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Straight from the Source: Joakim Sandberg (Iconoclasts)

Joakim Sandberg
Source Gaming

This is part of our BitSumit coverage! We still have a lot more interviews coming, so please subscribe to us on Twitter. You can see our previous interviews by checking out the BitSummit Category on this site!

I’m here with the developer of Iconoclasts, can you briefly introduce yourself?
I am Joakim Sandberg, also known as konjak, and I’ve been making Iconoclasts, an action sort of puzzle platformer with a story for about seven years.

Your game features beautiful sprite-art. How long did it take to finish the art set?
I established it in the beginning, and I kept to it. That’s probably why I can actually finish it. Otherwise, you can really obsess for a longer time than seven years.


So you’ve been working on this for seven years?


…how? (laughs)
So after awhile, you start to think, ‘I spent way too much time on this…I can’t give up now!’ So it keeps going until it’s finished.

Was there anything especially difficult to create as a sprite? Where did you put a lot of focus on?
I really love the animation, but I still want to add detailed characters, so after awhile, it gets more difficult to animate something the more detailed it is.So I guess animation while fun is very difficult.


There are more games now with a more engaging story like Undertale. Your game also features a big narrative. How do you write a story for a game?
I sort of had a plan…I wrote some notes and then I sort of made the game. I didn’t go with a script. I just went with my gut, and somehow it seemed to work out because people like it.


So it’s a little bit of free form?
Yeah, freeform with a bit of [direction] to keep it consistent.


It must’ve been very difficult to keep things consistent over such a long development time.
I had to go back a few times to change things, but I think I just knew what kind of vision I had and I’ve been able to just keep to it.


So there hasn’t been any [radical] changes or major things you went back on?
Just a couple at the beginning, but after awhile I just locked it in and it’s been fine.


What do you think in general about creating a story in games? Does every game need a story?
Absolutely not. This was just going to be my game where I attempt to tell a story, in a very traditional way. But in the future, I’m considering not having a story at all since it’s the gameplay that is the most important to me. So I don’t think a game needs a story whatsoever. A motivation is nice. Other than you don’t need to have one.


What kind of genre would you like to explore next?
I’d probably continue to explore action-focused but I’d like to do some sort of passion project that would be…I’m not sure if anyone would like it. I guess I could call it a visual novel, but it’d be more interactive than that.


What has been the most time-consuming part of development?
Scripting cutscenes and making boss animations. If you don’t do a story, you don’t have to script cutscenes. So that’s a plus.


How many people do you have on your team?
Only me.

Iconoclasts is coming out to the PS4, Vita, and PC. Is that correct?


Any plans for the Nintendo Switch?
I want to. But right now that’s what we have.


What does being “indie” mean to you?
All my own choices. I have a publisher now with DANGEN Entertainment, but they still let me do whatever I want and that’s important.


Where can people follow you? has all the links.