Ten Questions With… Steve Alexander & Shawn Mills (Infamous Quests)

Ten Questions With… Steve Alexander & Shawn Mills (Infamous Quests)

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A while back we reviewed Quest for Infamy, a point & click adventure that not only pays homage to genre classics from the 90s, but is also a great game in its own right. The game features some superb characters and buckets of humor that make it a blast to play. To solve the riddle of how this game was created we combined a computer, the Internet and an email which triggered this response from the developers!

Can you give our readers a quick introduction of yourself and the studio?

SA: Hi, I’m Steven Alexander, co-founder of Infamous Quests, and one of the writers and directors on Quest for Infamy!

SM: Hey, I’m Shawn Mills, the other co-founder of IQ and I was a director and programmer on Quest for Infamy. I like to think I was inspiration too, but that’s probably not true.

How did the idea for Quest for Infamy come about?

SA: One evening, when the moon was in the 7th house, and Jupiter aligned with Mars, Shawn (Mills, co-founder of IQ) and I became friends through a forum for Sierra Game fans.  We both discovered a love of games and passion to make them.  Shawn mentioned to me that he had a funny idea – what if you could play “Quest for Glory”, but more as a bad guy – kind of like Grand Theft Auto.

What are the games that influenced you and how?

SA: Well, of course – the Sierra games of the 80s and 90s were huge for me.  King’s Quest, Space Quest and Quest for Glory were big ones.  I was also big fan of The Secret of Monkey Island and Sam and Max Hit the Road.  We both also were fans of Dungeons and Dragons, and that definitely influenced us.

SM: I was also into computer RPG’s like Betrayal at Krondor, Balder’s Gate and Bard’s Tale, so there’s some influence there too.

What features of Quest for Infamy are you the most proud of?

SA: I’m proud of all the little minute details you can change with small actions.  We really tried to take care for all kinds of situations, to try and make the game as fully interactive as we could.  We wrote a lot of narrator lines, and we tried to keep them funny and interesting – we always looked at the narrator as another (and very important) character in the game.

SM: The combat and the wide variety of random monsters you can fight during the game. Some people complain the combat itself is too easy and others complain it’s too hard, so I’m happy that we found a middle ground!

What was the biggest challenge while creating Quest for Infamy?

SA: Obviously time and budget are working against you as an indie developer.  We made this game on a budget that an AAA studio would spend on lunch.  On a Tuesday!  So coordinating everyone’s time and work, and trying to use our resources the best we could to make the best game possible was the hardest challenge to me.

SM: Coordination of the team is the biggest challenge, if we were all working in an office together things would get done at least 67.425% faster but we live everywhere on the planet (we have team members in the US, Canada, Australia, Russia and the UK) and even time zones those countries factor in (two team members live in Australia and they’re in different time zones!) It’s a challenge sometimes just to talk to other team members. I learnt to stay up very late!

What aspect of creating the game was the most fun?

SA: For me – creating the world and the characters that live in it.  I not only designed the Valley of Krasna, where the game takes place, but I also took time out to write a whole bunch of lore about the world and history of Quest for Infamy.  There’s a lot of room to grow, so to speak, in the world of “Tahrsein”.

SM: I love writing, so to hear my lines spoken by James who voiced our Narrator in-game was brilliant.

Quest for Infamy is the first Steam release from Infamous Quests. How did you find the experience?

SA: Our publisher, Phoenix Online, made our experience with Valve and Steam quite easy.  Learning how to use Steamworks is definitely an experience, though, and I’d tell any up and coming group to “RTFM” when it comes to that!

What are the future plans for Quest for Infamy/Infamous Quests?

SA: Well, I know we’d love to do a sequel to Quest for Infamy.  I have more plans in the story of Mr. Roehm, so I hope we’re able to pursue this in the future.

SM: Yeah a sequel to QFI is half designed in our heads! We’ve certainly talked about that. A lot depends on how well Quest for Infamy does!

What is the most unusual thing on your desk right now?

SA:  I guess I’m boring, cause right now – the only “unusual” thing on my desk is Prilosec, a heartburn medication.  I imagine this is pretty common for game developers!  Oh, and my wife reminded me there’s two gift cards from winning a local trivia night…. and a Swiss Army Knife my cousin gave me as a present recently.

SM: I have a photo of Steve, myself and Gavin Greene (from Phoenix Online) we had taken at a party at GDC in San Francisco earlier this year. It honestly makes me laugh every time I look at it and reminds me of the brilliant time we’ve had making this game. I also have a jar of about 50 toy car wheels which I’ve confiscated from my two year old son who likes to bite the wheels of toy cars and chew on them. I plan on giving them back to him at his 21st.

Anything else you would like to add?

SA: The whole experience of making the kind of game we love – and finding that there’s still an audience that loves these games as much as we do – it’s a dream come true.  When I was 12, I had what I thought was a silly dream – to work at Sierra.  Today, I suppose, I’m living that dream in a way.  Not many people get to do that almost 24 years later.  So I’m grateful for all the opportunity that has been afforded Infamous Quests by its fans, supporters and backers.

SM: Be good to your mother.

We used the “Talk” icon on Steve and Shawn a few more times just to be sure, but they only repeated their lines, so we assume that we exhausted all the dialogue choices. We awarded Quest for Infamy 8/10 in our REVIEW, so if you are a fan of the genre be sure to sure to grab yourself a copy and support the talented folks from Infamous Quests.

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