We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Vladislav Chetrusca, founder of MagicIndie Softworks and developer of Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Read on to learn about this small independent studio from Moldova and how their first hit hidden object game came together.
Hi Vladislav, thanks very much for taking the time to speak with us. First, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your studio.
Hello Erin and hello Gamezebo community!
The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe game was born in Moldova, and so was I. It’s a small country that is more known for its wines and vineyards. MagicIndie started as a one man team, back in 2007 while I was still getting my degree at the University. Half a year later I released my first game, which wasn’t successful, but I decided to take one more chance by creating Robinson Crusoe. The latter can be considered a really multinational product because its development involved people from Moldova, the United States, Germany and Russia.
How did you come up with the name MagicIndie?
I started doing games as an “indie” developer, without a plan, a game budget and completely on my own. That’s why “indie” is the most important word in the combination. “Magic” somehow snuck in by itself.
MagicIndie is based in the city of Chisinau in the Republic of Moldova.What is the game development scene like there?
The development scene is absolutely superb! Speaking sincerely, until recently I didn’t hear anything about game development in Moldova, but now it looks the ice has started to move because I’ve heard of teams doing mobile and online games here in Chisinau.
In general Moldova is a pretty nice place to develop game because of low taxes (IT companies can even benefit from 0% tax on income) and pretty acceptable living cost if you have a western-sized income.
Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, has turned out to be very popular. How do you feel about the positive response the game has received? Were you surprised at all?
I feel absolutely EXCITED about how well Robinson Crusoe was met by the casual audience. But, I would say it this way: I would be more surprised if the game had been badly received rather than being received well. During the development cycle we constantly tested the game on neighbors, relatives, and friends, and we had very positive feedback from them. Even more, we became sure about our success when we did a large beta test with Big Fish help and received very positive results.
With so many hidden object games being released now, what are some of the ways you tried to make Adventures of Robinson Crusoe stand out from the crowd?
In casual downloadable space the competition is extremely tight, and in our case having a small budget with almost no experience, we really had to make some serious decisions to stand out. We decided to implement some key features that would make our game more unique: the use of inventory items to perform some actions, a first-person-quest like traveling between levels, move away from “room” scenes in favor of more exotic locations, a more unique game goal (building of the ship) and of course lot of fun.
I think we also had a bit of luck.
What games are you playing right now and enjoying (other than your own, of course!)
From time to time I think that it would be great if a developer could just switch off a portion of his memory to be able to see his game from a player’s perspective.
Yesterday I discovered an online game called Minigolf Tropical Island and I am enjoying it very much.
Can you give us any hints about your upcoming projects?
Nothing in close range. I am working on the scenario for Robinson Crusoe 2, which will move into the development some time later. I wish I had 10 hands and at least two heads to implement all the game ideas that are constantly rotating in my mind.
Any last words for your fans?
Robinson Crusoe will be back!