Interview : Elephant Games, [RIP Trilogy].

This time, Pig-Min interviewed Elephant Games, Russian Company which made [RIP Trilogy]. Recently they released [RIP Trilogy] through Steam.

Answerers :
Andrey Pahmutov, CEO
Peter Efimov, game designer
Natalie Lekomtseva, manager

Korean version of this Interview.

User image

Screenshot from [RIP 3 : Last Hero].

1. Elephant Games has made 3 [RIP] series up to now, but most Korean don't know about them yet. Please explain [RIP] series & your company, including history & company size.

Natalie Lekomtseva

The company "Elephant Games" has been developing computer games since 2003.The main body of the company consists of 12 people. The company founders - Andrey Pahmutov (CEO) and Peter Efimov (game designer) initially were in the board games business for a long period of time. Then they founded a small PC game developing company.

Now in our team we also have 4 programmers, 2 artists, 2 designers, the webdesigner and the manager, who helps to get the products to market. Our programmers developed PC games since they were students. Even the degree work of one of them was a 3D arcade game. The artists have dealt with computer graphics for more than 6 years. They were the artists for GBA games, mobile games, and have also done web design.

Now  I can say that we got success not only in PC games (both on-line and retail), our games are also very popular on Mac

Peter Efimov

As for the RIP series ? initially RIP was created as a small arcade shooter for PC in a humorous style (thus the heroes were so unusually looking). But further we decided to give up the ironical idea, but the characters were still remained in RIP: Strike Back.
Actually RIP: SB was a kind of intermediate version, where we tried to develop further the game play and put all the basic abilities which we actually realised in RIP 3.

Andrey Pahmutov

Speaking about The Last Hero -  it differs from its predecessors conceptually. We worked over the setting, the narrative elements, the plot and each character's backgrounds. We were growing and the level of the game was also improving. So RIP evolution is our team's evolution as well.
2. Elephant Games is Russian company. We all know Russian companies have made several good games until now, as [Big red adventures] - [Etherlords] - [Hero of Might and Magic 5] - [Sea Dogs] - [Stalker]. but not sure about them exactly. Please explain us briefly Russian game scenes. And are there many indie game companies in Russia, like Elephant Games?

Natalie Lekomtseva

If I may continue your list of games made by Russians, I will add Turtle Odyssey (Realore), Alien Shooter (Sigma team), Turtix (Alawar) and many others. I think that we can compare Russian game market with a kid ? it is rather young, growing very fast and extremely talented.

Andrey Pahmutov

As far as I know the number of indie developers in Russia is almost the same as in any other countries. The main difference is that only a few independent teams in Russia are able to spend a large budget effectively in order to create a real hit.

At the moment most of the games, produced in Russia, are targeted to the inner market. Thus, the idea of  such titles is very often difficult to understand abroad .
But at the same time lots of casual titles by Russian teams become very successful. (e.g. Turtle Odyssey, etc.)

Peter Efimov

To my mind, the main difference of Russian indie teams consists in their attempt to put into the game not only well- polished technical aspects, but also a very addicting, interesting and deep game play.

3. It might not be so easy, to make game in Russia & sell them abroad, especially for Indie Game company. When you started business, there might be some difficulties about that, as Promoting - Getting site visitors from abroad - ... etc. Please share some episodes about that.

Andrey Pahmutov

In fact we have never experienced any specific problems about selling from Russia to abroad.  We faced just the same problems as all the start -upers: lack of experience and business contacts.But I think we managed to cope with all the difficulties. Currently we have a professional and very friendly team of developers.

Natalie Lekomtseva

Speaking about the main problems I would mention inability to contact with business partners personally due to our geographical position. But this issue is easy to resolve with a phone and e-mail service. Now we have lots of partnerships and business contacts. Besides, currently we have several really great agreements, which we are very excited about. Unfortunately I cannot give much information on that as we are bound with NDAs.

4. Earlier [RIP] series were sold seperately, around 19.99$ through casual game download portals. But with 3rd. game, it's published through Meridian4 & all of trilogy are sold at once under 20$, and download purchase might be only available through Steam. It's kinda big change for your selling. How come to change your selling method such a lot, and what are the differences for the Past & the Present selling? And will there retail package for [RIP Trilogy]?

Andrey Pahmutov

At the moment we are trying to change our selling strategy from direct sales to close cooperation with the publishers for different territories. We have a strong feeling that ?division of labour? is much more effective for us.

However, we sometimes can help the starting up developers with the product producing and its promotion.

Natalie Lekomtseva

We are really proud of dealing with all our business partners. Our team really enjoys working with Meridian4. They are very professional and friendly guys. Hope, we will release a retail package for RIP Trilogy with them very soon. As for the price- actually it depends on Steam policy.

5. [RIP] might get some influence from [Crimsonland], even if [RIP] series are kind different from [Crimsonland]. You might hear several feedbacks about that, from some players & even some reviews. Please share your opinion about that.

Peter Efimov

To some extent, RIP is really inspired by Crimsonland. And we are absolutely proud to see RIP compared with this great game. Crimsonland is a classic title. And I know very few games-clones which are appriciated and treated even more positively than the original.

6. First 2 series of [RIP] were similar to each other, not very different. 3rd. game might have some different & improved aspects, as I suspect. Please let me know about that.

Peter Efimov

As we mentioned above, RIP 3 differs from the first two RIPs by its concept. This project is made on the much higher level, regarding both graphics and and technical aspects. I think, the ideas, put into RIP 3 (destroyable environment, military vehicle abilities, etc.), will be improved and realised in our future games.

7. You might have some future projects, after [RIP Trilogy]. Please share us about that.

Andrey Pahmutov

Certainly, we have several projects in development.  But for the moment I would prefer not to comment much upon that. Please, follow our news at our official website Elephant Games.

8. Please recommend good Indie Games, and the reason why.

Andrey Pahmutov

I like Peggle. Though, I doubt that it can be considered an indie game. Popcap is both a publisher and a developer. I can also recommend Darwinia and Defcon.

Peter Efimov

Jets'N'Guns is another great game. We greatly respect the developers who are not afraid to shock the audience by a cool combination of dynamics and humour. The retro game stylistics of the game look really impressive! I am also dreaming to get to the magic island in Tropix ? the developers have done a great job (though, this title is not indie in fact).

9. Did you try some Korean games, or even heard or experienced about them? If so, please share your thoughts about that.

Peter Efimov

Unfortunately, not. But we would be pleased to try if you us advise some titles. I really enjoy Eastern RPGs (Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire). We respect these games for the deep and serious plot.

10. Please leave some message for Pig-Min readers.

Andrey Pahmutov

We hope that you will like RIP series. We have lots of fans all over the world and will be happy to have friends from Korea.

Peter Efimov

On my part  I encourage you to send us your feedbacks and suggestions on RIP Trilogy. Let's make good games together.

Korean version of this Interview.
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