Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)
Take to the skies! With the swift wings and keen senses of a falcon, can you save your city from the RatKing’s army of minions? As the hero Skystrike, you use your falcon powers to keep your city safe while maintaining your secret identity and evading government forces desperate to harness your powers for war. Skystrike: Wings of Justice is a 350,000 word interactive novel by E. Chris Ambrose. I sat down with the author to discuss the game and the challenges of writing hero stories. Skystrike: Wings of Justice releases this Thursday, November 10th.
I think this your first time writing interactive fiction, but you’re a pretty prolific novelist! Tell me about your other published work.
As E. C. Ambrose, I’m the author of a number of historical fantasy novels, like the Dark Apostle series about medieval surgery, beginning with ELISHA BARBER, and my 2022 release, DRAKEMASTER, an epic quest across medieval China to stop a clockwork doomsday device. I also write the Bone Guard archaeological thrillers (“if Indiana Jones had served in Special Forces”), starting with THE MONGOL’S COFFIN.
I’m notorious for not being very kind to my heroes. At one point during the final testing process my CoG editor noted that the game had too many deaths (an issue since averted, I promise!) and that was the most on-brand criticism I’ve ever received. Which is also why SKYSTRIKE has an acheivement for an interesting death…
And since much of that is in the genre of fantasy, what led you to write a powered-hero type game?
My brand is knowledge-inspired adventure fiction—so the adventure’s always been a big part of writing for me. I’m a fan of superheroes in general, and also a student of what makes someone in real life step up in a heroic way. This game gave me the chance to play with hero tropes while flying off in pursuit of justice!
I actually did a bunch of research while developing the concept, including reading up on gamer psychology, going to the comic store for some recent titles, and, of course, watching a lot of super hero movies.
What was the most surprising thing about writing a ChoiceScript game?
The emphasis on romance, even in a game that’s not fundamentally romantic. I enjoy building character relationships, but I hadn’t expected romance to be an added draw for this kind of game. I had to make sure you can get the jump on crime, and woo your love interest as well—Skystrike is one busy character!
Did you have a favorite NPC you enjoyed writing most?
Developing the antagonist was super fun, especially because I conceived of him as the inverse of one of my novel series protagonists. I also have a soft-spot for Officer Chau, your high school buddy who’s now serving on the local police force. Chau is a joker who’s not afraid to get emotional, so I enjoyed coming up with quips and moments for Chau and Skystrike, trying to capture that old-friends feel.
What are you working on next?
I’m drafting the fifth in my Bone Guard series, but my next published work will be a science fiction novel aimed at young adults or the young at heart—A WRECK OF DRAGONS could be described as “Pacific Rim” meets “How to Train Your Dragon.” Dragons, giant robots, teen protagonists—it’s a blast! And it comes out in February, 2023.