Life is Feudal is video game franchise set in a fictional Medieval world, developed by Bitbox Ltd. On top of their two flagship titles – Life is Feudal: Your Own and Life is Feudal: MMO, Bitbox Ltd have expanded the franchise by publishing other titles, such as MindIllusion’s title, Forest Village. Below is the interview we conducted with Vladimir Piskunov who is the CEO/CTO of Bixbox Ltd.
What made you decide to develop games?
“I’ve been a hardcore gamer since childhood and I quickly progressed from casual/primitive gameplay types of the games to more advanced ones, ending up on Sandbox MMOs genre. I’ve played Ultima Online, EVE Online, Shadowbane, Darkfall and many other of similar or not so similar MMOs. After some time I realized that there was no game that would satisfy all my gaming needs and more importantly- there was no such game in development. I had nothing to play with and I had nothing to wait for. So I decided to make the “Game of my Dreams” by myself.”
How did Bitbox come to be?
“Right when I was about to turn 28, I decided that I should actually try to develop the Game of my Dreams. In May 2010 I started a topic in a local game development portal looking for like-minded enthusiasts. People were coming in and out of our team, because enthusiasm is something that ends rather quickly from the most people. But I’ve managed to gather the team core of about 5 people and with this small team we created a technical demo of our game that contained a networked terraforming/tunneling system and free building systems. With this tech demo I started looking for investors for our project and found one small local investor in the Fall 2011. Thus, Bitbox Ltd. was born and we became a full time-paid game developers.”
How do you decide what to design/develop?
“I basically looked around and saw that there was nothing made, or being made, that met with what I wanted from a game. And so, I said “I’ll make my own.”
Any plans to make the jump into console gaming or would you rather stick to PC and why?
“We prefer to stick to PC. Mostly because supporting different platforms is a quite a complex task, that has many demands on all sides of project: development, UI, controllers, and game design. Our games are already complex by themselves , and so porting them to consoles will take triple the amount amount of efforts we currently spend on the PC versions.”
How did Life is Feudal come to be exactly?
“A realistic medieval setting something that appealed to me personally and to our team. It was 2010, and A Song of Ice and Fire was rather popular, but not at its peak, and we thought that it was a good reference, especially the first books, that contained no dragons and almost no Walkers :)”
“We had a couple of different titles for our game, all circling around a synergy of combat and peace, PvP players and crafting/PvE players. Thus we had the working title, “Craftsman”, and “Marksman”. But later on, once we found how really harsh, hard and unforgiving our game was, we decided to stick to the “Life is Feudal” title. Got killed 5 times in a row? – Life is Feudal. Forgot to feed your livestock and they all died of starvation? – oh well, Life is Feudal. And so on :)”
Life is Feudal was able to cover all development cost within 49 hours of releasing, that is amazing! What do you contribute to the success?
“We attribute that to the interesting gameplay from this Game of my Dreams – gameplay that apparently others dreamed of, too. We had no budget for any marketing or PR, so it was all organic interest. And of course, without Steam we would not be able to achieve such exposure.”
What is being worked on currently/next?
“Right now, we’re doing Closed Beta tests of our Life is Feudal:MMO right. Truth to be told, the Life is Feudal:Your Own we released on Steam in 2014 was just a “pocket” version of the Game of My Dreams, but the MMO version, with 21x21 kms map and up to 10,000 simultaneous players on it, well, that’s truly a full vision of my Dream game. And I’m very excited and can’t wait until we hit full release!”
(We hope to be able to get Vladimir on the podcast eventually, but in the meantime to learn more about Life is Feudal and Bitbox please check out: http://lifeisfeudal.com/)