We recently reviewed the Indie Action-Puzzle Platformer Forward to the Sky and had a chance to email and talk with the head of Animu Games, Wei Chen, who led the development on the project. Wei's main language isn't English so I provided some editing here on what he said to help him out, which kept it shorter than most of our interviews.
TR: Can you tell us about yourself and your team?Wei: Hello, I am Wei, the founder of AnimuGame. I live in Taiwan, our culture is similar to Japan and it's easy for us to get the latest anime/manga/game things, so I have been a fan of Anime for a long time. I have been trying to make something anime related for a while. I tried to make game by myself, and eventually, I was lucky enough to find a few friends who like to work together. We all like anime things, we wanted to make something, and we started working on it.
TR: What inspired you to make Forward to the Sky?Wei: We just wanted to do it. Watching anime and playing games are enjoyable, but sometime you want to make something on your own. Regarding inspiration, there's no particular one and it's hard to tell which idea was inspired from which game. During the development when we were running out of ideas, we did search for some famous titles like Zelda, Zwei, YS, and any other platformer-like games we could find. In a nutshell, all these kind of games have more or less similar elements. It's just the matter how you put them together, how they are organized. We put a lot of effort into giving these elements a new perspective, and hopefully the players have fun playing it.
TR: What was the most challenging part of the game to create?Wei: The hardest part is level design. It's very hard to put together different elements into one level in a right way. We didn't want it to be too hard; our goal is to make a game you have to think to solve, rather than blocking you in a level. Not too easy, not too hard, and must be fun. This makes balancing the difficulty of the puzzles very difficult and we hope we are doing it right.
TR: A lot of platformers aim for a focus on difficult gameplay and such, but with Forward to the Sky you took a more relaxed approach. What led to that decision?Wei: Not sure what leads to this. We just want everyone be able to enjoy and finish the game, have a fun experience. The art is peaceful, the music is nice and easy, the story is cute and not too deep ... so I think this is the way this game should be. A relaxing, and peaceful action puzzle game.
TR: Anything Else to Add?Wei: I'd like to talk about our next step. We've already got ideas in mind and are going to start a prototype soon after a short break. It depend on how Forward to the Sky does, all the income will be the budget for the next game. Playing games with friends is fun, so multiplayer game would be an option. We also enjoy story and character combating in anime, so a story driven action game would be another one. Either one, we are looking forward to make something fun in the next project. We hope you will like it. :)
Thanks to Wei for sitting down and talking with us. You can find Forward to the Sky which recently released on Steam and Humble Bundle for $7.99!