Rogue Legacy: PlayStation's Rogue-'lite' in the cellar
It should be stated that Rogue Legacy was a group effort of many talented individuals, like Pixel Artist Glauber Kotaki and musicians Gordon McGladderly and Judson “Tettix” Cowan. The most interesting dynamic was the involvement of Benny, Kenny, Jenny, and Teddy Lee. I met Benny back at PAX and joked with him about their parents’ sense of humor in naming them. Each Lee contributed in his or her own way to Rogue Legacy. Teddy handled game and story design. Kenny was the sole programmer who created a custom engine for the game. Jenny was also on hand at PAX promoting Rogue Legacy tirelessly. Benny helped with story and testing. He also told me he was responsible for cooking and taking the trash. Everyone has their place.
“We’re a family so we argue a lot between ourselves, but the end results for our game are always positive,” Lee says. “I’ve worked at other companies where egos often take precedence over the right decisions, and that always really got to me. Being able to resolve an issue in the right manner feels really good.”
You could say the Rogue Legacy family has grown far beyond the current Cellar Door Games team with the addition of Abstraction Games and Sony. CDG is mostly hands off as Abstraction Games is in charge of the port of Rogue Legacy to PS3, PS4, and PS Vita. It’s forgivable to not know their name off the top of your head. Abstraction mostly handles ports but that doesn’t make them any less of a developer. They’re only responsible for a vastly improved version of Hotline Miami for PS3 and PS Vita. Hotline’s developer Devolver Digital was so impressed with the game, it requested Abstraction port its version back to Windows, Linux, and Mac. It can’t be easy handing over the reins to another developer but Lee has nothing but good things to say about Abstraction. “They’re the nicest guys we’ve ever met and they’re programming wizards too. So far, it has been smooth sailing, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
Sony has been upfront about the importance of independent games on the PlayStation 4. It should come as no surprise they took notice of Rogue Legacy and approached CDG about bringing its game to the PS platforms. Sony’s friendly bedside manner towards indie developers seems to be working out well in its favor as Microsoft repeatedly draws criticism for its totalitarian approach to indie games. “We were lucky,” Lee says. “Working with them has been super easy. They know we’re a small team and they’ve helped make the process very personal.”
Cellar Door Games is taking a well-deserved break after recently releasing the latest patch for Rogue Legacy on PC, Mac, and Linux that included remixed bosses, and new content. The success of Rogue Legacy has exceeded its expectations. “We’ve made enough that we can take it easy for a little while. Shout out to everyone who supported us!” Lee exclaims. “We’re getting eager to do something new. We have some ideas, but so far we’ve just been looking into Unity to see whether or not it’s the next engine we should jump into.” In the meantime, Sony’s indie titles like TowerFall Ascension have Lee excited, but I sensed a little sarcasm when he brought up The Last Guardian. The entire industry is likely holding their breath on that one. It’s fair to assume, even without an official release date announcement, Rogue Legacy will hit PlayStation platforms first.
Teddy and Kenny Lee poured their blood, sweat, tears, and finances into developing video games. It’s a trial and error process that began with Don’t Shit Your Pants. Now the talented group at Cellar Door Games is looking at Rogue Legacy launching across all PlayStation platforms, something they couldn’t have expected in its development. Their creativity, experience, and graciousness should serve them well on their next project, whatever that may be. Hopefully by then, Benny will have been upgraded from trash duty.----
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