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!