Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords Q&A

Infinite Interactive's CEO and lead designer talks to us about the recently announced Xbox 360 version of Puzzle Quest.

Already available for both the PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is an addictive role-playing game in which battles between characters are played out using a Bejeweled-style puzzle game. Earlier this month, D3Publisher announced that it is working with Vicious Cycle and Infinite Interactive on an enhanced version of the game for Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade. So we got in touch with Steve Fawkner, lead designer, to find out what he and his team have planned.

GameSpot: Did you expect Puzzle Quest to get the reception that it did?

The product of RPG-love and a Bejeweled addiction.

Steve Fawkner: By the time we released Puzzle Quest, we had logged hundreds and hundreds of hours playing the game, so we knew it was a lot of fun. I had a pretty good feeling that we were going to get a great reception, but we were really surprised at how quickly fans became addicted and began spreading the word about the game.

GS: What inspired you to make the game?

SF: Puzzle Quest is really the child of my love for role-playing games along with a terrible Bejeweled addiction that I suffered a few years ago. As a game designer, when you love two things, you always start wondering what will happen if you put them together--peanut butter and chocolate? Or beer and cranberry juice? The only way to really find out is to make a prototype, which we did in early 2005. It turned out to be greater than the sum of its parts, so we immediately went into full production.

GS: Did you try to guess as to what the reaction would be? What do you think of how it's been received?

SF: It sounds kind of selfish, but we really made the game for ourselves. After we had a solid foundation for gameplay, we went through the usual process of trying to widen the appeal, adding little touches that we hoped would garner a great reaction. No matter how much you like a game, you always have that 1 percent doubt in your mind that gamers and the press might just hate it. In many ways, that's what drives you to constantly improve it in those critical last few months. As it turns out though, it's been very popular, and there's no higher form of flattery for a development studio to receive than to have gamers recommend the title to their friends.

GS: What's the most surprising thing about the way the game's turned out?

SF: I'm still quite surprised at the depth we were able to achieve with the game. I mean, there is a simple 8x8 grid with seven colors of gems to move. It doesn't sound like much, but there are so many spells and monsters and different tactics to employ. Every character class plays quite differently, and I'm still learning things about the game myself.

GS: Why did you decide to bring the game to Xbox Live Arcade?

Puzzle Quest is certainly a lot deeper than it looks.

SF: I think that XBLA is a fantastic service. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I bought this huge, expensive console, but I spend half of my time playing these small, fun downloadable games on it. I think Puzzle Quest will just be a perfect fit for the XBLA service. We're small enough to download, but we have the gameplay, depth, and replayability of a full game.

GS: Is the game going to be a straight port of the PSP and DS games or will there be new content?

SF: XBLA has so many great features that it would be a criminal act if we didn't take advantage of all of them. We've had time to make changes and plenty of feedback from players about potential improvements and balancing.

GS: Will the game support downloadable content?

SF: Role-playing games are a great genre for downloadable content: monsters, quests, items, spells, etc. Oblivion has been fantastic with the content it has made available, and there is no reason that Puzzle Quest couldn't make similar things downloadable. We don't have any announcements about that yet though. We're still focused on tweaking the core game to make it perfect for XBLA.

GS: In terms of both visuals and gameplay, what's being enhanced to take advantage of the 360?

SF: All I can say at the moment is that there will be a few interesting surprises that should make the game even more enjoyable.

GS: Will you be taking any user feedback on the PSP and DS games into account when prepping the game for XBLA?

SF: Absolutely! We've found over the years with our Warlords games that the players are one of our biggest sources of inspiration for new features and improvements. A few suggestions from the forums have already crept into the XBLA version.

GS: Will we see D3 bringing Puzzle Quest or any of its other titles to the PlayStation 3 or even Virtual Console on the Wii?

SF: I can't speak for any of the other D3 titles, but I know that the team at D3 is a very sharp bunch of people. I'm certain they'll be evaluating all sorts of opportunities to get Puzzle Quest out into the gaming community.

GS: Thanks for your time.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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27 comments
grendel0813
grendel0813

I love this game. After 20 min it'll have you hooked. Perfect game for an already great service as XBLA

LordAndrew
LordAndrew

"Oblivion has been fantastic with the content it has made available, and there is no reason that Puzzle Quest couldn't make similar things downloadable." Downloadable horse armor for Puzzle Quest? Sweet.

nuwonda
nuwonda

I already recommended it to all my colleagues and friends. +4 DS Sales so far and more coming :) Absolutely love it.

feryl06
feryl06

I've been hooked since it came out. It's the only thing keeping my PSP dust free. :)

hazaa54
hazaa54

Love puzzle quest on the ds, love my xbox, but im not sure im gonna buy this.

StanleyL
StanleyL

I can still remember when D3 came to show this game for On the Spot, everyone in the chat room was screaming how boring the game looked and wanted us to move on to whatever generic shoot-em-up we had to show next.

poonus21
poonus21

the demo for this game had gotten me hooked. cant wait till it comes out for XBLA..

DoctorFu
DoctorFu

I really do want to play this for the 360 on Xbox Live. Something about Role Playing and Puzzle games makes me wonder why nobodies thought of this before..

oDARKBLADEo
oDARKBLADEo

This game is incredibly fun. I'm loving it on the DS, an will buy it again on XBL. Hopefully with some cool new additions, it will be a great addition to the console. It may not immediately look like fun, especially for people not into puzzles (that's me)... but once you get into it, it's a fantastic way to do battle in an RPG setting. There are lots of quests, choices to make, items to find, buy, craft, etc. And.. you can build a castle, siege and take over cities, exact tribute, and more. It's a hoot.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

An amazing game. The DS version provided me with hours of fun.

thewolf619
thewolf619

As long as the glitches have been fixed I'll be all over this one. It's awesome on PSP and a couple of tweakes will make it even better.

spidey223
spidey223

This game is great!!! totally underated. and addicting as heck. i wanna know WHEN it's coming to OXL, now!

KindredWarr
KindredWarr

oh wait.. a little research later, and the Demo came out in march, PSP and DC versions came out in March also. So only a few months, how the heck did you figure the PC versions been out for a year or two?

KindredWarr
KindredWarr

A PC version isn't out.. really no idea why you would say it's been out for a year or two.I don't even think the DS or PSP versions have been out that long. Seriously.. try finding the PC version. The demo's been around for a while, but the game sure as hell isn't out for the PC.

codepunk
codepunk

Umm, I may be wrong but the PC version has been out for a year (maybe 2). I downloaded a demo and played it.

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

Killer game! I have the PSP version though. If it has more added to the XBLA version I may still give it a shot.

CrapfullyCrap
CrapfullyCrap

Can these guys announce a date for the PC version already?

bryehngeocef
bryehngeocef

Already got the PSP version, but i'll shell out to be able to play it on the couch with th wife in tow...

FMunro3251
FMunro3251

nice! i was gonna get it on the ds, but now i can get it for alot cheaper

TGammet
TGammet

If I didn't already have the PSP version I'd grab this for sure. It's a great game people!

plumbervspirate
plumbervspirate

This is great news, I really enjoy the DS version of this game. Hopefully it will be able to gain a little more popularity with it's move to the 360.

yukine
yukine

I guess it's a good thing I haven't bought the PSP/DS version. I'll get this one instead, as it sounds like they are going to fix the balancing issues I've heard.

jcloverboy
jcloverboy

Look forward to grabbing this once it hits.