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The Making of Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land (via Game Dev Story)

June 7, 2012

Over the last 18 months we’ve done lots of interviews and written lots of articles about the development of our game.  I wanted to compile a number of these links into a single place.  But also I’m a huge fan of the game, Game Dev Story, a game where you make games.  So using that game to generate a few screenshots, I present for your reading pleasure the result of my experiences making the game for real AND making the game in Game Dev Story(phew!);

The Making of Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land (via Game Dev Story)….

Founding Red Wasp Design

Part 1: The Founding of Red Wasp Design:

Please introduce yourself.

We’re Red Wasp Design. We’re a new games studio based in Bristol, UK (the home of Bansky graffiti, old school pirates and trip-hop.)

What made you want to be a game developer?

Playing games! We all grew up playing games and so the idea of making games came naturally. (Source: Playandroid)

Tell me a bit about Red Wasp. Maybe a bit of background about the company, what sort of games do you like, what are your goals, that sort of thing. 

We are an indie developer – we’re a small developer that does the sort of games we want to do.  There are three of us in the development team; myself Tomas, as designer, Michael who does the coding and Stu, our artist.  We also have Debbie, our office manager and a few other people who work with us on a more flexible basis for sound design, testing etc.  As with any group of people we’re fairly diverse in the sort of games we like which means we’re drawing from a wide range of sources. (source:

I’ve also written three articles about how to found a games studio from my own experience which you can find on Gamezebo and it is in 3 parts the creative side,the business bit & and the all-important marketing.

What Shall we make? Call of Cthulhu!

Part 2: What Shall we make?  Call of Cthulhu!

Its probably worth a quick detour for anyone who has not heard of Call of Cthulhu. The deliberately unpronounceable ‘Cthulhu’ is the titular being of a series of shorty stories and novellas written by an American horror writer of the 1920s called Howard Philip Lovecraft, the most famous of which is ‘The Call of Cthulhu‘. What lifted Lovecraft’s work above much of that written by his contemporaries was that he managed to tap into the very human desire we have to explore our own mortality. … I’d written a paper supplement for Chaosium, the publishers of Call of Cthulhu a couple of years ago called the Dark Mirror. While working on this I had talked to Chaosium about doing something in video games on a number of occasions but it never seemed to happen for one reason or another. Then, the stars aligned last year, and I found myself in a position to do a mobile adaptation of Call of Cthulhu. (Source:

Why did you decide to go for the Call of Cthulhu license and not just borrow Lovecraft’s ideas from the public domain?

I’m a huge fan of the RPG and always felt that over the years it had evolved into a solid game system that we could use in our game. Not only that, but it felt better to try and work with people who knew the area – Chaosium – and so we could also benefit from their input and experience. (Source:

In Progress! Making the Game

Part 3: In Progress! Making the Game

Early on in the development process we sat down to plan the graphics technology of the game, and the first issue we had to resolve was the question of if we were going to do the game 2D sprite based or 3D models, or possibly a hybrid of both. …

We also wanted the game to represent the people and monsters to a realistic size. This is to help give the monsters in the game a sense of menace, so when a Dark Young attacks your character, you feel the threat of its size, whereas if each unit was just an icon, this is lessened somewhat. We also wanted the landscape to be proportional to the size of the units, to build on this idea and to give the landscape a role in the strategy of the game.

These decisions are in contrast to a game like Advance Wars, where each graphical unit on the landscape represents a squad. Another example is the strategy RPG The War of Eustrath, where each graphical unit is only a single character, and in game they are represented by icons of the units mech-helmet. I’m a fan of both of these games, especially Advance Wars, but for our game we need to see the people to develop a rapport with them, and to watch them go insane and die… For this we needed 3D. (source, you can also find out about the game’s design & art plus the sound design too! Plus see Slide to Play for more.)

The Release of Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land

Part 4: Release the Hounds!

We’ve put our first game out, Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land. It’s done pretty well on iOS. It charted at number 1 in the Role Playing Game category in the AppStore and the reviews have been positive (“I was totally addicted to this game for weeks…”, “The best strategy game on the iPad yet.”, 5/5 from T3 Magazine for example). Also by the time you read this article the PC version will be out on Intel’s AppUp center. So far, so good. (Source:

What were the greatest successes of The Wasted Land?

I think the game balance went well. I was hoping that this would be a game that challenged and drew you in and I think we accomplished that. The marrying of the RPG and strategy elements I’m also happy with and I’m pleased with the work our artist, Stuart, did and the incredible 3D engine that our programmer, Michael, produced.

Any regrets? Any aspects of the game you’d like to change or update?

We have had bugs and being a small studio you can’t bring the amount of testing resources you’d like to have to this sort of project. The game ended up a much longer and more complex game that it was on paper originally and so bugs crept in. We are going to update the game soon to fix a few, but beyond that there are always bits you’d want to change. As a developer you’d tinker with a game forever given the chance. At some point you have to let it go! (Source:

And there you have it!

So why not join us in The Wasted Land?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Richard Graham permalink
    December 1, 2021 3:33 pm

    I am still a huge fan of this game and I still go through long periods of playing it every day (on a Kindle Fire) before allowing it to rest. Somehow it never gets old, it’s always challenging, absorbing, and deeply satisfying, as well as being lovely to look at and listen to, atmospheric, and beautifully balanced. Having said that, I wish there was a way of changing the difficulty up from Hard, or even making new custom levels. CoC: TWL is easily my favorite mobile game of all time: it’s nigh-on perfect. Thanks so much for making it.

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