FTL is one of the most unique games I've played in the last few years. Many gamers started following the game since its successful Kickstarter till now. Being a huge fan of the game myself, I contacted the FTL folks to ask them a few questions about the game and how things have gone since launching it. I want to thank Matthew Davis and the FTL team for taking time to talk to me and for also making such an awesome game.

Thanks to @scrypt & @CapnCurry for adding questions to the interview!

jdodson: FTL was successfully Kickstarted, has been reviewed very well by gamers and recently you guys won an award at GDC. How as all the attention been and what has been the one thing that surprised you about it all?

Matthew Davis: All of the attention has been surreal. We never expected that FTL would turn into the success that it has been. One small surprising thing happened after we won our IGF awards. I was carrying a trophy to get dinner at Chipotle and the cashier bought me a burrito as a congratulations. Indie development success has perks!

jdodson: In a world of soul destroying roguelikes, FTL dares to be fun. FTL is hard, but not impossible as it allows you some great runs and a bit more luck than I have experienced with other games. I wonder for you, what did you add to make FTL a bit more fun than soul crushing compared to the typical roguelikes?

Matthew Davis: I don't think we set out to specifically make FTL 'more fun' than typical roguelikes. I think that we probably set out to make it slightly more accessible (which isn't always a dirty word for hardcore games) by just having a functional graphical UI and an overall simpler game than most roguelikes. That probably made it easier for most people to give the game a shot and find the fun.

jdodson: I wonder what you would do in the following situation:

β€œYou find a number of ships fleeing from a small space station. You hail them, asking what's wrong: "Help! We're being overrun by some sort of giant alien spiders!”

  1. Land on the planet to investigate, spiders kill one crew member no matter what.

  2. Land on the planet to investigate, spiders kill everyone except Ripley, Hicks, Newt and Bishop β€œGAME OVER MAN, GAME OVER.”

  3. Remove spider code from game because the loss of life has been too great.

Matthew Davis: Haha. That event is no more dangerous than most! But I still never land on the planet, giant alien spiders are no joke.

CapnCurry: FTL is unapologetically difficult, and that was clearly a deliberate design decision - no saving games, no second chances, and a difficulty progression that's meant to restrict victory to the narrowest cases. It definitely works, and part of the game's fun is in knowing that there's no looking back and that today is probably not the day you save the Federation. In an era where even "limited continues" is often considered a rigorous difficulty feature, how and why did you decide on this level of challenge?

Matthew Davis: We grew up playing difficult PC games and just prefer the challenge. We never intended FTL to actually reach a large audience, so we were designing for the small group of players that like to be repeatedly beat down! With a game like FTL, the playthroughs are so short that you can get away with it being a lot harder. Permanent game over is more difficult to stomach after 20 hours, but if you've only put an hour into it you just hit reset and start again!

jdodson: Do you have any kind of statistics as to the amount of players that beat normal mode compared easy?

Matthew Davis: We don't have any statistics at all. And I wouldn't even be able to make a very educated guess on that... it seems like 50/50 people play normal vs. easy.

jdodson: What games are you playing right now?

Matthew Davis: Working my way through Bioshock Infinite on 1999 Mode. Also playing Tribes: Ascend, Starcraft II, and SimCity.

scrypt: As a Kickstarter backer, it was interesting to see how the game evolved from what you had at that point, and what FTL became. It seemed like the feedback you received from each build had a definite impact on what was released to the public. How was your experience with that, and the Kickstarter process in general, and is it something you would consider doing again?

Matthew Davis: The Kickstarter experience was rather terrifying. Having that many people watching you and depending on you to make a great product is a lot of stress. I'm glad you felt that the feedback was reflected in the game, we worked very hard to listen to everyone and try to make the best game we could. FTL is a much better game for the Kickstarter and we appreciate that immensely. That said, I think we would be hesitant to use it again. The stress levels were too high and we prefer to work quietly in a cave.

jdodson: I wonder what you would do in the following situation:

β€œYou have released FTL to critical acclaim and financial success. You won a few awards even, YAY! After you buy your second Ferrari and new winter home in Tuscani do you...”

  1. Work on a game DLC to extend the FTL experience.

  2. Work on your next game. You know, Minecraft with Dinosaurs but without all the building and stuff.

  3. Retire young and laugh at all the suckers that have β€œday jobs.”

  4. Take offer and work for EA to lead the team working on the next FIFA title. GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL!

Matthew Davis: Ideally #2. But we're still busy with potential tablet ports, patches, and some Kickstarter rewards to actually get going on it! We're happy with the final product of FTL and would get more excitement out of something new rather than expanding on the old.

jdodson: If at some point there is to be an FTL 2, I wonder what you would like to see in it?

Matthew Davis: There were a thousand things left on the cutting room floor that I would've loved to see, but FTL 2 would probably require a much bigger change rather than just some expanding content on the original. The most common requests are co-op and open world gameplay, which would definitely be two things we'd consider. But there are no plans for an FTL 2 any time soon.

jdodson: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions today, before we wrap things up is there anything you want to mention?

Matthew Davis: Thanks for taking the time to play and enjoy FTL!