We use to try to give voice to the independent developers, and in this week dedicated almost entirely to them an interview can’t be missing. If you follow us you’ll know that we opened the week with a review of the interesting Vessel and now we have the pleasure to publish a fun chat with John Krajewski, cocreator and founder of Strange Loop Games besides Martin Farren, through which obtain responses about the development of the game and what means to be a independent.
The interview in English is below, and in Spanish it is in the previous page.
Videshock: I have been playing through Vessel, and it seems to «begin the action» very slowly. Why it is done this way instead of rapidly receive the water backpack?
John Krajewski: The original IGF prototype started the game with the backpack, but we removed that when we redesigned it for the final game. We wanted to focus the game on Fluros and creating liquid creatures, so we decided to introduce that mechanic first. Even still, we took our time introducing players to these mechanics, using the full first world before you get all your equipment. We felt it was really important to let the user get into this world naturally, without any tutorial text, let them explore and invent, while simultaneously getting wrapped up in the ambiance of it. The best way to do this was to introduce the concepts one at a time and let the user fully explore them.
Is not like having two games in one, one more focused in the puzles, another with this mix of action and skills?
Yes there is some of that, we tried to keep the platforming skills required to a minimum though, but we didnt want to remove action entirely and make it pure-puzzle, because the liquid is just so fun to physically interact with, and if we didnt have action sequences we would be leaving lots of interesting liquid interactions on the table.
The game has a big amount of text for reading. In these times when all is based in images and animation, is your way to say to the player «ok, take this seriously» or something like that?
The text is all optional, in the form of journals, and its primary purpose is to help reinforce who you are, what youre doing, why youre doing it, etc. There’s a lot going on beneath the surface of the game, as to what the Fluros represent and mean and what is happening to this world and how that relates to our own, and if that’s something the player wants to experience its there in the journals. If they’d rather just play, they can do that too.
The ending is a bit strange. Without giving spoilers to the people who haven’t played it, have you the intention of continuing the story from this point, or does it really ends here?
We would love to continue the game, and hopefully will. Both a sequel and a prequel are projects I want to do. We have to figure out the business side and what platforms before that happens though.
It seems the game will be released in other platforms like Xbla/Psn/Mobiles. For the first two… Have you the intention to negotiate with publishers, or are you trying to do it by yourself?
We have a deal with IndiePub to publish to console.
What’s next for Strange Loop Games?
We’re looking at ways to best get Vessel on as many platforms as make sense, and starting a couple new projects. We’re looking at other platforms, tablet and iOS and even Facebook. More to come soon!
And about Indie Development
Are you (as a company) independent game developers?
Who (organization, person, company) should be the responsible of saying what is independent and what is not?
It’s more of an attitude, I think. Independent means you are pushing the envelope in some way outside traditional game forms. There can be big or small companies that fit this.
And does it really matter?
It’s definitely a grey area for a lot of companies whether they are ‘indie’, but I think it shows more in the types of games they make rather than their size.
What does it mean in this moment «Indie Game Developer» and what should it mean?
I think it should mean someone who pushes what games are and can be. As to what it currently means, you will probably hear something different from everyone you ask.
Is it not better to focus in innovation, risk or imagination than in the publishing-founding part of the development?
You’ve got to balance it if you want to run a studio and actually make money. I think innovation can lead to great sales though, and its actually more risky to try to do some formula for a game because
the market is so crowded out there. You’ll have better luck breaking the mold.
Is there something you want to say to our readers?
No one has found the Easter Egg in Vessel yet. It’s somewhere in the workshop…