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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.