[This is part two of our interview with Dan Jeffery from Super Hatch Games regarding their new game Featherpunk Prime. If you missed yesterday's post, click here and read about the inspiration for the game.]
[On to the questions! Yesterday, Dan eluded to further development on the game.]
You mentioned having ideas for future updates. Are there any that you can talk about or is it too early in development?
The very next update is going to be a bit of a small one. I'm in the process of adding a timer for each of the sectors, which add up to an overall game time. I'm hoping it might appeal to the speed running crowd. With the next update I've got an idea for a new feature which could add a new dimension to the gameplay. Though, it will be optional for players if they like the current formula. It's one of those that people say, "why has no one used this mechanic in another game before".
[Featherpunk Prime being an indie title was also a labor of love, so it is always interesting to know what had to be cut and what the developers had to concentrate on.]
Similarly, was there anything cut out of FPP due to time or budget constraints? What would a hypothetical sequel to FPP look like?
We did have plans to flesh out the story more, involving more animated cutscenes. Stephen had a lot on his plate already though, as the one and only artist. We wanted to keep to our schedule, so we focused on polish and gameplay related features elsewhere. There were originally plans for more enemies and more bosses too, though we focused on fewer but deeper boss fights.
With a sequel I would want to expand the arsenal and the variety of weapons. I'd also want to concentrate on adding more variety to the levels and add some more bespoke elements to them. I'm still keen to explore the 'mash-up' of twin-stick shooter and platformer, so if I get chance I would like to add areas & levels that lean more on the twin-stick shooter side, with more enemies on screen at once, moving faster.
[I also always want to know what someone would develop with no restrictions or constraints (particularly financial). I was pleasantly surprised that Dan mentioned the co-op feature of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory that I think has been forgotten over the years.]
If you were able to work on one dream game project, what kind of game would you create? Is there a game genre or style that you've always wanted to do?
I've always been keen on creating co-op games, ones where it's crucial that players work extremely closely with each other to succeed. If you remember Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, that had a co-op feature, I'd like to explore that more with other genres. I've got a few ideas and prototypes based around that. I guess I enjoy games the most when I'm playing with other people, contributing to the team and sharing the events and victories.
On a completely different tangent, I'm a massive fan of Journey, and have recently read the Video Games are Boring article (http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2016-11-07-video-games-are-boring) that's been going around. I like the potential for different tones and meanings games could have. As I said previously though, my head is mostly in the 16-bit era, with a lot of the mechanics and themes that go along with it. Perhaps someday I'll figure out a way to bridge that gap.
To be honest though I'm very much a pragmatist so I find it difficult to think on dream projects, always thinking inside my current restrictions, which can be a good thing. Perhaps a future collaboration with different thinking games developers might bring me around.
[I like asking this question because it reminds me that this hobby is world-wide, and I sometimes forget how integral the UK has been to videogame development.]
I am always interested in the gaming experience in other countries. What it is like in the UK and particularly your area? What differentiates it from other parts of the world?
I lived in London for quite some years and went to a few indie dev meetups. We met some cool devs and even knew some there who also used to work at Sony. We had a lot of great feedback when we asked for it. They are well attended and well organised. As you can imagine, being the capital there's a lot going on; I've been to quite a lot of events big and small. We attended EGX Rezzed in Eurogamer which was excellent and a cool venue at the Tobacco Docks. The other major cities have events too, quite a few through the year. I attended EGX in Birmingham a few months ago which gets loads of enthusiastic visitors.
Since moving to Manchester, there's been game jams and all sorts of events and talks, but I've mostly lived in my developer cave while developing FPP, I think it's time to get out and say hello!
To be honest I'm not sure what differentiates it from other parts of the world. I know the UK has got a rich heritage, particularly for the early days of gaming and game development, it's always been a bit of a hotbed. Manchester has a really creative, free thinking side, so that has an effect the types of games that are made here. Hopefully I'll continue to add to that in the future!
[That is all the questions I had for Dan from Super Hatch Games. It was a pleasure exchange emails and we will definitely check in with him as further development on Featherpunk Prime continues.
Also, one day I'd love to go to EGX Rezzed. What a great time that would be.]