Welcome to the first in a new series on getindiegaming.com where we take a few moments to interview an indie developer and ask a few questions about their forthcoming game and anything else that may take our fancy. We begin this new series with Esben Kjær Ravn, owner and founder of Kong Orange who heads the team creating the rather wonderful looking Felix the Reaper.
Felix the Reaper is a a romantic comedy puzzle adventure game where you play within a 3D environment with original mechanics. Felix can only move in shadows and he needs to manipulate the sun’s direction which enables him to create the necessary shadow paths to get around. With a beautiful musical score, together with in-game imagery created under the direction of professional dancers, Felix could be one of the best hidden secrets in the indie game world.
We went through a lot of wacko prototypes of all kinds, and ended up with something inspired somewhat by Hitman, the board game RoboRally and more casual puzzle games in general.
We’ve been lucky enough to have had an early look at Felix and we’re happy to report it’s shaping up to be something rather special. With that pre-amble complete, lets crack on with the interview:
Talk to us about your game and where the idea came from?
We came upon the dancing Death, which is an old European concept from around the 14th century, which has since “conquered” the World. It was totally irresistible and we had to make a game about it.
We went through a lot of wacko prototypes of all kinds, and ended up with something inspired somewhat by Hitman, the board game RoboRally and more casual puzzle games in general. The final game doesn’t have a lot to do with the inspirational sources though, as we kind of came up with our own shadow mechanic that powers the whole thing.
Artwise, we’ve been inspired by The Twilight Zone episode One For The Angels, Miyazaki and Adventure time. The most overshadowing thing is the art history of death in general, which is some of the most hilarious, colourful and inspiring mankind has created.
In your opinion, what are the main characteristics of a great indie game?
It needs to gain respect from the player and be great on its own terms. It should not try to be AAA in any ways, but it should be able to steal AAA audiences any day.
If indie is done right, it’s also for the mainstream but to be honest, I don’t know really.
So far, what has been the greatest challenge in making your game and how did you overcome it?
The f****g cutscenes.
They are some of the most fun parts of the game to experience (because who wants boring cut scenes) and and at the same time the most painful to produce, because they’ve kept bringing issues we have not been able to foresee.
What indie games do you take inspiration from and enjoy playing?
Recently I’ve been playing Firewatch, Figment, The Witness and INSIDE. I love calming gameplay, and each of these have some of this. That’s also what we try to do. I also play these games because after a day of work, small kids and a family life in general, I don’t need to get my pulse up at night at all.
Do you have any advice for newcomers / beginners looking to get into making indie games?
Start doing it with or without funding and start doing something you can finish and publish fast. We started with big projects and eventually realized we had to do a small game, and we did our debut game Heartbeats as a small side project.
It was immensely important to us to finally understand that. Since then, we’ve gone on to develop and launch some work for hire on the side too. All that said, we are of course tremendously happy that it finally looks like Felix is coming out in Q1 2019, and to finally release a big project (big for us) is going to be very important to our growth and development as a company, but also something for us to look back at.
When and on what platforms is your game launching on?
Felix The Reaper will be out in Q1 2019 on PS4, XboxONE, Switch, PC and Mac (and most likely mobile down the line.)
We hope you’ve enjoyed this, the first of our indie game developer interviews and please let us know in the comments if you would like to see more like this. With that, thanks for reading!