Stormcloud Games is just one of the many indie developers that is in the middle of an explosion of game creation. In the last 3-5 years, creating games on a smaller scale has become more and more viable and as gamers, we’re reaping the benefits!
After I saw a tweet back in early March from Richard Wood, I thought I’d check out what he was posting. [email protected] (or Brutal) is a unique action and rogue-like game by Stormcloud Games. It just recently got a big green thumbs up from the Steam community and has made the next step of Steam Greenlight. For a closer look at the game check out the trailer below.
I chatted to Richard (Producer at Stormcloud Games) about the new [email protected] game and the gaming and indie scene altogether, he said fire away, and that’s exactly what I did!
– Tell me about yourself, how and when did you get into the game industry?
I’d always been into gaming and gaming culture but in truth, I never thought about the games industry being a career I could pursue. I was doing Business Studies and Marketing at University because I had no idea what I wanted to do, I figured everyone needs Marketing so I was going to be OK no matter what. I was working in a GAME store during University and bumped into a gent called Michael Barclay. Michael was possibly the most passionate person I’d met at that point, not just about games, but the process of making something. That personality and enthusiasm are so infectious and I realized there and then that I wanted to work on, or with something I loved, and games were that. Michael now works as the Lead Level Designer on Star Citizen, there was never any doubt he’d go far.
Fast forward a year and I graduated University and landed a job as a QA tester on the, somewhat of a failure, online shooter All Points Bulletin (APB). That job was incredible and despite how it turned out, I have no regrets about any of it.
I then went looking for experience and actually ended up working my way into a Senior Producer role at a mobile game studio, I was in charge of several games and had an awesome team, but creatively I was very bored and realized this was no use to me or the company, so I left after four years of working my way up the management chain. Quite a lot of people thought I was crazy, leaving stability and progression for who knows what, but I wanted to work on games I would play and was deeply passionate about, so it was an easy call.
Luckily I managed to convince Stormcloud they needed someone to come in and help with QA and just talk about [email protected] to people. My title is Producer, but in reality, that’s more a kindness to my previous grind, Frank, the Managing Director, or ‘[email protected] Boss’ as he likes to be called, does the real planning and I just chip in now and again with my thoughts, I try to keep myself more focussed on the release and promotion of the game. After four years of project management, resource meetings and office politics my new role is incredibly refreshing, I’m still learning as I go and have made a fair few mistakes, but overall I think I’m more up than down on the content I’m putting out there to promote [email protected]
– The indie scene has really expanded in the last several years, why do you think gamers are connecting with the newer or fresh look at games?
I think a lot of developers, or publishers perhaps, just got worried about making risky bets on niche projects or non-mainstream games. This allowed smaller teams with less hierarchy or structure to step in and fill that void. Look at Rocket League and Gone Home, two games that have done really well commercially and critically that you wouldn’t really see coming from a mainstream developer a few years ago.
That said things are changing slightly, EA and Ubisoft have been doing a lot of smaller projects, which is really interesting to see.
I think if I was to sum it up diversity is probably the reason gamers are connecting with these new indie titles. We all want experiences like Bloodborne, and we’re incredibly glad we get these, but we also want those other, perhaps smaller experience’s, and games like Rocket League, Gone Home and others fill that gap really nicely.
– Part of the indie surge for video games is the easy access to engines and development tools. What do you think are some of the advantages to having this tech readily available?
The biggest, and perhaps most important advantage is you can spend your time making a game and not an engine. A lot of hobbyists get into game development to make games, not spend a long time figuring out how they can make something that gives them the flexibility to make and port games to various platforms. That’s why tools like Gamer Maker or Unity are proving so popular with newer developers, and while you’ll continue to see them used by more and more independent studios.
My chat with Richard continues in Part 2 of our interview. We get into some more of the nitty-gritty of indie game creation, [email protected]’s features, and what players can expect going forward with the game. For a sneak-peek at the game, check out an awesome Let’s Play Stormcloud did this month: