Interview – PSN Game ‘Rainbow Moon’ (Sidequest Studios)

Rainbow Moon is an strategy rpg being developed by Sidequest Studios, the talented minds behind the Söldner X series. It is due for release this year and promises to be a great addition to the PlayStation Store. I was lucky enough to conduct this interview with Marcus Pukropski, the project manager and CEO at Sidequest Studios.

First of all, no one seems to have heard much about Rainbow Moon so
can you give us a quick overview?

Rainbow Moon is a classic strategy RPG with a strong emphasis on exploration, character development and turn-based battles. There will be six playable characters with upgradeable weapons, armor and accessories; about 100 special skills, 100 different enemies from 17 classes and more than 20 dungeons.

The game has turned out to be much larger than we originally estimated and we believe that content wise it will be one of the biggest PSN releases so far. Depending on your play style, just to play through the main story mode will take you around something in the region of 30-60 hours. In addition there’s plenty of optional stuff including side quests, end game content and so on that will easily extend your play time to 100+ hours.

The Soldner-X games were quite different from this. What made you change paths?

Although both games are quite different by nature, they still have a few similarities, such as being very classical genres in general. We came up with the idea of making an SRPG while we developed the first Soldner-X game. However since Soldner-X turned out to be quite successful, we delayed the idea and developed a sequel instead.

Generally speaking we’d like to diversify and don’t concentrate on a single genre or even a single IP for decades. We are glad to have this sort of freedom as a small and independent development team.

From the few screenshots we have seen, the game looks stunning. Can you
talk about the design choice and any significance this art style might

Thank you. In terms of character design we tried to combine likeable with slightly evil and suspicious looking elements. The original character and building designs were made by external studios and finally modeled and rendered by our own artist. All other graphics were completely designed in-house.

The overall world will have a colorful fantasy look with a lot of love for details.

Looks aren’t everything. What kind of gameplay can we expect?

This is tough to describe in one short answer. Gameplay wise there’s really a lot that you can expect from Rainbow Moon. First of all Rainbow Moon is one huge open world, so there’s a lot of exploration taking place in the game. In the beginning only a small area can be accessed but by progressing through the story, the world slowly but constantly opens up a bit more. Areas will become larger and eventually you will gain different means of transportation that allow you to roam around freely. In the end you can access each and every area and can always return to places that you have missed or visited before.

In addition there will be more than 20 different dungeons. Some of them are part of the main story, while others are completely optional. Some dungeons even involve a few simple puzzle and action elements.

Another important chunk of the game are the battles, which I am going to talk more about later on.

Finally there’s still the character development part. You will be able to acquire different weapons and equipment, learn new battle skills, improve existing gear through crafting, buy assorted items from a variety of merchants and raise your character attributes, such as HP, MP, strength, defense, speed and luck.

This is just a very short and brief summary, there’s a lot more. For those that are interested, we’d recommend to check out the game’s official website at and have a look at the system tab, which we are currently filling with detailed information about the game’s mechanisms.

How is the battle/fighting system going to work?

First of all let me tell you how battles are started. On the one hand there are enemies that you encounter during exploration. Some are blocking passages, while other are freely roaming around and can actually be evaded. Whenever you collide with such an enemy, a battle is started. On the other hand there are also optional random encounters, which are especially interesting for those that like to grind and farm. Random encounter messages are displayed during exploration and once confirmed a battle is started.

Battles are taking place on dedicated grid based battle maps and are 100% turn based. You will be able to chose from a set of commands, including moving, attacking, defending, casting a skill, using an item, changing your gear and a few others. Your obvious task is to defeat all enemies on the battle field. After a victorious fight you will earn XP and rainbow pearls. XP allows you to level up, while rainbow pearls can be spend at the savant to increase your character stats.

There are a lot of other details that I cannot all summarize. Once again if you’d like to know more, I can recommend you to have a look at our official website for more in-depth details.

What sets this apart from other Strategy RPG games?

Rainbow Moon probably isn’t the most typical kind of SRPG. We won’t have hugely long monologues and although there’s an emphasis on battles and character improvement, it’s not solely about this. Rainbow Moon has a huge open world for the player to explore, which makes it feel much more like a classical RPG, however with a few strategy elements in terms of the battle system and character development.

How do you plan to make the game stand out from all of the other
top-notch titles releasing this year?

There are top releases each and every year and we certainly don’t try to compete with AAA disc releases. With Rainbow Moon we are aiming to be one of the top PSN releases of the year and I am sure that we will be standing out content wise. Rainbow Moon isn’t just a game for a quick fix of action and fun, it has a lot more to offer and I am sure people won’t be disappointed.

Are there any specific titles that you drew inspiration from in the
tactics RPG genre either past or present?

We’ve played other SRPGs and drew inspiration from some of them but just like our Soldner-X series, we never intended to clone one series or another. Rainbow Moon will be a unique experience and we don’t expect anyone to say “oh that’s just like in game XXX”.

There are certain elements that you can find in all (S)RPGs and with Rainbow Moon we won’t reinvent the wheel but all in all this will be a very unique experience.

Given that this is downloadable game with platinum trophy support, how
long will the game take to finish.

Around 30-60 hours just for the main story. This can however be extended to around 100+ hours if you include all optional side quests, dungeons, end game content and full character raising.

You will probably obtain around 40% of all trophies through the main story but need to work a bit harder if you want to get all trophies, including the platinum one.

During this time anyone playing an RPG would expect to venture across
many different types of terrain. How diverse is the world of Rainbow

Very much. Whenever you set foot on a new area, the terrain changes and so does the background music. Some of the terrains include mountain regions, deserts, steppe, snow lands, the usual green terrains with grass and trees, water regions and a lot others. Each dungeon also is aimed to stand out on its own, so all in all this will be very diversified. The entire Rainbow Moon will feel like one big world with lots of different places.

There are 6 characters in the game. Will these have different gameplay

Oh yes absolutely, each character is completely different.

All characters have a different BIAS (being more physical, magical or something in between) and master a different weapon class. Hence their equipment and weapons are completely different and besides a few exceptions cannot be interchanged.

There are also completely different battle skills that each character can learn, among other things. Depending on the enemies you are facing, you will have advantages and disadvantages having certain characters in your party. However although it may become easier to defeat certain enemies with certain characters, it won’t become impossible with others. How to set up the party will be completely up the player.

Your journey starts with a single character and you will acquire new characters during the game. Once you have more than one character in your party, you can freely set the party’s leader and up to two companions.

Can you play as all characters in one play through or does the player
choose one for the whole game.

The leader is the character that you control and always see during exploration. Up to two companions will then join the leader during battles. Like I mentioned before, choosing party members wisely can have certain advantages, especially during tougher battles. But everything remains in hands of the player.

Is there any sort of multiplayer?

No, Rainbow Moon has been designed as a single player experience. There will however be online elements as players will be able to upload their game stats and share with other players via our website.

Can you describe some of the difficulties that have arisen during development?

I don’t think that there were any real difficulties, we have been pretty accustomed to the PS3 hardware already. The only big challenge probably only lies in project completion. There’s always lots of stuff you’d still like to improve and you are eager that the final product doesn’t have any bugs. At the moment we are right in this final stretch and everyone will be happy when the game is completed and available on the PS Store.

Any reason for the game being PSN exclusive?

Rainbow Moon is currently only in development for the PS3 but it’s not necessarily a PSN exclusive. We are still considering other platforms but for a small development team as we are it’s helpful to focus on a single platform at a time.

Do you see the PS Vita as a potential platform for you to develop on?

Yes, it’s a very interesting platform and you are likely to see something from us on the PS Vita sometime in the future. Unfortunately it’s still too early for an announcement though.

Should we expect a demo?

A Rainbow Moon demo is very likely but it won’t be available at the time of release.

If the game’s successful, can we expect any DLC down the road?

There are no DLC plans at the moment. It’s unlikely but we haven’t completely ruled it out yet if Rainbow Moon becomes a success.

When is the game coming out and around how much will it cost?

We are in the final development stretch at the moment. If everything goes according to plan, it will be released in Q2/2012. The price has still been undecided but it will be similar to other PSN titles and most likely not exceed £10.

For more on Rainbow Moon please visit their website and/or facebook page.

About Simon Thornton

Broadcast journalist and podcast host. Find out more about me (including contact details) by clicking this text.