PSLS Presents – Steve Stamatiadis, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Krome Studios

May 12, 2010Written by Sebastian Moss

Blade Kitten, the exclusive mini-series for the PlayStation Network, starring a part-cat, part girl protagonist, Kit, is set to release later this year. To discuss the episodic game, its relation to the comic, and the future of the Blade Kitten universe, PlayStation LifeStyle talked to the creator and director of Blade Kitten as well as the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Krome Studios, Steve ‘Space Captain’ Stamatiadis.

PlayStation LifeStyle: Who are you, and what is your position at Krome Studios?

SS: Steve Stamatiadis, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Krome Studios.

PSLS: Blade Kitten is a PlayStation Network exclusive, what was the reason behind this decision?

SS: We just had a limited number of programmers on the team to do all the first party compliance coding so we just picked one platform and we thought initially the PS3 might be the best fit for our target audience.

PSLS: With that in mind, how would you compare developing for the PlayStation Network, and the PlayStation 3, to other platforms?

SS: Well our tech, the Merkury Engine is really designed to be platform agnostic – it works on PS3, 360 and Wii. We’ve done plenty of multiplatform titles in the past using it. What you do discover is that every platform has their strengths and weaknesses.

PSLS: How successful has the Blade Kitten web, and print, comic been?

SS: Considering it only really ever existed as a way of showing people the universe and characters it’s been very successful. As a web comic I’d say it was moderately successful in that people still remember it even after I stopped doing new pages years ago.

But for me it’s always really been an exercise in world building and character development.

PSLS: The comic was created with the intention of transferring the franchise, and the universe, into a game, did that effect the development of the comics?

SS: No and yes. No in that it never really had any bearing on the story telling – for me the comic was my chronicles of the world. It’s always like I’m watching the events and trying to record them as best as possible.

Yes in that working on the game sucked away any free time I previously had to do the comics. Which is bad because I did less comics but good because the game is so much better.

PSLS: Why did you decide to set the game three years before the first comic, rather than to interweave the two mediums?

SS: The biggest reason was to keep control of the scope of the production. If I’d started with the comics I’d have blown my character budget before I got to the end of issue one. Also it gives me wiggle room with details so that I can make sure the game is fun first and follows the story second. Finally I got to introduce some of the elements from the comics for the first time – like how Kit and Skiffy came together.

PSLS: Other than just maintaining the art-style, how did you try to keep the same level of pace and overall feel of the comic?

SS: Well there’s obviously a lot more action in the game than the comic. So the challenge there is trying to keep the fun feel of the dialogue while all that’s happening. We achieved that with a lot of voice acting. There are even lines of dialogue for when Kit does a cool throw. The comics gave us a really handy blueprint to work off much like we would have if we were working on a licence like Star Wars but with direct access to the source… me.

PSLS: Why did you decide to split the game into two different episodes, rather than one, larger game?

SS: I’ve been interested in trying to do some sort of episodic game for years and this seemed like the right idea to try it out. It also let us get it out a little sooner. For the record it was originally planned to be 3 parts but we decide to bundle the first 2 parts together as Episode One, making it much better value for players. When you play the game see if you can pick the cliff hanger ending.

PSLS: Do you believe that the majority of people will purchase the second episode after the first?

SS: I hope so. I’m pretty sure that people will want to play more after they finish episode 1. It’s the kind of game you get the hang of quickly and get better at as you play. People that have played the game find it hard to put down.

PSLS: Will players be required to own the first episode to play the second? And is the game engine only found on the first episode, like with Blue Toad Murder Files and Siren Blood Curse?

SS: Yes Episode One is required to play Episode Two.

PSLS: Will the Blade Kitten comics be available on the PSP Comic store in the future, and if not, why not?

SS: We don’t have any plans to at the moment but it’s something we’ll be looking into down the track.

PSLS: What other plans are there for the Blade Kitten franchise, will there be any PS Home content, or additional downloadable content?

SS: Currently we’re finishing up episode one for release, working on episode 2 and planning another Blade Kitten release. Have to keep things moving.

Down the track we’re looking into some content for Home and definitely some downloadable costumes to purchase for use in game.

PSLS: Could you clarify what you mean by “another Blade Kitten release”?

The Blade Kitten universe is pretty big and there’s a wealth of possibilities for other character’s adventures in future games. It’s always been bigger than just Kit’s Adventures but she was the best place to introduce the audience to the universe.

PSLS: As an Australian developer, what is your view on Michael Atkinson stepping down from the front bench?

SS: I’m cautiously optimistic that adult gamers will finally be treated like adults in this country but I remember how hard it’s been for films to get to that point. It’s something that Australian gamers want and will continue to push for.

PSLS: When is Blade Kitten set for release?

No release date just yet – but it’s safe to say it will arrive Q3 2010.

PlayStation LifeStyle would like to thank Steve Stamatiadis and Krome Studios for taking the time to hold the interview. Stay tuned to PlayStation LifeStyle for more PlayStation news, reviews and interviews.