Interview ✎

An Unepic Interview with Francisco Téllez de Meneses

Francisco Téllez de Meneses, known as @unepicfran across the web, spent two years working on Unepic before he first released it on Steam in 2011. Now, six years, five platforms, and two console generations later, he is putting it out on the Nintendo Switch. In conjunction with the Switch release of UnEpic, you can read my review here, I was able to ask Francisco a few questions about the journey Unepic has taken and what lies ahead.

Ryan: What were your primary inspirations for Unepic?

Fran: I got mainly inspired by a game called “The Maze of Galious”, a classical MSX game from Konami that became a total success in the 80′. So, that’s the reason of the “old school” look & feel of the game. As I’m a big fan of Blizzard, I also got inspiration from Diablo and World of Warcraft (for the inventory).

Ryan: How did you come up with the character of Daniel? Is he based off of someone you know? Do you have a personal connection with any of the characters?

Fran: The personality of Daniel and what he says are based on the friends I used to play RPG table top games with, when I was young and foolish. As a curiosity, I had a few criticisms from reviewers saying that I was an immature person for the dialogs I wrote, as if the character was myself! 😀

Ryan: Did you set out to parody fantasy and RPG tropes or did that come later?

Fran: In the first place, the character was an epic hero who had to rescue trapped gods, but when I showed the game to a friend he told me that the story was very similar to a Zelda game I didn’t play. So, I had to change the whole story. My wife came up with the idea of a guy from today that traveled back in time. I foresaw the possibilities of good humor, so I did it.

Ryan: Are you satisfied with where the characters and setting of Unepic ended up or do you think there are more stories to tell in that world?

Fran: I’m very happy with the whole story. It’s a begin-and-end one, so nothing remains opened. For a future “Unepic 2”, the story should be a new one.

Ryan: What is your favorite part of Unepic?

Fran: The part I enjoyed the most was when I wrote some dialogs between Daniel and Zera, and specially the dialogs of the meeting with Harnakon and the 3 finals of the game.

Ryan: How do you feel about the overall reception of the game since it was first launched?

Fran: The first reaction was far better above my expectations. Some years ago I worked on a Ubisoft title and we had pretty bad reviews, so what could I expect from a game whose graphics were far worse and done just by one person? It was a big surprise. One of the best moments in my life.

Ryan: Looking back, is there anything you’d change about Unepic?

Fran: Oh, I had a lot of trouble with the +12 and +18 versions of dialogs. They brought me a lot of headaches! So if I had to send me a message to the past, I’d say to create a better way to manage languages and dialogs. Concerning the game itself, I love as it is, so I shouldn’t change anything at all.

Ryan: What do you think makes the Switch a good place for Unepic?

Fran: People’s comments. I had very good reviews from Uenpic Vita and WiiU, so being Nintendo Switch a portable with bigger screen, it has to be even better!

Ryan: Was Unepic your first game? If not, talk about some of your earlier work(s).

Fran: Unepic was my first game as an independent developer. I’ve been working in the game industry since 1999 for PC, console and both mobile and smartphones. Before that, programing videogames was my favourite hobby since I was 12. So we can say I’ve been around for 30 years already.

Ryan: Are you currently working on any other projects at the moment? If so, when can we expect to hear more about them?

Fran: I’m now working on the porting of “Ghost 1.0” (my second game) to Switch and other consoles. We can expect them before Summer of 2018. Besides, I’m also working on a crowdfunding campaign of a new concept called the “Afraid Project”, where what players do in the game becomes reality. I’m expecting to release this campaign in January/February 2018.

I remember playing Super Mario Bros. and Metroid on the NES with my older brother, and never being able to land on the aircraft carrier in Top Gun. I faked being sick so I could stay home from school and play Quake II once, but now I request days off from work instead of lying. Age of Empires II is still the best RTS, Half-Life is still the best FPS, and I still think the end of Mass Effect 3 was great!