fun with the game!