Interview with The Game Bakers, The Creators Behind Furi

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Every year, indie developers come out of the woodwork to make these passion-filled projects that aim to give you something different and inviting, compared to the usual slog of shooters and other big triple-A franchises. Unfortunately, with how many indie developers there are, it can be tough to stand out. Personally, the indie scene has just as many problems as the big-budget scene where it seems like they follow the pack and make games based on what the most popular indie game around is. Luckily for me, I remembered a game that stood out to me because of the artstyle and the gameplay. This game was called Furi. Furi is an action game made by a developer called The Game Bakers. I got in contact with them and decided to talk to them about their upcoming project.

 

Cam’s Eye View: What would you say inspired you to make Furi?

 The Game Bakers: There are various inspirations in gaming for sure. Games like Super Punch Out, No More Heroes, Metal Gear Solid. With super cool boss fights and awesome characters. But I think the initial desire to make a game based on duels are movies like Old Boy (Park Chan Wook), The Duellists (Ridley Scott) or Duel (Steven Spielberg). Books like Montecristo with a great revenge story inspired as well, and Greek mythology of course. You’ll be able to understand why when you play the game ;-).

 

 Cam’s Eye View: Was Furi going to be a different kind of game before becoming this stylized action game?

 The Game Bakers: No, it’s always been clear how it would look, play, and feel. It was from the start designed to be very stylized, and very « Japanese » in its gameplay. Skill-based, responsive, fast-paced.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: For the combat, what games did you reference inspiration or design ideas from?

 The Game Bakers: Gameplay-wise, Furi combines long-range combat and short-range combat. The shooting part is inspired by bullet hell shoot’em up like Darius, Gradius, Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun. The swordfight and close combat part is more inspired by Super Punch Out, it’s a game of with a simple three steps pattern: get warned-react-punish. But the controls and the end result is obviously very different than Punch Out.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: What would you say makes Furi’s combat stand out?

 The Game Bakers: I don’t think I can compare Furi to any other game. It’s completely original in its final form. I think what really stands out is the fast-paced aspect of the combat. There was a time where it was more frequent, but games have become more and more realistic, and this realism has translated in slower animations and gameplay.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: Are we going to fight more than just bosses? What other kind of gameplay elements can we expect from Furi?

 The Game Bakers: There is a deep and meaningful story told, accompanied by great music, but in terms of challenge, it only comes from the bosses. They are very different from each other, and that makes for a great and renewed challenge.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: Personally, I am a gamer that likes narrative. I love characters that I can invest my time into and enjoy a good story. How much focus was put into the story?

 The Game Bakers: There’s actually a lot of focus on the story. It was one of the first things we defined about the game. It was going to be a game with boss fights only, but the combat had to be meaningful. Any character in the game should have a reason to fight.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: What can you tell us about the story and the world Furi is set in?

 The Game Bakers: As a gamer, I really like to dive in a game without knowing anything about its story. I like to know what kind of gameplay I’m going to play, but spoiling the story is really something that happens too often. Therefore, I don’t want to say much about it. I can say your character starts tied and tortured, and is going to be freed by a mysterious masked character. You will then have to fight guardians who prevent you from escape further. Why are you there in the first place? What’s their reason to risk their lives stopping you? That’s what the game is about.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: What are some inspirations for Furi’s world?

The Game Bakers: The world in Furi is really linked to the guardians’ backstory. I can’t tell much more, but the world itself is like a mirror of its characters.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: In my opinion, the tough part about making a lead protagonist in an action game is to balance out “character” and making the player feel like a powerful individual. What would you say went into making the main character so that the player can root for him, but still feel strong?

 The Game Bakers: The trick here is that the mysterious rabbit-masked character is also a very important. Is it a story about you or a story about him, you’ll never really know. That provides a nice balance.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: I love the artstyle, and I was surprised to see you got the same designer of Afro Samurai, Takashi Okazaki, to work on this game. How did that come into play?

 The Game Bakers: When we started the project, the game being a boss fight game only, we knew it would be key to have one of the best character-designers in the world on board. We thought Okazaki-san was one of them, and asked him if he was interested in the project. When he sent the first sketches I was overwhelmed! He brought a lot to the game with his designs, I was always changing the gameplay, getting new ideas after seeing some details he put in the characters.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: The indie scene is definitely a competitive, but creative scene in the gaming industry, but if there was one thing you could change about it, what would it be?

 The Game Bakers: In terms of pricing, I think the race to the bottom has a negative impact for everybody: the devs, the players. If games had higher prices, you would be paying more attention to what you play, you would be more careful to what you buy, more patient to give the game a try after you bought it. If I have a 300$ gaming budget yearly, I want to play six or seven memorable games. Not fifteen games with only one or two that I love. I think price is still a very efficient filter for quality. If it’s expensive and crap, people will let you know. If it’s cheap, the difference between good and great is harder to notice.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: If Furi does well, would you say the game opens itself up for a sequel? What would be next kind of game for you at The Game Bakers?

 The Game Bakers: If Furi does INCREDIBLE, and players send me flowers and love letters to get a sequel, I’d love to make that happen, but the game was designed to be a whole by itself. I could totally make a different game with the same kind of gameplay, like what Bloodborne is to Dark Souls, for instance.

 

 Cam’s Eye View: Are there any triple-A or indie games coming out in the future that you are looking forward to?

 The Game Bakers: THERE ARE! I terribly excited about Persona 5, Nier: Automata and the new Fire Emblem (that didn’t release in Europe yet). I’m pretty curious about what the guys from Supergiant games are going to do next. Transistor had so much soul.

Interview with the Allison Road Developer

P.T. was one of the biggest phenomenon’s of gaming horror ever since Amnesia: The Dark Descent was released back in 2010. It was creepy, beautifully put together, and was actually terrifying. Sadly, it was attached to Konami, so, of course, they had to get rid of one of the best things they have done in years. Unless you kept it on your PlayStation 4, there is no possible way to actually play the game. I mean, unless someone makes it illegally playable. However, a new horror game appeared on Kickstarter called Allison Road and had gotten a lot of positive press. I decided to get in contact with the developer and talk about the game and horror gaming in general. By the way, they recently canceled their Kickstarter, but are now signed up with a publisher and have the resources to make the full game.

Cam’s Eye View: First off, what made you want to make a horror game? Was it because of a certain game, like Amnesia, or was it something else entirely?

 

AR: It wasn’t any specific game, really. I just love horror. I saw my first horror movie at quite a young age and I was ‘hooked’ ever since, one could say.

It really fascinates me how you can have all these intense and frightening emotions in the safety of your own home.

 

Cam’s Eye View: Why a first-person perspective? Why not third-person?

 

AR: I think ‘being’ the character has quite a different impact as opposed to just watching the character. It feels very immediate and almost like you’re actually there.

 

Cam’s Eye View: What is the main goal in Allison Road? What is the player trying to accomplish?

AR: You are trying to find out where your family is and what happened to them!

 

Cam’s Eye View: Since horror is subjective, what are the elements that you think create great horror?

 

AR: I think there are a ton of things that can create great horror.

But what’s more important is how you build up to the great moment (whatever that moment may be). The anticipation, so to speak.

I think the more the player *thinks* something is going to happen, the more impact it’ll have when it finally does.

 

Cam’s Eye View: The only terrifying individual we have seen so far is that creepy dead girl. Will she be the only threat we see in the game, or will there be other things we should be looking out for?

AR: There will be other entities. In fact, we’ve just revealed another character, Hana!

 

Cam’s Eye View: It seems like a majority of horror games have the player avoiding/hiding from monsters. Why do you think this became such a popular mechanic that is seen in most horror games?

 

AR: Well, in a way it is the more realistic thing to do, really.

A lot of times when we talk about game specific things, we try to put ourselves in the shoes of a normal person, and we ask ourselves ‘what would you do if that happened to you?’

Pulling a big shotgun and shooting up the place never really came up as an answer.  Haha.

 

Cam’s Eye View: Since this game is a first-person horror game, and was brought out the same week as Soma, what will make Allison Road stand out from Daylight, Outlast, Alien Isolation, and so on?

 

AR: Allison Road is not about fast action or pure terror. It’s more slow burning horror with a heavy focus on narrative. I have to admit, I haven’t played Soma yet, but I heard great things about it. Really keen on checking it out!

 

Cam’s Eye View: Do you think that you can still have a scary game, even if you put it into another genre like an action game or an RPG?

 

AR: Not sure, haven’t tried yet ;)

Games like Resident Evil, which are heavy on action, can be quite scary for sure. It’s a different kind of horror, but scary all the same!

 

Cam’s Eye View: How important do you think story is in a horror game? Should the main story be amazing, or should it rely more on the lore of the world to captivate players?

AR: I think story is very important. And the environment and world has to go along with it.

I don’t think one can exist without the other. 

 

Cam’s Eye View: What do you personally think needs to change about horror gaming as of right now? Do we need to step away from the first-person horror and go more 2D? Change the style of horror that we keep getting?  Or change up overall mechanics seen in the horror gaming genre as of right now?

AR: That’s a funny question, given that AR is a first-person horror game, haha. Personally I would just really love to see more games with a great story that really draws you in, where you really care for the characters and want to find out what happened to them. 

In fact, I recently played Life is Strange, and while it’s not horror, I really enjoyed that game. The writing and characters are great! 

I think that’s the sort of thing that’s lacking a bit in horror.

Interview with Ackk Studios, the team behind YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG

Japanese-style RPGs and indie developers go together like peanut butter and jelly. It is quite common to see a handful of indie developers making RPGs inspired by the Super Nintendo and PlayStation greats. One of the more anticipated JRPG-inspired RPGs coming out is Ackk Studio’s Y2K: A Post-Modern RPG. I decided to get in contact with the developer to talk about their game and RPGs in general.

Cam’s Eye View: For the few that might not know about Y2K, could you give a quick description of what the game is?

Ackk: Y2K (YIIK) is a 3D indie Japanese style RPG in the vein of Earthbound, Persona, and Majora’s Mask.

Cam’s Eye View: What made you all want to tackle a RPG, and not only that, but a more Japanese-inspired RPG and in 3D? Was it at all daunting of a task? Either way, I like the look of the game!

Ackk: Probably some mild form of psychosis that has yet to be diagnosed!

Cam’s Eye View: Was Y2K originally going to be a sprite-based RPG? What was the decision to make it 3D?

Ackk: It wasn't, but there are a few 2d portions in the game where you'll see one character as a sprite. Mostly we wanted to make worlds that have multiple floors, and exploit our film making backgrounds for cinematic camera work.

Cam’s Eye View: What was the intention behind making the game inspired by the likes of Earthbound and Persona?

Ackk: There are very few RPGs coming out and that makes us sad... so it seemed like the only way to make the world a little less crummy was to make an RPG like you'd have found back on PS1 or N64.

Cam’s Eye View: In what ways are you improving upon the elements/design of the JRPG with Y2K?

Ackk: Our biggest goal was to find a way to make a game feel traditional (turn-based combat) but make battles fast enough and infrequent enough so that a modern audience would respond. To do this make made all enemies die permanently, and added a monster-hunting element to the game.

Cam’s Eye View: In terms of length, how long will gamers expect to be in Y2K’s funky world?

Ackk: 25ish hours.

Cam’s Eye View: RPGs usually have a fine line when tackling difficulty, with the game ending up either too easy, just right, or difficult to the point of being unplayable, how are you tackling difficulty in Y2K?

Ackk: Geeeze, we are fighting with this every day!! We are mostly basing our progression on Final Fantasy 9 which always had a nice flow to us.

Cam’s Eye View: Are any personal experiences and themes going into the overarching story of Y2K?

Ackk: Yes, that can't be avoided. Mostly stuff about financial difficulties of being a 20-something.

Cam’s Eye View: In terms of indie-made RPGs that are inspired by the likes of JRPGs, what would you say needs to change in the framework or in the long run of developers making these types of games? What would you like to see change?

Ackk: Biggest thing most indie RPGs struggle with is content. We can’t all be The Witcher or Final Fantasy X... so we need to redefine what an RPG story needs to be on a game-by-game basis.

Cam’s Eye View: What consoles can we expect to see Y2K on? Ack: Vita, PS4, Wii U, and Steam!

Cam’s Eye View: Any indie-made (Kickstarter funded or not) RPGs/games in general you are looking forward to?

Ackk: Boot Hill Heroes 2 and Undertale!

Interview with Pixel Ripped, the team behind the game, Pixel Ripped

With the upcoming releases of the Oculus Rift, Microsoft’s Hololens, and Sony’s Project Morpheus, the VR phase of gaming is about to happen, and even though I personally haven’t found a lot of the VR demos to be that impressive, it’s only because people aren’t doing a whole lot with the VR stuff that we haven’t seen before. You can count with multiple hands how many first-person horror games are out there and have VR support. Unless I haven’t seen these kinds of projects, I can count on one hand how many take the first-person games with VR support, and actually do something different. This is why I was glad to find out about this Kickstarter for a VR game called Pixel Ripped. The developers got in touch with me, and I thought that I would support this Kickstarter with an interview. The game’s funding goal is over $60K and it is currently at over $15K. If you like VR games and already have an Oculus Rift, or are planning to get one or the other VR headsets, you should back this game.

Cam’s Eye View: For the gamers that may have not heard about Pixel Ripped, how would you describe this game in a paragraph?

 

PR: A game about being a gamer, you will be travelling back in the 80s to play Nicola's favorite game Pixel Ripped, and for this you will have to deal with the challenges of episodes of her life.

 

Cam’s Eye View: I really love the set-up. What was the inspiration behind the nostalgic trip down memory lane being the main set-up of the game?

 

PR: It came from a dream I had, where I was playing a game on the TV, and this game changed and involved making the whole room change around me, together with the game graphics on the TV.  Then I started working with this idea, and put together a lot of life experience as a gamer to get to the gameplay we have today.

 

Cam’s Eye View: Was Pixel Ripped going to be a different kind of VR game before settling on the final product?

 

PR: It was going to be about you playing a game on TV, and this game changing and evolving as you get older.  But then I had a bug that changed everything. The character from the 2D arcade game appeared in the living room. That bug made me realize that having 2D characters in the 3D world was the way to go to have a unique VR experience.

 

Cam’s Eye View: I like that you are a female character in this game. Was this the original plan from square one, or was it a choice because of the current gaming politics? Either way, I love the main character.

 

PR: Thanks :) It wasn't on my first plans to be a female gamer, it was supposed to be a classic gamer stereotype character.  But then I was struggling with my friend writer to come across with a nice narrative, and then my head of the course asked me: "Why you don't change the main character to a woman, and then you will be able to add your personal life experience more easily to the game". And that worked pretty well, because after that, I could bring more personality to the game with my life experience, and it flowed really well.

The gaming politics never crossed my mind when I made that decision.

 

Cam’s Eye View: I really love the look of the game, and people that I have shown it to love it as well. What was the decision to make it a 3D VR game? Was there thought to make it like a sprite-based game, or were other art directions up for consideration?

 

PR: Thanks, I really appreciate that. It was since the beginning planned to be a VR game. After I had that dream, I knew it would feel really well with VR. The main goal of this game is to transport people back in time to experience the eras of Video Games. And VR is the perfect media for it. It is the only one that it gives you the ability to put the player inside a time machine, really inside the world you created. For feeling like they are really there, I needed the 3D world, but to feel like they are playing the game, I needed to build also the 2D world.

 

To have the feeling that the arcade game you are playing really exists in the 80s, I had help from a professional pixel artist, William, who does all the 2D sprites for us.  This helped a lot to make this game feel real, and I had even some people asking me if this is a game I just got the emulator and added it in the game. And no, Pixel Ripped arcade game was also created, and programmed from the ground to feel like it is a real game. It needed that touch.

 

So, I have to constantly work with this 2 game worlds, the Nicola's 3D reality and Dot's 2D reality(arcade game main character). It is so challenging, and sometimes give my brain headaches but I love it.

 

Cam’s Eye View: Since this is a VR game, how you are going to handle the problems with motion sickness?

 

PR: We had a lot of people saying that this was the first game they played on Oculus Rift that they didn't feel motion sickness.

 

I worked since the beginning to avoid motion sickness as much as I could during the development process.

 

I knew that the closer I could get the simulation with the conditions that the player would be playing the game in reality, the least likely it would be to feel motion sickness. So, I tried to have the virtual body (Nicola) always in a sitting down position with a joystick controller in the hands, which is the position that everyone that plays my game will be.

 

If your senses send the message to the brain that your body is sitting down, and in the virtual world your vision sends a different message that you are in movement, the brain gets confused with incompatible information, and this causes the break of the immersion in the simulation, causing the player to feel dizzy.

If things match in both worlds, then the player will more likely believe in that virtual environment.

 

Cam’s Eye View: Of course, you want to have the full experience by playing this game on a VR peripheral, but I take it that anyone can enjoy the game even without the headset?

 

PR: There is a non-VR version that will be available just for the Kickstarter backers. So everyone that pledges can enjoy the game, without being forced to buy a VR headset.

 

 

Cam’s Eye View: Besides PC, are there plans in the future to put it onto consoles with VR headsets, like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4? Or maybe try and make it work on the Wii U? Like use the Gamepad for the Game Girl or something?

 

PR: At the moment, there are plans to release the game for all the major platforms, like Gear VR, Oculus, Vive and Project Morpheus.

 

Cam’s Eye View: If there is one or more element(s) of the current virtual reality scene, what would you like to see change? For example, would you like to have more variety in terms of what kind of VR experiences are offered?

 

PR: At the moment, we are all learning the best ways to use Virtual Reality, and there are a lot of developers just trying to repeat the same recipe that they know it works for traditional gaming platforms, and when transporting to VR, they expect it to just work.

We all need to adapt ourselves for this new media.

 

Cam’s Eye View: Was there any concern about putting this on Kickstarter after some negative reactions towards certain Kickstarter or questionable elements of some of the big Kickstarter hits?

 

PR: There is always a risk on Kickstarter. We never know. We are having a lot of difficulties because our game is for VR, and there are no VR headsets out yet. So, that is our biggest disadvantage because people don't want to commit to buying a game if they don't even know if they will buy a VR headset.

(If you want to support this Kickstarter, go to this link!)

Introduction Post!

Welcome to the newest addition to the camseyeview.biz family, Cam’s Dev Talk. This is where I get in contact with developers to talk about their games. I began doing interviews last year with the team behind the popular Kickstarter-funded game, Jotun, and I found the idea of interviewing developers quite fun! Recently, I decided to make another blog to dedicate to these types of articles. I will make sure to put down a link to the individual interviews I have done in the past. If you would like to check out the rest of my site, go to camseyeview.biz. I write video game reviews, editorials, lists, and I talk about Kickstarter projects. Thank you for coming by to this page and I hope you enjoy it! List of Interviews from the past

  1. Jotun
  2. Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire
  3. FreezeME
  4. Action Henk!
  5. Deadwood: The Forgotten Curse
  6. Unraveled: Tale of the Shipbreaker’s Daughter
  7. Yooka-Laylee