An interview with the creator of Theia - The Crimson Eclipse

  • Cap_H
  • 05/11/2019 07:17 AM

Hello an Welcome!
This is another entry in now regular series of interviews on rpgmaker.net. The goal is to further promote RMN's featured games and creative minds behind them! You might have noticed that I'm still using that wip banner.

When I interviewed OldPat in February, he mentioned LolloRocketDiver as one of the devs, who inspire him the most. He's certainly on a successful wave with his English releases. First, he managed to score Youtuber's choice of IGMC 2018 and now his long awaited epic finally arrived in a polished translation. Theia - The Crimson Eclipse was originally released in 2014 in Italian and It's a fantastic role playing adventure set in future! The game sprawls over 40 hours of battles, intrigue, romance and other content. Game is focused on unique battle systems and character driven narrative. You can read more about Theia and download it for free yourself here.

Thanks for agreeing on an interview! Could you tell few words about yourself?
Thank you for this opportunity! My name is Lorenzo, known as Lollo Rocket Diver (or sometimes as Missing Seven) and I'm an Italian indie game developer and self taught illustrator. I'm almost 30 years old, but I've been making games with RPG Maker since I was a kid. I started when I was 12, more or less.

Theia - The Crimson Eclipse is a massive game and a massive success. How does it feel getting featured?
I really appreciate that! I worked on Theia for many years and I'm glad to see my efforts being repaid. However, I still must spread the word and let more people know about and enjoy my game.

And I hope you succeed at it! How long did it take to make Theia - The Crimson Eclipse? What influenced you the most when working on it?
Theia's story is a bit complicated. I started working on the first raw version when I was 14-15 years old and it was called Magical Arts. I never finished it, by the way. I started working on this game again, and renamed it Theia, in 2009, after finishing other two games (Fifth Era and Tales of Banalia, both are available only in Italian language, unfortunately). Then I worked on it for few months. I abandoned it until 2012, when I restarted the project for the second time and then I published it in January 2015 in Italian language. Since it's a very huge game, it took 4 years to translate it to English, and we're still fixing some bugs and translation errors.
I was influenced by 90's JRPGs such as Final Fantasy (from 6 to 8), mainly. But then I mixed some story elements and I took inspiration from The Chronicles of Fire and Ice books. I started splitting parties to go deeper in multiple characters' stories.

Four years in translation certainly sounds like a massive undertaking. Do you think something got lost in translation? Italian humour is quite specific and regional in my experience. How did reception of the game in the Italian community differ from the English speaking one?
I think that the English version's dialogues are far better than the Italian ones. I have full confidence in the person who translated the most of the game. I wrote the Italian dialogues, but I'm not really good at it. The main translator fixed and improved some of the dialogues too. Many people of the Italian community still haven't played the English version of the game, so I don't have much feedback about the differences between the two versions yet.

I meant reception of the Italian version in the Italian community.

The Italian version was really appreciated by the majority of players. I'm really proud of this game. Many people cried in some scenes, so my mission is fulfilled : ). Many people replayed the game more than once, so I couldn't ask for more.

What were some of the main challenges for you to overcome during Theia's development?
Constancy is the hardest part, for me, especially with a big game like Theia. In addition, mapping areas is the most time consuming activity. I made all of the maps in parallax, so I created them in RPG Maker, and then edited them in Photoshop and other graphic software. Theia has more than 600 maps, so... yeah, that was a big deal.

What is your favourite part of Theia - The Crimson Eclipse? Is there something you feel gets overlooked by its players?
My favourite part is the central one, from chapter 6 to chapter 9. There are lots of important events and it's the fast-paced part of the game. I really love that part. I think that is the most loved part for the players too. There is something I think the players overlook, and it's the importance of a certain character. Many people underestimate Ferion, the "comic relief" character of the party: he is dumb and funny, but he saves the protagonists many times but not everyone notices that! There are also some details of other characters but I won't talk about it now because I would spoil many details of the story.

Do you plan to expand Theia's universe in follow-up projects? The setting's quite an original one.
I won't make any sequel or prequel. Or at least I'm not planning on doing something like that for now. Few years ago I started a little spin-off game, but I canceled that. It was a short story about how magic was sealed under Halderos about two thousands years before Theia's events. It's a more classical fantasy adventure and it's not really a prequel. It's just another story that takes place in the same world. I will probably work on something different following months and years. However I laid the foundation for another big project. The ones who completed 100% of the game on hard mode understand what I mean!

Theia - The Crimson Eclipse

You've already mentioned your other projects, can you share what some of them are about?
Yes, of course! I've been working on nec(H)roma, lately. It's a thriller puzzle game that I made for the Indie Game Making Contest 2018. The game isn't finished yet, but I already reached a milestone with that game. I won one of the three categories of the contest and obtained great results in the other two categories. The game is about a dad and his daughter, who are trapped in a strange building. Liam, the main character, with the help of his "skull sidekick" Yorick must find his daughter and escape the building. I took part in another IGMC back in 2015 with another puzzle-adventure game named Moonbound. This game tells the story of Aya and Rudra, a little girl and her wolf pup, fleeing from a haunting invasion of dark spirits from beyond the Veil. Both refugees and exiles, alone in this world, their only hope is to reach the Holy Land.

Do you plan to go commercial with nec(H)roma? What's your stance on going commercial in general?
I guess nec(H)roma will be my first commercial game. Going commercial is a thorny question for me. I always perceived this game developing thing as a hobby and a way to express my creativity without limitations and worries. Making games for living... well, I don't know if it suits me, because this "weight" could alter my artistic vision and I'd probably lose interest in making games and telling stories in general. I haven't decided my future yet, I guess. I have my daytime job, so I'm ok, at least for now! I'm a graphic designer, by the way.

Is there anything else you're cooking up? Have you considered joining an event on RMN?
That would be nice. I could get some inspiration by joining some events or contest on RMN. I'm new to this community, I still have to learn lots of stuff about events and many other things! Now I'm still working on Theia. I have to fix dialogues and some bugs. Then I'll work on necroma.

Can you share what do you think makes your working process interesting or unique?
Wow! That's a interesting question. I don't' know if my working process is unique or different from what other people do, but I don't mind sharing mine. I usually start from a random idea (for example, I conceived nec(H)roma's incipit when I was queuing at a kebab stand) and then I start writing all the ideas for the story. Then I come up with game mechanics that can fit the characters and the story. I usually don't start (working on) a game until I have tons of note pages about the game, for both gameplay and story. For example, now I have notes for six or seven games, but I haven't started them yet. I have about 90 pages of story for one of them, and 50 for another one. I am convinced that one should actually start working on a game after a deep design phase.

How often do you play RPG Maker games from other developers? Are there any creators in the community who inspire you?
I play RPG Maker games, not tons of them, but still many. I like them a lot. The last wonderful games I played are Huntress of the Hollow and Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis. These are true masterpieces of RPG Maker. There are few projects I follow that I think are really interesting: Beloved Rapture by Blind (I love the aesthetics), Circuit (the other IGMC2018 winner. Lovely graphics and characters), Karma Flow and Psyche Locke (by my Italian friend OldPat, he's really talented).

Are you aware of Misaos? Why should people consider nominating Theia - The Crimson Eclipse? What category would it deserve to win the most?
Yes, I know the Misaos! I think people should consider Theia for these categories: Eye Candy Award, Excellence In Narrative, because of the story (I think it's the strongest part of the game), Everlasting Journey Award, because it's a 40-hours-long game, Year of the Owl Award (Rudra best doggo), and obviously Lawsuit Waiting To Happen Award! Oh, and Game of the Year would be awesome, but there are many many other great games out there!
These are a lot of awards, who knows if it will win some of them? Let's hope for the best : )

Theia - The Crimson Eclipse

Anything else you would like to say?
Play Theia, spam it to your friends, family and enemies! And happy RPG Making, everyone!

Thank you again for spending time with me today, Lollo. It was a pleasure to have you and I wish you luck to continue getting your games to new audiences.


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Great interview, and I must say: Ferion is probably my favorite character, not only because of his comic relief purpose, but also because he's
the only character that doesn't undergo an existential crisis and doesn't temporarily leave the party or abandon the quest out of selfish reasons or in order to grieve; so without Ferion, the world would have been doomed.
OrudoPatto, kisama!
Very interesting interview! Good job to you, Cap, as always, for taking your time to spotlight interesting devs and congratulations to you, Lollo! I really hope Theia will gain many more players, it deserve tons and tons of love! There is really no other RPG Maker game like it.

And now we want NecHroma!

It's actually a shame that Fifth Era and Tales of Banalia are not translated. Those games are really, really good and they deserve to be played, especially FE.

Damn, I grew up a lot as a dev thanks to games like Fifth Era, they really inspired and shaped me. I'm really glad that I had a chance to play that little masterpiece back in the days. :)

And thank you for mentioning my games, Lollo. I'm really honoured. I really am^^

I don't always comment on these, but I do always read them. This one was especially interesting to me, as Theia is a game I idolise, and could only dream of making. Great stuff.
It's actually a shame that Fifth Era and Tales of Banalia are not translated. Those games are really, really good and they deserve to be played, especially FE

This is SO TRUE. Fifth Era was the game that made me discover Rmk2003. And learn that besides boring and shallow games existed some gems like this one (or Theia). After that I was able to play lots of great games including even some japanese ones.
Still I see Fifth Era As one of my favorites, if not my favourite!

I'd translate it myself if I knew how! ^^'
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