“When people call Microsoft ‘evil’, it’s kind of an undeserved compliment. To be evil, you have to have vision, you have to have communication, execution…”
Rewind three years, to the Eurogamer Expo, London, October 2010. The staff of Rock, Paper, Shotgun are discussing which game from the Indie Arcade we would decree to be our game of the show. Messhof’s sadly still-private swordfighting micro-epic Nidhogg ultimately took home the trophy, but we were a hair’s breadth from giving it to Skulls of the Shogun. This colourful and witty turn-based strategy game starred undead Samurai, and deftly condensed and remixed what can be a hoary old genre into something fresh, fast and thoughtful. When I played the game then, it seemed slick and surely not far from completion. I anticipated being able to play it just a few months later. I anticipated it finding itself a great many fans on PC. For many and complicated reasons, I was wrong.
It’s now June 2013, six months after Skulls’ Microsoft-exclusive release on Windows 8, Microsoft Surface and XBLA, and I’m talking to Borut Pfeifer of Plush Apocalypse Productions and veteran of EA, SOE and more. He’s one of a small collective of indie studios who collaborated to make Skulls of the Shogun. He was wrong too.
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