Don’t worry, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. This week we really do have 3 exciting years to look back on in our #15YearsOfKalypso review! Sit back and enjoy this journey through dark dungeons, deep water and beautiful memories.
Milestone 2011: Frogs, Dungeons and Christmas
We kick things off with a huge success from 2011, when the first part of the fan favourite Dungeons series was released. Realmforge Creative Director Christian Wolfertstetter shares studio traditions, fun facts and memories.
Dungeons was only meant to be a working title. It was the most generic thing we could think of and was definitely supposed to change later. However, when it became time to pick a real name, both ourselves and our colleagues at Kalypso had already become so accustomed to “Dungeons” that the title ended up sticking. The release of the gold master for Dungeons 1 was planned for Christmas…the final fix came on the 24th of December.
With the development and release of Dungeons 1, traditions that are now an integral part of the developer’s daily routine have crept in:
Every staff member had the dubious honour of testing a map from Dungeons 1 over and over and giving feedback. One of our graphic designers received the ‘frog map’ to test (100 frogs, bring X of them safely to the goal), which unfortunately stuck out due to its hard difficulty and caused at least one big frog aversion (this still serves as company in-joke today).
Fun Fact: Back when it was released, anyone who read the Dungeons 1 manual cover to cover and followed the instructions on the last page received a fun little reward in the mail.
Milestone 2010: Patrician IV on an actual boat
On we go to the year 2010 and another impressive release. In September, the trade simulation game Patrician IV was released. Creative Director Daniel Dumont looks back on a very special moment.
After the announcement of a new Patrician, there was naturally a lot going on in the community, so we thought that this should be fuelled by a big event. The press and many fans from the community were invited to Lübeck (Germany) where there is a historical replica of the cog “Lisa von Lübeck”, so we had the event take place on this ship. There were announcements, a first demonstration of the game, photos, interviews and conversations with the fans. In the evening, after a long day, we ended up in a real Lübeck beer cellar.
In the very first year, however, the numbering of the sequel caused confusion. There were only 2 parts to the Patrician series at that time: “Patrician” and “Patrician II” but shortly thereafter, there was also a big add-on to “Patrician II”. At this time, the distribution in Spain had also changed. The new distributor did not want to sell the add-on as just an add-on but aimed for a relaunch of the full title and add-on in one package. This version was called “Patrician III”, so we decided to call the third part of the series “Patrician IV”.
Milestone 2009: A new Start with Gaming Minds Studios
There are still a lot of great stories about Gaming Minds and we continue here. 2009 saw the founding year of the studio and Daniel Dumont tells us a little more about its genesis.
At the beginning of 2009, the Gaming Minds team was still employed by Ascaron. At that time, Ascaron was in a difficult financial situation and after Darkstar One and Sacred 2, the team wanted smaller and more manageable projects. So, the idea emerged to resurrect the old business simulations and develop them further. Just at this moment, Simon Hellwig from the still quite young publisher Kalypso Media contacted us. He said he’d always been a fan of our historical simulations and wanted to know if the team would like to create a small development studio to revive games like Patrician and Port Royale. We quickly came to an agreement and Gaming Minds Studios was able to begin operations a few months later.
And the rest is (business simulation) history…
Speaking of history, in case you missed out on any previous milestones, check out our ‘15 Years of Kalypso Media’ category here on the blog. We’re approaching the home stretch but still have a lot left in store! Keep an eye on our social media channels to ensure you don’t miss anything.