Lex: Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Andrey: My name is Andrey Kniazev. I worked at gamedev for 3 years before I started Lostwood games.
Lex: I read online that you have spent $150,000 on Leviathan: Last Day of the Decade. How did you come up with that number? Is it mostly paid wages, contracts, etc?
Andrey: I spent a lot of money on salaries — not on marketing and PR, and maybe it was a kind of mistake. We aimed to make a good game, but making a good game is not enough to get a lot of attention from the press and gamers.
Lex: Have you heard anything from Steam? How has your Greenlight campaign been going there?
Andrey: It is hard to say. We've already gotten more than 5,000 upvotes, but I don't know how many votes we need. There are 56% for "NO" and 44% for "YES". Getting greenlit is hard.
Lex: I read that you had trouble finding a publisher. Can you please elaborate on that?
Andrey: We have a problem. Leviathan seems too serious and severe for mobile gaming. We already found a publisher for the 3DS and PS Vita versions, but we don't have enough money to make a port.
Lex: What issues have you run into? What did you not anticipate before releasing your game?
Andrey: As I said before, we simply ignored the fact that marketing costs can be up to 50% of a game's budget, so it has caused a lot of problems. When you make a game, you can't depend on luck.
Lex: Relations between the United States and Russia aren't very good right now. Do you think that's hurting your appeal for western audiences?
Andrey: Well, I love my country and my people, but I realize that Russian society now faces a lot of problems with understanding moral guidelines and modern human rights. This is a real problem and we tried to reveal it in Leviathan's plot. For example, there is a scene of bullying where some kids scoff at the protagonist's friend for being gay. We hope this image seems concise and accurate enough. This is the way a demonstrative hatred looks like. There is something artificial and very childish in it. It is filled with misunderstanding, intolerance, and even aggressors themselves are aware of its invalidity...
So, let's back to your question. I think, there is a very significant difference between politics and what people really think about the US and western countries.
Lex: Who does your game appeal to? What is your target audience?
Andrey: There is an age restriction of 18+, but it is not because of suggestive themes, sex, nor anything like that. It is because of the way the story is told. We constantly appeal to the "moral compass" of the player. We always try to make the player cogitate about events happening in-game and decide what is right or wrong (and maybe everything is wrong, and the world is just a place full of injustice and constant struggles).
In fact, Leviathan is a setting based on a really complicated world with many references to real politics, history, people, etc. It is not a world of black and white, but a world where all the characters have their own sophisticated motives. And the word "hero" is just a word. We also have a character who was a civilian war veteran, commander, murderer, was guilty in many civilian homicides, and he is known as a hero, but he is not hero at all.
Andrey: We are going to port Leviathan to Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita, but I don't know when it will happen.
Making Leviathan: The Last Day of the Decade was a hard and helpful experience for each of us. We now have the experience of making and telling stories and creating characters and atmosphere. I can say that we will always be focused on making games with deep thrilling plots because we all love such games.
Lex: What are you currently working on?
Andrey: Development is still in progress and now we are making the fifth episode. We already have a lot of variants of the script, but it seems far from perfect. So, we keep working on the last episode and hope it will be great. We are also looking for money to make a good translation for episodes 4 and 5.
I also want to make an announcement. Soon, we will launch a campaign at indiegogo.com where we will introduce our upcoming game. It is based on the same setting, but completely differs in genre and gameplay. It is a survival RPG, where your protagonist becomes prey for the ancient pagan god. And when the character dies, the story begins...