Today TechRaptor had the chance to talk with Daniel Hindes, the head of Sneaky Bastards, who are developing the new stealth-based platformer Wildfire.
TechRaptor: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your game Wildfire?
Daniel Hindes: I've always found stealth games and first-person immersive sims to be the most captivating and absorbing types of games that I've ever played. So I wanted to try and recreate that captivation but on a smaller scale, with simpler rules, and with more colour! Stealth games are often quite dark and dreary, which makes sense - you're hiding in the shadows. So Wildfire is a colourful, active stealth game that plays out in 2D, but still respects the design philosophies of the 3D stealth games it's inspired by - games like Thief, Deus Ex, and Far Cry 2.
TR: The goal in Wildfire is not combat, but combat avoidance. What made you come up with this technique for gameplay?
Daniel: I am so bored of games about killing everything; games where the player character is the most powerful person in the world and any engagement with an enemy is over in a few loud seconds. Stealth games naturally lend themselves to smarter, extended encounters, with player characters who are weaker in certain aspects but often have more information at their disposal. If you're weak, naturally you want to avoid combat. And the type of power Wildfire gives you - the ability to manipulate fire - can't be used to instantly burn enemies and remove them from play. You still need to use it smartly.
TR: You also chose to make your protagonist androgynous. What made you decide to go in this direction?
Daniel: Gender has no bearing on the story and I just wanted players to be able to interpret the protagonist however they preferred.
TR: You have stated that Wildfire will deliver 5-6 hours content for its $10. How important do you think game length is to the quality of a game?
Daniel: I think quality is far more important than length. I only spent 3 hours playing Journey, but it was one of the best interactive experiences I've ever had, and the kind of thing that I enjoyed so much that I don't feel any need to go back and play it again - in fact I think that would spoil my memory of that initial play. When people talk about game length as a measurement of quality, they're not really talking about length versus quality - they're talking about length versus price.
TR: You are using KickStarter to raise fund for your project. Do you think crowdfunding has changed the way people develop games?
Daniel: Yes, absolutely. I don't think it's a new golden era as everyone kind of giddily dreamed up when the first big games were being Kickstarted - we're just starting to see those ones being released now, with a few setbacks along the way. But I'm thrilled that it exists as another avenue people can choose to explore, regardless of the outcome.
TR: Have you been using the gaming community as feedback for you game? Has it ben useful?
Daniel: Yes, and it's been extremely useful. Before the Kickstarter, I would post very early alpha builds on Twitter, and I'd take builds to game testing events held here by the IGDA Sydney chapter. They find things I would never find myself, because I know how everything works and can never account for what a confused or unaware player might do.
TR: What made you decide that you wanted to develop an indie game rather than looking to be part of a larger project?
Daniel: I am a control freak and need to be on top of every single aspect of anything I'm doing.
TR: What advice would you give to those thinking about getting into indie development?
Daniel: Start making a little game, right now! I'm using GameMaker Studio and I highly recommend it for first-timers; it's inexpensive, can be as simple or complex as you need it to be, and is fantastic for building an idea into a prototype rapidly.
TechRaptor would like to thank Daniel for talking to us and wish him luck with his project.
What do you think of Wildfire?