Interview with Extend Studio, developer of A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda

1. Tell us briefly about your game, A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda.

A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda is the first chapter in a full-featured, episodic, action-packed side-scroller, in the traditions of retro classics, where you play as Ares, a combat robot sent on a mission to rescue task force members who were trapped while conducting an investigation. Annihilate countless robots, recycle their parts to make incredible items, including weapon upgrades and take on gigantic bosses in 3D environment side-scroller.

2. Can you introduce your team? And what is your background in making games?

Yes. Our team, Extend Studio, is composed of seven professional developers. We are a closely-knit team of designers, programmers and artists. Almost everyone here knew each other from university. We have participated and won many game contests in Thailand. After our graduation, we set up our own game company and started working on A.R.E.S. and many other titles on mobile platform.

3. How did you come up with the concept for the game?

For the gameplay, we would like to make the modern action game that gives player a distinct retro feel that they cannot find in today’s AAA blockbusters.

For the story, In modern society, pollution and global warming are hot topics in conversation, so we decided to make a game based on these ideas and incorporate various science fiction elements, in order to make an enjoyable experience. We created a universe where humans ignore the potential dangers of pollution and global warming, and in doing so, put themselves and the Earth on the path to destruction. It is here your story begins. You play a technologically advanced robot, tasked with ridding the universe of electronic waste, while recycling and making the most out of what is readily available.

4. What development tools did you use?

Microsoft XNA Game Studio with the FlatRedBall game engine.

5. Are you doing game development full-time?

Not really. Some of us are doing a full-time game development while some are also doing the outsource work.

6. How long did it take for you to develop the game?

We spent nearly twenty months before we could release this title. It is quite a long time, but we really had a great fun while we were creating it.

7. What are some the challenges that you face in developing games in the South-East Asian region?

Since, everyone here was born and lived in Thailand, sometimes we are not sure that what we are going to add into the game will be understandable and get touch by the western gamers. We solve this by looking for something that similar to in the internet plus ask people to have a try on our game and give the feedback to us before we release the feature.

8. If you could start the project over again, what would you do differently?

We would use “A.R.E.S.” as the name of the game from the beginning so some of our player won’t get confused by the game’s former name “Trashman”. :)

9. Any advice for other indie game developers out there?

Think hard about what your goal to create the game and go for it no matter what it takes. There is an important difference between make the finished game and make the game finish. Try to polish your game as much as possible.

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