Here Comes Niko is a light, breezy, and charming platforming and adventuring indie game currently in development. The studio behind this game is called Frog Vibes, which is made up of two team members. Stijn is the creator and music composer, and Lisa is the lead artist. Together they have come up with a bright and colorful world full of animal islanders that need your help to complete tasks. You can check out our previous article on Here Comes Niko here.
Frog Vibes was kind enough to take the time to speak with us and answer all of our questions (because we couldn’t wait to find out like everyone else)! We had to know more about what they are currently working on and the story behind Niko’s adorable design and how we can interact with this beautiful island full of talking animals. See below for our exclusive interview with some new and exclusive screenshots!
We’d like to thank Frog Vibes and let them know that we here at myPotatoGames are really excited about playing Here Comes Niko. The game that looks like we’d be taking a wonderful virtual vacation in the tropics.
Q&A with Frog Vibes – Creators of Here Comes Niko
[su_service title=”Can you tell us if there’s a story behind Here Comes Niko and a bit about the gameplay?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””]The main story behind Here Comes Niko is that Niko is a new resident in the area of the game and has started a new life and job there. Niko’s job is to make others feel happy or help them with their troubles in a way. Doing this job, you will hop around islands to find people in need and explore the surroundings of Niko’s new living environment.
As for the gameplay it is very active and is based on running, jumping, climbing and other ‘active’ movements. Our goal is to make this a calm and fun game so the way of moving through the environments is smooth and fun, without many frustrations. This makes Niko accessible to both very skilled platform-gamers (who can do speedruns and other cool things if they like) and beginners or casual gamers![/su_service]
[su_service title=”Are all the islanders talking animals? We saw the cat one in the fishing GIF on Twitter and found it very adorable. ” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””]All islanders are various animal, yes! The island that is featured on Twitter is called ‘Hairball City’ and has cat inhabitants. Other islands will have other species (some islands may have 1 species, others have different animals). Also note, all islands will have a handful of frogs on them too![/su_service]
[su_service title=”Speaking of fishing, what are some of the other activities you can do in this game?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””]Activities we have now are fishing, volleyball, collecting/finding objects, and we have some more planned but will have to be a bit more into development before sharing or being set on those.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Can we have regular conversations with all of these animals? Does Niko have a house and furnishings that we can interact with?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””]All NPCs will have at least one small convo/text that is only for them. More important NPCs will have even longer text and varying text for their dialog. Niko does own a house with furnishings but we probably won’t have changeable furniture due to the game’s primary focus being platforming.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”What was your inspiration for the art style and overall idea for the game?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””]The general thing is that Stijn and I both love Animal Crossing and Stijn is a fan of the Mario franchise (especially Mario Odyssey and other platformers). Where platformers often have frustrating parts or can be complicated, Animal Crossing lacks in active gameplay but has a super cozy and friendly feel. Niko hopefully fits in the gap between calming and active that doesn’t have the frustrations of being boring or too difficult.
Inspiration for the art style also comes from Animal Crossing and Mario but mostly from art movements that both Stijn and I adore. Also, cute influences from things we have seen on Twitter. As for the added 2D elements to a 3D world, we decided on that because 2D it reflects exactly what we want; 3D models can have some confusing angles, but the 2D does not![/su_service]
[su_service title=”We at myPotatoGames love Animal Crossing and Mario games as well! Will there be any other items to collect in-game other than the previously mentioned coins?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””]You can collect cassettes, which will have music of the game and allows you to change the music and the in-game sound systems. We also have 2 other collectibles: one which will have an impact on game progression and one that has an impact on the storyline. But I cannot give more information about those at this point in development![/su_service]
[su_service title=”That’s great! This next question is specifically for Stijn. We’ve listened to some of your pieces and they have a beautiful tropical feel. We’re you inspired by minimalist composers?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””]The soundtrack is mostly by recent post-modern music, as well as Latin American music with a ton of other genres. I can’t think of any minimalist composers who directly inspired the soundtrack, but it’s very possible some minimalist traces have crept their way in.[/su_service]
[su_service title=”Finally, do you have a release date in mind for Here Comes Niko? What will be the platforms for the game?” icon=”icon: star” icon_color=”#8300ff” size=”32″ class=””]As for a release date, we’re currently discussing things but we will release some information when we know more! As for platforms, we are planning PC and possibly the Switch if there is enough interest in our game.[/su_service]
Be sure to follow them on Twitter by clicking here and on Discord by clicking here! Stay tuned with us at here at myPotatoGames as we give you the scoop on family-friendly and wholesome games!
Elliot & Ko is a Paper Mario inspired game about cute animal friends exploring! This slice-of-life platforming game is about interacting with many areas each with their own lovable anthropomorphic animals to meet and puzzles to solve. The sole developer is Jacob, with the help of Angel who has done some wonderful concept art and designs for the characters and the architecture. The game is still in very early development but is planned for PC and mobile on both iOS and Android.
We here at myPotatoGames would like to thank Jacob for taking the time to answers our many questions about Elliot & Ko and we are very excited to share everything with you down below!
Meet the Elliot & Ko Team
Play as Elliot, accompanied by Ko, and meet new friends along your journey. Some characters are sassy, some are anxious, some neurotic, but all tend to be charming and friendly (in their own right), and always ready to chat. There’s a big focus on interactions and dialog so you’ll really enjoy talking to these quirky villagers.
Elliot: a sleepy sheep boy. They recently learned to count to 50, enjoys 12-hour naps, and is a little too hard on themselves.
Ko: a frosty deer that loves the cold (see t-shirt), relaxing, and eating food. He tends to be very quiet but certainly isn’t unfriendly!
Nettles: the cutest little bird witch around. She has too many plants, makes plans and immediately forgets about them, is a huge nerd, and wants you to like her boots and books.
Lily: a precious little frog that loves to skip around. More will be revealed about her at a later date.
Milk: loves Boba tea and growing her little garden. She grew up rather sheltered and became materialistic. However, she wants a chance to change and leave behind the boring daily grinds of the city.
Your Adventure Begins…
In the prologue, you are in an ‘origami ocean’ in a lovely papercraft boat sailing toward the main town to the east. During this time, you will be given small challenges and taught the basics of controls, mechanics, and turn-based battles. When you reach the dock, you’ll enter the hub world. This Victorian area is a sophisticated town in beautiful pastel colors where posh aristo-cats live. Jacob continues to narrate the intro: “Its residents all take to the two little explorers quite quickly, if not in kindness at least in attention. Various interactions with the townspeople will set off plots and (side)quests throughout the game, including setting the first chapter in motion with the sprawling, dark, industrialized metropolis hidden beneath, unseen and unheard, an unspoken secret. Surely it’s nothing sinister, but a sign that the perfection and high society whimsical life above is not without its costs.“
Four Areas, Four Very Different Environmental Designs
Among the other residents, in the pastel town you will meet Meringue; a lazy cat that picks fights with the sailor rabbit down by the harbor. You’ll also meet his sister Muffin who owns her own little bakery. They are both very sassy and very rich.
This industrialized metropolis has very glamorous and large skyscrapers, with a heavy cyberpunk theme. Elliot and Ko quickly discover that many of the little workers here seem overworked.
There are currently two other worlds with two more chapters that Jacob is working on: a train that will lead you through a western canyon and directly into space, and a little snow-covered village. This mysterious and naturalistic town houses spirits and hidden ruins. The people that you will meet here aren’t immediately willing or able to speak with you. Below you’ll see images of the area-in-progress with snowflakes, steps made of ice, and northern lights.
Battles, Quests, and Items
When you meet Lily, Nettles, and Milk, they will join you on your adventure and even in battle. You can choose your own party of three at all times. Each party member will have their own unique abilities. Re-enter past areas or keep checking out the hub world to discover new ways to use your partners’ abilities and gain access to new areas you weren’t able to reach before. Don’t forget to frequently speak to all of the NPCs for quests and other things to do, as well as shopping for supplies. These items include crafting materials and new abilities. You can also forage for items or receive them from enemy-drops.
Jacob emphasizes that the battles themselves will not be either repetitive nor a grind. You’ll be able to do microgames to pull off special moves and therefore should be plenty unique, fun, and engaging. Each battle may even have different conditions to fulfill. If enemy drops are wearing you down, the developer plans on creating cute little couriers that are more than willing to come and fetch any excess baggage you may want dropped off back in town. Jacob says he plans on having these couriers be adorable little puppies that come to you by parachute.
For More Information
To learn more about Elliot & Ko’s development and progress, you can follow along on Twitter here and the Discord channel here. We wish Jacob all the best and can’t wait for the finished product of this adorable game and sweet/charming art style.
Littlewood is a new village simulator game coming to early access next month on Steam. myPotatoGames was able to sit down with developer, Sean Young, and get some exclusive details about this highly anticipated game. As an extra bonus, below are some never before seen screen shots of the game! This is all quite exciting so let’s jump into it!
Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been developing games? What is your favorite game and why? (Anything else you’d like to share.)
“I’ve been developing games for 7 years, since my very first semester at UCF! I started making mobile games in my dorm room, but it wasn’t until I made my first PC game, Magicite, that I realized that being a game developer could be my lifelong career. Once Magicite’s Kickstarter was a success, I dropped out of college to fully commit myself to making games. I haven’t looked back since! My favorite game is Monster Hunter World. My friends and I would set up 4 TV’s and PS4s in my living room and we would just have a blast hunting monsters.”
Where did the inspiration for Littlewood come from?
“My friend convinced me to try Animal Crossing so I tried New Leaf on the 3DS. I quickly found that I was addicted! I was having a blast hanging out with my animal friends and… Doing odd chores around town. This really perplexed me, because how could players have fun picking weeds and doing things that we might find boring in real life? This had such a profound effect on my views of game design, that I had to try to make a game that could capture such a charming and relaxing world. That’s when Littlewood was born!”
What feature(s) are you most excited about in Littlewood?
“Interacting with the Townsfolk, for sure! Fulfilling their requests, discovering their personalities, and even doing some romance makes me feel like the world of Solemn is a real place. I look forward to seeing the players’ reaction to the Townsfolk, and which ones they find to be their favorites!”
Are you considering to add any sort of multiplayer mode to the game?
“There currently is no plan for multiplayer in Littlewood. If the game generates enough interest and there is a demand for something like that, then I will definitely consider adding it to this game or maybe even making a sequel. My primary goal with Littlewood is to deliver a solid single player experience in which the player can escape to their own little world.”
The background story so far for Littlewood is about a hero who has finished their journey and is now rebuilding the town. Is there more story about our adventurer? Or the town?
“There sure is! You can actually learn more about your past adventures and past relationships with certain Townsfolk as you progress in the game. I hope players will find this method of storytelling to be as exciting and interesting as I do! There’s something charming about being dropped into a world where everyone already loves you.”
There are so many villagers in this game and we have to ask, who is your favorite and why?
“It’s so hard to pick a favorite out of the current cast of Townsfolk. But if I had to go with one, I would pick Dalton. His high energy, silly jokes, and innocent stupidity has been so fun to write for. He is a primary way for the player to relive their past adventures because he was one of the Townsfolk who knew you best when you were on your journey to defeat the Dark Wizard.”
Will players have the option to get married to any townsfolk they like?
“Yes! As long as the player increases the Heart Level of a Townsfolk, they will be able to romance and get married to them. Actually, there is one Townsfolk that players cannot romance. Dudley already has a wife that he loves very much :)”
Will there be an option for custom content such as utilizing the Steam Workshop?
“This is another feature that I currently don’t have plans for, but if there is enough demand when Littlewood hits Steam, I will definitely consider it! If I could allow players to design their own Townsfolk or game content, that would be amazing to see.”
We are excited to see the announcement of Littlewood coming to Nintendo Switch. Are there any plans to make the game available on PS4 and Xbox as well?
“My primary goals are to bring Littlewood to Steam and then Nintendo Switch. Once both of those launches are complete, I intend to bring Littlewood to as many platforms as possible!”
With the Kickstarter finished, is there still a way to support the game before launch?
“Despite the many emails I get about people wanting to pledge or donate before launch, I am currently not accepting anymore donations outside of the original Kickstarter campaign. I appreciate the interest and the growing community so much, and launch day will come soon enough!”
“Thanks for your interest in my game and I hope that you will enjoy escaping to the world of Littlewood when it launches on both Steam and Nintendo Switch. Cheers!”
It was great to get some exclusive information regarding Littlewood and get to know the developer, Sean Young a little better. Littlewood will be out in early access on steam NEXT MONTH so there’s not much more of a wait! You can add it to your wishlist HERE and be ready for when it launches next month. Happy Gaming!
Platypus Studios, a newly-formed indie developer, is comprised of Jean Francois Poulin (lead programmer), Khris Finley (music and sound design), Joel Boucher (level design, programmer – during the competitions) and Paul Ungar (art and animation). The idea to officially become their own game studio came after they’ve competed in 2 game challenges and won awards. Rock Bottom, their latest game, is currently being expanded upon.
Northern Game Design Challenge
The group entered into the 2nd annual Sudbury Game Design Challenge, now known as the Northern Game Design Challenge, in 2017. The contestants of the challenge were given a theme and 48 hours to create a complete and playable game. They also had to have no more than 4 team members. They presented Frozen Dungeon Saga, an asymmetrical puzzle game. You play as 2 mages simultaneously, each with their own unique abilities. You need the abilities of both mages to escape the dungeon. This game, created by then Platypus Paradox, took home the first prize. The team decided to enter in the same challenge in their local hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, the following year.
The 2018 challenge was to create a 2D Platformer and Platypus Paradox (original name) won the “High Concept Art” award for their game Rock Bottom. We’ve all had difficult times in our lives that seem impossible to overcome. Rock Bottom starts you off in a pit where you have to climb up and go through the stages of grief. You have to collect letters and read through someone describing their emotions. Players will hopefully have a better understanding of how these struggles can take form.
My Potato Games decided to interview this up-and-coming indie developer and to further discuss their passion project, Rock Bottom. The focus now for them will be to create a longer, more fleshed-out game. They would also like to deliver an experience that will teach people about mental illnesses such as Depression.
Platypus Studios Q&A with Paul Ungar
Q: It sounds like the Northern Game Challenge would have been a grueling experience, how did you manage to stay sane during that ordeal?
A: I won’t lie it does help that I’m a new father to a rather rambunctious 3 year old, so I’m used to running on little to no sleep. However, my team (Jean Francois Poulin, Khris Finley, and Joel Boucher) developed a great schedule for keeping ourselves on track so we knew what milestones we had to hit at different points in the competition.
For example, once the theme for the competition was announced and kicked off at 5:00 pm, we gave ourselves 2 hours to lock in the direction we wanted to take and rough out the game we wanted to make. Then we set up and got to work. A few times each day we had a group meeting to make sure things were on track and we were all happy with what the others were doing. Feedback and criticism was encouraged. By 6 hours into the competition we were pretty well organized and had our game mapped out. We finished with only 30 minutes to spare. Also, there was unlimited coffee at the event. The coffee helped.
Q: After creating a short game about the stages of grief, what made you decide to expand that game to instead tackle mental illnesses?
A: While the character in the Northern Game Design version goes through the stages of grief it was always with the thought of someone coming to terms with their own mental illness, eventually reaching acceptance. Unfortunately when you’re writing the story after a day or so of little sleep it doesn’t come across so clearly. It was a really important issue for the team to do it justice. Therefore, we wanted to emphasize the mental illness aspect in the full release of the game. We’ve really been digging deep into the research and talking with others to make sure that we do it right.
Q: What are some of the differences we will be seeing in the bigger and better version of Rock Bottom?
A: The team has a lot more planned for the full release of Rock Bottom. While I still love the 48 hr version of the game, it is not without flaws. Lots of flaws. When we started making the new version of the game we had to toss out almost all of the code and assets and rebuild the game from the ground up.
The plan is to create a more engaging story with NPCs, focusing on exploration, puzzle solving and improving the platforming elements. We’re also working with mental health professionals locally in Sudbury to include education about it as well as tools for coping with depression and anxiety. We’ll also be changing the art design from pixel style to a much nicer animated style. Someone with much more artistic skill than is currently working on it.
Q: You all seem to be working so hard to get this game released, when can we expect the full version. Do you intend to make it available on Steam or consoles?
A: Platypus Studios will be looking at a full release of Rock Bottom on consoles and Steam (and any other platform that will have us) sometime in 2020.
Q: Can you tell us what other future projects you may have in mind for your studio?
A: We have a lot of ideas that we’ve been kicking around we would like to flesh out our first game jam entry, Frozen Dungeon Saga. We want to develop games that focus on storytelling, puzzles, and teaching players about a wide range of different topics. We’ll keep you updated when we have a more solid idea of what’s coming down the pipeline.
See the video in this article for a full playthrough of the original Rock Bottom by Joel Boucher. You can also go here to try it out for yourself! For more information you can also follow them on Twitter. Click here on our review of Celeste, a game that also deals with similar issues.
Given the excitement that we’ve seen over the currently-in-development title “Sunvale“, the myPotatoGames team has once again reached out to steal the priceless time of a developer, with the sole purpose of learning everything we can and sharing it with fans!
Martin Klocker, developer of Sunvale, has agreed to answer a few questions from the crew, and our followers, to aid in our grief of not having a thing as soon as we know about it (aka having to wait). While this game certainly appears to be worth waiting for, we couldn’t help but at least try to get a taste of what’s in store with this colorful title.
Q&A with Martin Klocker
Q: What would you say are some key features that help Sunvale stand out above other titles in the farming SIM genre?
A: Sunvale is all about freedom, I’ve always liked the sandbox aspect of games like Terraria, and hated some of the restrictions that have become the standard for games inspired by harvest moon; some of this restrictions would be days and seasons, I’ve never liked the fact that you have to stop doing what you are doing to go back home, sleep and go back to what you were doing, same with seasons, I’ve never liked the fact that you are sometimes obligated to do certain things on certain days (for example, you have to schedule your crops so that you won’t end up loosing them when the season changes).
I’m all for the “do what you want whenever you want” kind of game design; so everything in Sunvale is made from that mentality. Other big differences would be; there’s no combat in Sunvale, there is no marriage in Sunvale and there’s exploration in Sunvale (maps are procedurally generated with biomes).
Q: What sort of things can we expect when it comes to our characters relationship to the NPC’s in the game?
A: As I said in the previous question, there will be no marriage system in Sunvale, instead we have sort of a mix between the friendship system from Animal Crossing and a unique Reputation System. Basically you are “in charge” of your town, if the folks from your town are not happy their services/products will change.. if you build up a bad reputation (I won’t go into details but for example you can lower your reputation by selling rotten food or overcharging when you sell stuff) some NPCs will stop offering their services to you or will stop selling some products to you. I can’t confirm too much more about this side of the game yet, as some ideas are not final.
Q: What is your favorite part about creating such an enormously immersive game like Sunvale?
A: To me the best part of making a game is that it’s basically exactly what you want to play, everything I add to Sunvale is what I would like to see on a game, everything that I don’t add is what I don’t like in games, so in the end I not only feel accomplished for making something that others find cool, but I also get the game that I always wanted to play.
Q: Do you have any ideas as to an approximate release?
A: This is a hard one, right now the only thing I could say is 2020.
Q: Will there be co-op or online multiplayer available?
A: There won’t be multiplayer at first, but I would like to add co-op in some way (either the full game experience or some sort of “Come see my town” mode) in the future.
Q: We noticed that you mentioned having put another project on the backburner to focus your time on Sunvale, any chance we could get a hint as to what that might be like?
A: I’ve canceled 2 projects in the past, both of which were strategy games, I can only show you some pics of this online TCG I worked for a couple months. Just to clarify Sunvale is way past that phase, the game is in no risk of being canceled.
(Images from trading card game [TCG])
Another big thanks to Martin Klocker for taking the time with myPotatoGames!!!
To keep a close eye on this wonderful title, follow Sunvale on Discord, Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to become a supporter of Sunvale, they also have a Patreon.
Recently, the staff here at myPotatoGames took it upon ourselves to reach out to the developer of a game that we are quite excited about. Village Monsters is an extremely immersive, story story driven simulation game, wherein you befriend an entire town of whimsical monsters, all with unique characteristics and personal additions to the story. This title is sure to be an exciting newcomer to the world of sim-life gaming.
Seeing as how the release is set for Spring, we had some questions we hoped to have answered prior. The reason? Spoiling things only a little can be a lot of fun. So we racked our brains for some pertinent, hard-hitting questions, and we were not left wanting! We have the scoop for you, and are overly pleased to share our interactions.
Q&A with Josh Bossie – Developer of Village Monsters
Q:With so many monsters and a heavy focus on story, do you feel that the games plot will become confusing at any point during play.
A: Yeah, this is definitely a concern I’ve had. Ensuring the player doesn’t feel lost or confused has been a big focus of my design; Village Monsters is a big, open-ended game, so it’s important that the first few hours with the game are easily manageable.
You start off the game pretty restricted – you can only explore a bit outside of town and some features aren’t yet available. You don’t even get a house at first – instead you rent a room at the inn.
The idea is for players to spend their time getting to know the village and its inhabitants, experimenting with features, making money, pursuing hobbies, and so on. As they get comfortable the game starts opening up and they can try their hand at exploring and pursuing the story.
This in turn opens up more options in the village and the cycle starts all over again. This ensures that no single part of the game drags on too much or becomes overwhelming.
Q: What was the most difficult part about creating such a story-driven game.
A: Honestly? Keeping track of everything! As a solo developer I have total control over the story, which is awesome, but it also means I’m solely responsible for keeping the story in my head in sync with the script and what’s already in the game,
Many story elements emerge from conversations you have with villagers, so even small changes or additions can be pretty tricky to implement. Still, I enjoy the challenge, and I’ve created all sorts of tools and processes to deal with them as they come up.
Q: Aside from talking to mushrooms, what would be some other unique and fun aspects of the game we could expect.
A: Talking with mushrooms is undeniably fun, but I’m hoping players will enjoy talking with their neighbors even more.
I’ve spent considerable time creating a really interesting dialogue system. Each villager has their own personality, relationships, and secrets, and they sure have a whole lot to say. Villagers talk about themselves and their lives, the current weather, your progress in the game, rumors and gossip, and much more.
You could probably spend dozens of hours playing the game without seeing a single repeat conversation.
Beyond that I want to talk a bit about the premise of the game. Imagine booting up an old video game and discovering that the little world inside has changed dramatically. I think this is a unique setting to explore that really sets Village Monsters apart. Having monsters for neighbors is surprising enough, but there are way more mysterious things yet to discover.
Q: Having set a release date for Spring, is there anything that you feel might still prevent you from reaching that goal. Is there anything that you feel you may have been able to expand on with more time.
A: It’s important to me that the game is finished before I release it. I know this sounds ‘obvious’, but there’s been a big shift in the industry lately of developers releasing incomplete games and then finishing them later – sometimes much, much later.
There’s certainly some benefits to giving players early access to a game, but I think as developers we’ve gone a bit too far with it. Playing a game that’s completed and polished is very satisfying, and it makes future content feel like a bonus as opposed to something the game desperately needs.
It would be really embarrassing and disappointing to delay the game again, but I would rather deal with that then release something that’s incomplete or broken.
Q: After the completion and release of Village Monsters, do you have any plans on what you’ll work on next?
A: The current plan is to support Village Monsters with free updates for at least a year. Hopefully longer if it’s successful enough.
I certainly have no shortage of ideas for my next game, so it’s hard to pick just one! Right now I’m experimenting with the idea of a first person RPG that’s akin to The Elder Scrolls but without the combat. There’d be a stronger focus on exploration and interacting with various systems.
A lot depends on how Village Monsters is received. I guess we’ll see what the future holds this time next year.
Q: Do you have any plans on releasing this title for multiple platforms, such as the Nintendo Switch.
A: Yes, absolutely. At launch Village Monsters will be available on PC, Mac and Linux, and then sometime later it’ll be on the Nintendo Switch. I could definitely see it also coming to the PS4 and Xbox as well.
After seeing Stardew Valley release onto mobile it’s made me curious of Village Monsters could work there as well. It’s something I want to experiment with in the future.
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nimal Crossing fans have their eyes on Mineko’s Night Market for quite some time now. Only very little was known about the upcoming social simulation game – up until now! In a new interview with Brent, the creator behind the game, we were able to get some burning questions answered. Some may know him from his stunning work on Road Not Taken or the beloved MMO game called Glitch, that also had shared a lot of similarities with Animal Crossing. Now of to a new adventure, Brent was kind enough to spare some of his time to answer a few questions we had about Mineko’s Night Market.
As we started our interview, we were especially intrigued to know more about the main activities in the game. As the first gameplay trailer (watch below) had hinted at farming and mining. When we asked Brent about this, he stated “We will have things like fishing, mining, and gardening, but those are almost secondary, or complementary, to the nature of exploring the world“.
Exploring and adventuring the world, is something that other similar games have been lacking in, only providing a rather small world with little to no exploration elements. Fans of the Animal Crossing series have long asked for a bigger village allowing for more exploration. We can’t wait to uncover all the hidden secrets in Mineko’s Night Market.
Mineko goes mining for some Sparkly!
Furthermore we asked Brent what he thought about people comparing his work to Animal Crossing, his thoughts on this “It (Animal Crossing) was a huge inspiration for sure! I think we’d like to share that same general feeling of a happy world, community, and general pleasantness..“.
On the question whether or not he wanted to release the game on other platforms than just PC and Mac, Brent explained he is open to bringing the games to consoles and even expressed his excitement about a possible Nintendo Switch Port,”We would LOVE to get on the Switch” he says.
You can read the full interview with Brent on Mineko’s Night Market below.
Mineko’s Night Market
myPotatoGames: In the first trailer we could see some mining, fishing and what seems to be farming. What main activities can players look forward to in the Game? Brent: I can’t really say there are dominant activities that would occupy a player’s time more than others. We will have things like fishing, mining, and gardening, but those are almost secondary, or complementary, to the nature of exploring the world, forming relationships with townsfolk, and learning about the mysteries of the town. There will, however, be a unique event for every market of the year (16 in total) featuring activities like cat racing, sumo suit wrestling, and the karaoke contest, replayable on an annual cycle. I am hoping those would be the activities players look most forward to 🙂
myPotatoGames: We also couldn’t oversee what appears to be a crafting bench in the first trailer – will there be a crafting system? Brent: Yes, there will be a crafting system. The crafting shown in the trailer is a rudimentary version of what it will ultimately be like. We are not looking to focus a ton of the players’ time on grinding on the resource > craft > sell loop, so I think we have some leeway into making the experience less gruelling than the term “crafting” seems to infer nowadays. What we are aiming for would be more akin to “Wario Ware meets Cooking Mama” where the player faces a gauntlet of microgames in order to create items. We are not quite there yet, but getting there!
myPotatoGames: Players will be able to run a shop in the game. What can players sell? Can crafted items be sold? Will players be able to set prices? Change the look of the store? Brent: Yes! Mineko will be able to sell crafted goods at her night market booth. A big part of selling your own goods is bartering with customers. So you won’t be directly setting prices on items, but rather tailoring your sales approach on a per-customer basis. Getting to know the townsfolk, learning what they like to talk about and what they’re interested in and negotiating deals based on gathered knowledge will be a big part of the merchant simulation portion.
myPotatoGames: Is Mineko homeless or does she have a home? If so can a player customize it? Brent: Mineko lives with her father in town. We likely won’t focus a lot of development on home customization, although special rewards/trinkets/collectibles will have a space for displaying. Most custom arrangement in the home, if any, will be for functional purposes. Showing/hiding particular tool benches/storage containers, setting up items your pets may be able to use, etc.
myPotatoGames: It seems the town has a cat problem. Do the kittens serve a purpose besides being super adorable? Brent: Cats in town are not considered a problem, in fact, they’re worshipped. They also provide a valuable resource for crafting– hairballs!
myPotatoGames: Many people compare the game to Animal Crossing, do you feel that Minekos Night Market has a lot of similarities to AC? Brent: It was a huge inspiration for sure! I think we’d like to share that same general feeling of a happy world, community, and general pleasantness, but at the same time introduce more exploration and narrative to it.
myPotatoGames: Speaking about Animal Crossing, players love decorating, especially for seasons like Christmas. Will Mineko’s Night Market feature anything similar to that? i.e decorating the town, or a home ( if applicable ). Brent: We likely won’t have a ton of decorative options in the home, as mentioned earlier, but decorating your market stall is something we’d still like to explore in depth. Thinking of various ways players could upgrade or deck out their stall for various holidays at a cost with the benefit of attracting more prospective customers is interesting. As long as there is functionality or practicality to it, we’ll be open to exploring customization features.
myPotatoGames: How big is the world in the Game? Is there room for exploration? Brent: We haven’t sorted out exactly how big the world will be yet, but it will be quite large due to the number of different areas we will have, multiplied by the fact each area will have multiple scenes. The world will consist of multiple smaller towns, a more modern downtown area, countryside, a region with shrines/temples, beach/ocean, the multi-levelled Mt. Fugu, just to name a few. So yeah, the world is going to be a pretty decent size.
myPotatoGames: What would you say is the ultimate achievement in the game? Running a successful shop? Having a town full of cats? Brent: As tacky as it sounds, the ultimate goal for the player is what they make of it. There will, of course, be a few longer term meta goals for the player such as restoring the Night Market back to it’s glory days and discover the mystery behind Abe the Sun Cat, but the path you choose in achieving those goals are up to the player.
myPotatoGames: Do you consider integrating any sort of Multiplayer to Mineko’s Night Market? Perhaps a 2 player co-op? Brent: There are no plans for multiplayer. It may be too cumbersome to retroactively fit multiplayer into this game as-is, but would love to do a standalone multiplayer title using some of the same themes.
myPotatoGames: The Game is visually stunning. Did you develop the art style ? And what are your responsibilities on the project? Brent: Thank you! We are a two-person team. I (Brent) do the art, programming, and silly dialog, while Brandi handles bigger picture story writing, producing, and lead QA, and both of us share design discussions equally. Almost every part of the game’s design has both of our hands on it.
myPotatoGames: What Platforms do you plan to release the game on? The Nintendo Switch seems to be a good fit! Brent: As of now, just PC and Mac. We are definitely looking into a couple consoles in particular, but no confirmation yet! We would LOVE to get on the Switch. So if anyone from Nintendo is reading this, GET IN TOUCH.
myPotatoGames: Do you have an anticipated release window? Brent: We’re shooting for late 2018.
Big thanks go to Brent for providing all the information on Mineko’s Night Market. We will continue to deliver news about the upcoming game – so be sure to check back for more on Mineko’s Night Market!
We recently had a chance to sit down and speak with Rebecca one of the two creators behind Ooblets. Rebecca is handling the programming and art development on her own. Even though she is handling a 2 person full time job, she was kind enough to take some time and answer some questions, that fans of the game are burning to know.
When we asked about the possibility to play with friends, Rebecca stated that there are currently no plans to add a 2 player co-op mode to the game, however, she would love to add a multiplayer mode to a possible Ooblets sequel in the future. Furthermore, she also went into greater detail about the main activities in the game, and what she is most excited about “is the player’s house upgrades, decoration, and item placement“. Player housing is always an exciting addition to any game, being able to create your home, and have a place to return to at the end of the day is something many players enjoy.
Rebecca also defined the core gameplay of Ooblets a little more. As she explains “The main activities are farming, exploring, battling, running a shop, and customizing stuff like your character, your Ooblets, your house, your shop, etc.” We were especially excited to hear about the possibility to run your own shop in Ooblets, and we can’t wait to hear more details about the shopkeeping feature in the game.
She also pointed out that given this project is based on the power of two people it may be unrealistic to expect Sims-like customization levels in regards to housing. Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley and other similar games do offer housing customization to some extend as well. As Ooblets has so many different activities to offer, players will be busy enough exploring all the other options, without having to worry about the depth of building level in the game.
Ooblets is packed with tons of features, and a level of cuteness not seen before. You can read the full interview with the lead programmer and lead artist on Ooblets below.
myPotatoGames: Are you considering to add a Multiplayer mode to Ooblets? Rebecca: I think Ooblets co-op would be amazing, but with a two person team and the entirety of the game programming falling on my shoulders, it’s not feasible to include it and still get the game out in 2018. We’re hoping to maybe include multiplayer in a sequel if there’s enough interest.
myPotatoGames: Are there plans to have custom content? Rebecca: There are no plans for that but it’s not completely out of the question. We do run the risk of spreading the game too thin with too much customization.
myPotatoGames: Do you see Ooblets hitting more platforms than just PC and Xbox One? Perhaps the Switch? Rebecca: We don’t know what the future will hold!
myPotatoGames: Is “Badgetown” customizable in any way? Can you decorate it or place buildings? Rebecca: You’ll hopefully be able to rent at least one building in Badgetown, but I don’t know about placing buildings or decorating. We’ve had a lot of plans for more town customization but they’re honestly likely not going to make it in given all the other big systems we still have left to implement. That’s another of those things that if there’s enough interest after release, it might be good to include in a sequel.
myPotatoGames: Will Ooblets feature a social system similar to Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley where you can get married to an NPC? Rebecca: While we do get a lot of requests for this, we’re not currently planning it. There may be some sort of personal relationship mechanic for how friendly you are with various NPCs, but we’re probably going to avoid romantic relationships altogether.
myPotatoGames: Do you work alone on the game? Rebecca: The team is me and @perplamps who is the game designer, community manager, and general businessy person. I do the art and code. We’ve had a few small things done by freelancers and we’re hoping to get more freelanced work added as we go along. In terms of non-development help, we’re super thankful to all the support and encouragement we get from our publisher Double Fine, our Patreon backers, and all the people who enjoy (and especially those who share) our content on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
myPotatoGames: What is your favorite activity in Ooblets as of right now? Rebecca: The thing I’m currently most excited about is the player’s house upgrades, decoration, and item placement. I’m a little bit afraid that people are thinking Ooblets has Sims-level customization which it totally won’t have, but you will be able to buy and collect furniture and items to put around your house and farm.
myPotatoGames: What main activties can a player expect in the game? Rebecca: The main activities are farming, exploring, battling, running a shop, and customizing stuff like your character, your ooblets, your house, your shop, etc. Some of this stuff will obviously be a lot lighter than it’d be in a AAA game but we’re hoping that there will be dozens of hours worth of content and gameplay.
myPotatoGames: Are there seasons and/or weather in the game? Rebecca: There’s some weather (well, rain) already implemented, but we’re not currently planning on seasons. Instead, there will be different biomes and weather depending on the region you’re exploring. One region might be snow and ice based while another would be a desert, and the crops you can collect there might require special care to grow back on your farm (like special greenhouses, soil, and planters).
myPotatoGames: What inspired you to start this project? Rebecca: Our inspirations are pretty close to the surface!
Thank you so much Rebecca for answering our questions, and letting us be a part of the development progress of Ooblets. If you want to support the Ooblets team you can do so by joining the Patreon here. You can join Rebecca on Twitter here. Ooblets is currently set to release on PC and Xbox One. Check back for more information on Ooblets in the very near future. In the meantime you can enjoy the announcement trailer below.