Interview with Celso Riva (Winter Wolves/Roommate)

Interview with Celso Riva Artwork

First off, tell me about yourself? And how you got into game designing?
My name is Celso Riva and I’m 45 years old indie developer from Italy. I got into game design/coding when I was about 16-17, then went to work for a small local gaming company (was around 1994-95). Then around 2003-04 I discovered shareware (a word no longer used) games.

What advice would you give to someone trying to do what you do? And has that advice changed over the years?
It’s really very very difficult right now, but the main advice is the same: start with a very small project and finish it first. You’ll thank me later!

What games do you remember most from your childhood, and do you feel they influence/influenced how you make games?
I played many games but in particular RPG and adventures. I remember Daggerfall, Darklands, the good old AD&D RPG by SSI. I also liked the old Sierra and Legend adventures.

While we are talking about other games, what other indie developers do you like, and can you recommend any games from them?
I know a lot of other indies but personally I like mostly games by Hanako (Long Live The Queen), Positech (Production Line), Puppygames (Revenge Of The Titans) and the list goes on!

How many games have you developed, and how long does it typically take from the idea to the final product?
I made around 40 games but including also some very minor ones which took very little to make. Usually for a visual novel/dating sim takes 3 months, for RPGs minimum 6-8 months (but more like 10-12 months)

Is the length of time different for a dating sim as opposed to something like ‘Universal Soccer Manager’?
Yes of course for visual novels as long as the writing and art production goes on, it’s much easier to test/debug/code for obvious reasons.

Speaking of dating sims, I’ve noticed you’ve been involved in a fair few of them, why is that and what is it about that style of games that appeals to you?
I’ve always been a fan of manga/anime, and I played a few dating sims myself when I was younger (they weren’t popular in the west). I like in general all story-based  games to be honest, I just happen to make a lot of VN/dating sims, but I wouldn’t mind trying an adventure game too.

Which of the games you’ve designed is your personal favourite, and is that reflected in the public reception of the game?
My favorite is the latest RPG I made, Cursed Lands, which was positively received by the public too. But really the latest game I work on could be my most favorite, like Planet Stronghold 2 on which I’m working right now, I’m very happy about how the gameplay turned on.

What was the hardest game to make, and why was it so difficult?
The hardest game to make was Amber’s Magic Shop because I never did a life simulation/crafting game and was a kind of lost. I am not happy about the final result and I’m not sure if I’ll do more like that in future.

Now tell me a little about Winter Wolves, i.e when was it established, who are the other members of the team if there are any, and what kind of games do you make?
Winter Wolves was established in 2003 but I released my first successful indie game only in 2004 with “Universal Boxing Manager”.

Now tell me a little about Tycoon Games?
Tycoon games doesn’t exist anymore.

I contacted you because I really enjoyed Roommates, for my readers who may or may not know about the game, can you give my a brief summary of the game? And Feel free to share some tips, tricks or secrets for the game?
I’m going to skip this question because the answer would be too long and I don’t have time to answer (would take 2-3 pages! lol).

Lastly can we expect anything coming out in the near future/what are you working on right now?
I’m working on a more cute dating sim “Corona Borealis”. 2 yuri dating sims: Volleyball Heaven and Summer In Trigue and a new sci-fi RPG, Planet Stronghold 2 which is the sequel of my first RPG I made back in 2011!


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