Interviews & Opinion

Dracma Studios looks to reinvent the classics through Candle Knight

Dracma Studios looks to reinvent the classics through Candle Knight

The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of Pocket Gamer and PC Games Insider. It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-styled pitching competition for fame and those sweet, sweet promotional packages.

The event gives indies five minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers and industry pundits. The judges then pick three winners and everybody gets valuable feedback.

The indie view

The Big Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we bring it to events all across the world. To give you an idea of what the event is like, who attends the events and the games on show, we've sat down with a number of past Big Indie Pitch contestants to offer their views.

Today, we're speaking to Mario Vallarta from Dracma Studios, who submitted Candle Knight to The Digital Big Indie Pitch (PC+Console Edition) #16 and walked away as the runner-up.

The Big Indie Pitch goes Digital

Sophia Aubrey Drake: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is on the team, and what are their inspirations?

Mario Vallarta: We are a Mexican indie development studio based in Yucatán, México, we're a bunch of friends who decided to team up to make unique games. Our inspirations are varied, from a lot of different video games to books, films and anime, but the main inspirations for Candle Knight gameplay-wise are Symphony of the night, Castle of Illusion, A Link Between Worlds and Megaman Zero. And for the story and writing of the game, we took some inspiration from Edward Plunkett and Edgar Allan Poe.

The Dracma Studios team

Tell us about Candle Knight that you pitched at the competition.

It's a 2.5D Action Adventure game about a candle holder that comes to life in an abandoned castle shrouded in darkness, its main goal is to bring back the light to it, solving cryptic puzzles and fighting dangerous creatures with the power of the Candle Knight's flame.

What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Candle Knight that gamers may never have seen before.

The organic difficulty system (called Ignis System) adapts to each player's playstyle, the unique paintings that you can interact with to solve puzzles and travel faster through the castle and its unique visual art style.

Candle Knight is a 2.5D action-adventure game. What made you choose this genre, and what do you think you bring to it that may not have been seen before?

It's 2.5D because we thought we could use the perspective to surprise players with different camera angles that you might not see in other 2.5D titles. We have a very distinct art style, a memorable protagonist and unique boss designs meant to look both menacing and challenging.

How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Candle Knight for?

We want people to experience Candle Knight on PC and Consoles because we feel it plays great on both and also everyone at Dracma is either a PC player, Console player or both

Looking at the studio a little more now. How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer? 

Saying "really hard" would be an understatement! It hasn't been an easy task for us developing our first title, since it's hard to get a publisher when you're a new studio, luckily, the Dracma team is really motivated and dedicated to finishing the development of the game. 

Are there any tips and advice you would give to an independent developer out there who is just starting out?

Don't be afraid to share your progress or bounce off ideas with multiple people. We feel like sometimes we are so afraid of someone stealing our ideas when the reality is that good ideas are readily available everywhere, the execution of said ideas is the hardest part. And also, don't be afraid to ask devs from other studios how they got X or made Y happen, the gamedev community is very supportive and will share their experience with you if you just ask. 

Candle Knight

How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?

It was great seeing the reactions of all the judges that we got to talk to, they gave us amazing feedback and asked great questions about the pitch and the game. The organizers were amazing and the format is really dynamic.

What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?

It makes you think harder about how to present your game and make it shine in the shortest amount of time possible! We certainly gained some insight from the feedback that we got and we hope that it will help us pitch our future titles in the best way possible.

What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?

We hope players get to enjoy it when it launches, both Early Access for PC and the full release for PC and Consoles. As for future projects, some ideas are already roaming around the studio but we're mostly focused on finishing Candle Knight at the moment.

Want to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you, or even our new Digital pitches.

All our upcoming pitches including how to enter can be found over on our upcoming events page on

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Developer Evangelist & Big Indie Pitch Manager / Special Features Writer

Queen of all things Indie. Sophia is Steel Media’s Big Indie Pitch Manager and Developer Evangelist. She’s also a global speaker and lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she’s written a thesis on one and lived in the other.