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.