I would like to thank Ivo van Dijk for taking time away from his busy schedule for this interview. Ivo isn’t new when it comes to rock opera. As a long instated rock opera musician (15 years). He has made quite the name for himself, playing with the likes of the Symphonic Metal band Xystus, from 2000 to 2010, and touring with the likes of Epica. After their brake up he decided to pursue his dream of making games, and began toying with the idea of a rock opera game. Now his dream is coming to life with Karmaflow! So let’s begin.
1. What Sparked Such An Amazing Idea Of Creating The World’s First Rock-Opera Styled Video Game?
“The idea was born about a year ago. From 2000 until 2010 I played in the Symphonic Metal band Xystus, for which I also wrote the Rock Opera “Equilibrio” that was performed live in 2008. After the band fell apart (due to several annoying issues with labels and management etc.) I decided to pursue my dream of making music for video games.
I picked up a study in game-audio in 2010. The idea of making a new Rock Opera left me, and I started playing around with the idea what a Rock Opera video game would look like. I got to know a lot of guys who are into game development, and I pitched my early concept to them.
We started working on this concept, and it turned out that we all were thinking along the same lines of where we wanted this game to go. I feel very fortunate to get a team of 13 excellent game-designers excited about my idea!”
2. With Karmaflow, What Are Gamers Going To Find That Is Different And Unique?
” From an aesthetic point of view, it is unique that all of the dialogue in the game will be sung. We are in a very early stage of development at the moment, so we are still working on a lot of the mechanics, but we want the player to really influence the story and the music so that you will have a different experience with each playthrough you do. We want the player to feel involved with the story and choices he/she has to make in a way that requires to really look beyond what you are presented with… Sound vague yet? Besides a “different” kind of immersion, we are also aiming at a solid feeling gameplay experience. “
3. With Such Huge Names Taking Part In Karmaflow How Do You Plan To Integrate Them Into The Experience?
“All of the singers will lend their voices to in-game characters, each of which has it’s own story and point of view on what’s going in the world they inhabit. Some of them will be hostile, some friendly, but each with a well thought out backstory. This game will be heavily story driven, and in a way, all of these singers are already storytellers. A lot of the lyrics from the singers involved are based on mythology, fantasy, dark romantic stories etc. In my opinion a perfect match: Theatrical voices for a theatrical game.
We are taking the voice into consideration when designing the characters, something which has to be done to make it believable that these fantasy-esque creatures are actually bringing forth these (for some very) well known voices. This is a challenge but also very exciting to see come together! The “Flower Guardian” which can be seen was the first time we saw a character and one of the voices come together, and we were all very inspired by how that turned out! Off course the awesome design by our artists (Jordi, Gertjan and Sarah) and the animation (Tom) really brought this to life!”
4.How Did You Go About Getting In Touch With The Artists You Wanted For Your Vision With Karmaflow?
“We already had an idea of several types of voices we wanted, and after seeing some of the first designs and see in what direction we were heading with artstyle, I started approaching several people I knew.
I know some of the guys from Epica and Dragonforce, so that was pretty simple! I met Marc (Hudson of Dragonforce) for the first time when they were in Holland last December. Marc is a gamer himself and loved the idea. Things were arranged real fast. We have toured with Epica in the past, so it was very simple to get in touch with them, and actually Simone had already participated in my previous Rock Opera “Equilibrio”.
We have also played with Henning Basse and his former band Sons of Seasons, and was still in touch with him as well. A couple of years ago I met Elize of Amaranthe when she was on tour with Kamelot. We talked for a while, she is a very kind girl. I started following her band Amaranthe. She has a unique, more pop-oriented, kind of voice. I was always waiting for the right moment to get in touch with her to ask her to participate in a project.
Mariangela of Tristania was in touch with someone from the team via via… She let us know that she was interested in particpating and I think it took a day to get that going! I was still looking for a voice like that.
At first I didn’t want to involve screamers/grunters, but it kind of made sense that the bigger and more “evil” beings would be able to give quite the roar! I had to look beyond my own network for this. A couple of weeks ago I left a message on both the Facebook pages of Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) and Alissa (The Agonist). Both got back to me really fast and were really excited about the idea. Dani even offered to help me with some lyrics! All bands have been very supportive and have spread the word on their Facebook and Twitter about the project, which gave us an amazing following in a very short time.”
5. What Can We Expect In Terms Of Characters, Environments, and Platforming With Karmaflow?
“Five worlds, with each a set of characters in them. Each world will have its own story, and will have its own design. And no, we are not going the fire – ice – forest kind of worlds. Each world has to feel unique and have its own lore. Off course we will also reflect this in the music. The platforming portion will mainly consist of exploration and puzzling. The main character, The Karmakeeper, will have a set of abilities that will help you progress throughout the game.
We have been talking about combat and stealth as well, but those are just ideas for now. We will make all those kind of design decisions in the coming 3 months!”
6. Your Getting Close On Your Indiegogo Deadline, Tell Us About The Perks For Helping Your Dream Along With Karmaflow?
“The perks we offer are ranging form the basics (downloadable copy of the game and the soundtrack) to physical copies of the soundtrack, a set of special Tarot cards (with its own set of rules), t-shirt, in-game statues, a visit to the orchestral recordings and so on. Check it out on the Indiegogo page! We have passed 50% of our goal, and the game will be made regardless of whether we make our target. The more money we get in, the more extensive we can make the music and the cast, that is what we need the support from the crowd for. We have been getting great responses so far, and we would like to thank all the contributors, followers and media who have shown us their support!”
I would again like to thank Ivo van Dijk for his time, and I am sure I speak for all of us when I say we can’t wait to see your amazing new title Karmaflow in action.
Thank you for your time dear readers. Please tell us your thoughts on this new title in the comments and spread the word on Karmaflow by sharing this article.