In this round of interviews with indie developers, TechRaptor speaks with John Choi, one of the developers behind a new project to hit KickStarter called Little Devil Inside which is a new take on the RPG genre.
TechRaptor: Tell us a little about yourself and your game Little Devil Inside.
John: Neostream originated back in 1998 as a multimedia company producing various multimedia content for a vast array of clients worldwide but our passion has always been in games.
Although we have experimented with several game concepts in the past, it was always difficult to really focus and drive all our energy into game development whilst catering to daily business which in itself was no small task - at one stage running two studios in two different countries.
So in the end, our hearts got the better of us and so we decided to go all in resulting in what is becoming Little Devil Inside. Little Devil Inside is a survival action RPG set in an unrealistic world with realistic environments, interactions and emotions.
TR: What makes Little Devil Inside different from all the other indie games on the market at the moment?
John: Although we are a new face to the indie scene, we didn't want to limit ourselves with what we wanted to create - being, something unique. We believe that there are many great indie games out there that are also original and unique and each has its own strength and appeal that is hard to pinpoint.
To try and describe what we think makes the game different is perhaps give you an insight on what influenced the creation of the game.
As gamers ourselves, we have grown through with pretty much the entire video game era beginning from the early 8-bit days when there was little or nothing to go on except for a little cover art before making a purchase decision. The cover art often just had characters and the world at a glance, but somehow encouraged the gamer to picture the game in their imagination.
This nostalgic essence is what we wanted to create with Little Devil Inside by using what was just required of the technology available today hence our main design concept - minimalism.
TR: What games were your inspiration when you started making Little Devil Inside?
John: It's difficult to name a few since our inspiration for the game didn't arise after playing a short list of games. Directly or not, we believe other media such as film, print, art & design in general have all been inspirations.
There are however, games that have certainly influenced Little Devil Inside in terms of game design and mechanics such as Betrayal at Krondor, X-com series, Legend of Zelda, System Shock. Each of these games we felt had its own unique element of inspiration.
TR: How has crowdfunding effected the way you are developing Little Devil Inside?
John: One of the main reasons why we decided on crowdfunding was to gain an idea of how the gaming audience would react to what we are trying to create. It was this same reason why we made an early submission to Steam Greenlight.
The result? Although our Kickstarter campaign is still running, the game raised a lot of unexpected attention. Many have responded on the uniqueness of the visual style so this was reassuring. We are still in the learning process especially in the field of communicating with the community. We have learnt a lot so far and understand our audience much better. Although the funds raised through a successful campaign is important to us, we believe we have gained plenty already that will certainly urge us to continue and complete what we have started regardless of the result.
TR: One of the standout points of Little Devil Inside is the art style. What made you decide to go for something so unique? What are your thoughts on the pixelart style which so many indies go for these days?
John: As mentioned, our focus wasn't actually all on "uniqueness" but what we are trying to create as a whole - being the "nostalgic essence".
We believe pixelart is definitely a style that triggers the player's imagination and it's great to see Indie developers select this style. We do think though that an art style is just a style as opposed to a concept and hope a mega sandbox game in pixelart comes out sometime in the future - GTA in pixelart? that'll be interesting!
TR: Is Little Devil Inside more gameplay or story focused?
John: We would have to say more gameplay. There is a story but the story does not govern gameplay. The game is built with the purpose of giving the player a complete atmospheric experience. It's about survival, hardship, adventure and everything in between. If you're journeying in a desert, we want you to feel the heat and be aware of your water supply. Your character is not a superhero and will be vulnerable. The story however will certainly play a role in keeping you immersed in the game.
TR: What advice would you give to aspiring indie developers?
John: Actually not too sure. After all, this is only our first title and quite honestly, we are far from being qualified to give advice. We are still learning and have much to achieve. One thing we wouldn't mind sharing though is to say that in our case, aspiration didn't happen overnight and not just on an idea but through perseverance, experimentation and continuous thought. No shortcuts around it I'm afraid and it's hardly an advice but try and enjoy the whole thing!
TechRaptor would like to thank John for taking the time to talk to us. If you like the sound of Little Devil Inside you can support Neostream on Kickstarter.