Interview with Bygone Dreams' developer: Biggest indie title to date?

Published: 16:58, 11 May 2021
Prime Time Studios
Bygone Dreams cover art
Bygone Dreams

We had an opportunity to speak with Damir Halilovic - the Creative Director at Prime Time, the studio behind the upcoming indie title 'Bygone Dreams', an action-adventure game with RPG elements that caught our attention with its announcement trailer.

We wanted to know more about this interesting fantasy game, set in a dreamy world inspired by medieval Bosnian folklore, so we reached out to Damir, and he was kind enough to answer our questions. 

Q: Can you say something about your studio and the game itself, i.e. where did the idea for the development of this game come from, and why action-RPG?

A: Prime Time studios is a game and movie production company that's been around for almost two decades. It's the company behind Birds Like Us, Bosnia's first feature-length animated movie featuring the voices of Alicia Vikander, Jim Broadbent and Jeremy Irons; as well as Scream For Me Sarajevo, a documentary telling the story of Bruce Dickinson's concert in Sarajevo during the siege. 

Q: What can you tell us about the size of Bygone Dreams?

A: Bygone Dreams originally started as a small boss rush game with unique and quirky characters, but over time we started expanding until we ended up with a large world and 25+ hours of gameplay. 

When all is said and done, I am fairly certain that it's one of the biggest indie games ever made.

Prime Time Studios Bygone Dreams screenshot Bygone Dreams is an upcoming action-adventure indie game with RPG elements

Q: What can you tell us about the customization of the character and his equipment/skills?

A: While the main character is always the same, his armour and weapon loadout will be customizable. We like to consider the game an action-adventure with RPG elements rather than a full-fledged action RPG, but that being said the character does optionally level up, and most of the equipment can be upgraded by forging. 

We decided early on to focus on a smaller pool of weapons with unique traits rather than have 100+ weapons that essentially behave the same. Due to this, all our weapons have unique effects defining their play style. As an example, one of our weapons makes enemies drop mana-refilling globules making it a great choice for a battle-mage build where you'd use your spells indiscriminately,  then switch to melee to refill your mana. 

In addition to this, we have a system of curios which are special items that can be slotted into weapons and armour and alter the playstyle in unique and (usually) major ways.

Q: The description of the game states that Heroic difficulty offers Heroic-only bosses, does that mean we will be able to see brand new bosses at this difficulty level?

A: Heroic difficulty does indeed include brand new heroic-only bosses. However, the other bosses are all altered in some fashion, sometimes requiring completely different approaches to beat them. 

As an example, one early fights is against an alchemy-centred boss. In heroic mode, his arena fills up with chemicals forcing players to fight much more aggressively to beat him before they run out of space. His attacks were specifically made to cover large areas as well making the shrinking space an even bigger threat. 

We want the game to be accessible to everyone of course, and normal mode can be considered "story" mode for those who want to experience the world, the music, and the story. Heroic mode is our way of both giving players a challenge if they so desire as well as rewarding them for the effort.

Q: What can you tell us about the game's soundtrack and voice-acting?

A: The music was composed by several different composers. I don't know the actual number of musicians involved in the production, but I can tell you that they all did a phenomenal job. 

I'm a huge video game music fan, and I know many fans of the genre are as well. This is why I made sure that the music is beyond what would be expected of an indie game. We have over 50 tracks spanning almost 3 hours of music in the game, ranging from heavy metal to traditional Bosnian melodies. I am beyond excited to share the soundtrack with people in the coming months and I hope they enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it. 

We have 20 voiced characters in the game, voiced by both English-speaking and Bosnian actors since we decided that all spell chanting in the game would be spoken in Bosnian as it ended up sounding like a unique twist on elvish to people who don't understand the language.

Q: Can you tell us what engine are you using for developing this game, and when will we be able to play on consoles, both current and next-gen ones?

A: The game is being developed in Unreal Engine 4. Console release dates (as well as supported consoles) are not something I can comment on right now though. We'll share all the info we can, as soon as we are able to do so.

Prime Time Studios Bygone Dreams ingame screenshot showing a fantasy character holding a gun Bygone Dreams (PC screenshot)

Massive thank you to Damir Halilovic for taking the time to talk to us and making this interview possible.



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