Futuretro Studios: Eks-Game Designer Lionhead Studios dan Ilustrator Indonesia, Wujudkan Hungry Oni di Jepang!
Wawancara eksklusif Duniaku dengan Futuretro Studios, developer Hungry Oni yang didirikan oleh eks-Game Designer Lionhead Studios, Andrzej Zamoyski dengan ilustrator asal Indonesia, Ferdi Trihadi. Simak hasil wawancaranya di artikel ini!
Beberapa minggu lalu, iTunes kedatangan satu game casual baru yang berasal dari Futuretro Studios, Hungry Oni. Dalam artikel saya sebelumnya, saya sempat menuliskan sedikit review dari Hungry Oni dan juga memperkenalkan sedikit siapa orang-orang yang berada di balik studio yang berbasis di Kyoto, Jepang ini.
Nah, dalam kesempatan kali ini, saya mendapatkan kesempatan untuk mewawancarai kedua punggawa dari Futuretro Studios, Andrzej Zamoyski dan Ferdi Trihadi. Sebelum bertemu dan membentuk Futuretro Studios, Andrzej adalah mantan salah satu Game Designer dari Lionhead Studios, yang ikut serta dalam mengembangkan beberapa judul yang sudah akrab di telinga kita, seperti Fable 2, Fable 3 dan juga yang paling baru, Fable: The Journey yang dirilis pada Oktober 2012 silam. Sedangkan Ferdi sendiri adalah Desainer Grafis asal Indonesia, yang saat ini tengah menimba ilmu di Kyoto, Jepang.
Dalam kutipan wawancara dalam bahasa Inggris berikut ini, Andrzej dan Ferdi bercerita banyak mengenai bagaimana pertemuan mereka membentuk Futuretro, apa saja game favorit mereka, hingga pengalaman Andrzej selama menjadi salah satu punggawa Lionhead Studios selama delapan tahun. Bagaimana serunya wawancara kami? Yuk kita simak bersama!
Duniaku (D): Tell me, how can you meet each other and establish Futuretro Studios?
Ferdi (F): Okay, so we initially met in our Japanese Language School in Kyoto last year. We sometimes hang out together and not long after that we started to talk about our own interests and found out that we both love games. Andrzej shared his experience worked in Lionhead Games and I showed him my illustration as well and at that moment, knowing that he's adept in game development skills while I'm adept in the art and design industry, we both think that our abilities matched each other. And then on June 2012, when summer holiday started, we finally decided to sacrifice our holiday to just stay in our apartment and make a game, which later becomes Hungry Oni. :)
D: So, Hungry Oni is Your first Game?
F: Yes, we started June 2012, which means we developed Hungry Oni for about 6 months, and makes that our first baby. :)
D: Since when are you interested in game development?
F: To be honest, I never really expected myself to go deep into game development. I play loads of games since I was a kid, but I myself came from Graphic Design & Art background.
Andrzej (A): When I was a kid, about 7 years old (in 1989), my dad changed his career from being jeweler to a computer programmer. He brought a computer home, an 8086 which had a programming language called GW-BASIC loaded on it. I would sit on hit lap and program extremely simple games with him. When Doom was released on PC (in 1993) I fell in love with making levels for the game using shareware tools. This obsession would continue with all the id Software games up til Quake 3. By this time I knew that I had to make games for a living!
I actually went to university to study games design, however as it was a newly created course, the teachers had just been taken from other subjects and didnt really know anything about video games. I wrote a letter and sent it to every games company in the UK. I received a reply from Lionhead Studios who told me I could come and do a week of work experience. As a result I skipped my exams to take them up on their offer. I had a really great week testing the original Fable, after which I decided to quit university and find a job in the games industry as soon as possible. After a couple of months of sitting at home wondering if I had ruined my life, I got a call from Lionhead telling me I had impressed them during my work experience, and they offered me a job!
F: So after we decided to work together on Hungry Oni, thats my first time actually developing on an game, and I have to say it is one of the most interesting project in my life.
Before this I always draw illustration for the sake of art and self-expression. But turning it as a game, where you can interact with your own character and play with it, is really something on a different level!
D: About Hungry Oni's inspiration. Where does it come from?
A: So Ferdi's art have always been related to the concept of 'consumerism' and 'greed'. And he was planning to stick with that theme for the game. Regarding the Oni character, because both of us actually met in Japan we thought a character based on Japanese legend is a good idea.
And about the gameplay, we want the game to be simple, and we dont want it to be 'level' based (like angry birds, cut the rope, etc) so an endless runner game is more fitting for us. Because its just two of us and designing level could take so much time.
F: And during that time, Andrzej was new with the development software Corona, and one of his first skill was to use 'physics'. Which is why we stick with it and have the fruits dropping from the tree, using physics. Oh and for more of Ferdi's artwork : http://ferditrihadi.com/
A: There are 4 factors that shaped Hungry Oni, which is : Consumerism, Greed, Physics, and Japan.
Consumerism : which is related to our habit of playing games, watching movies, or do other 'consumptive' action. Explains why Hungry Oni is filled with references from different range of other games, movies, etc. These are the things that we 'consumed' and loves.
Greed : we want our character to be greedy, which explains why Oni is never satisfied, always keep eating.
Physics : Using our limited ability of Corona we want to make simple physics as core gameplay, explains why its about objects falling down.
Japan : We met in Japan, so we think it fits for us to choose a character from Japan, and we decided on Oni
D: What's your favourite game?
A: Super Mario Bros on the NES is the game which made the biggest impression on me as a kid. Even now when I look at it, I'm amazed at how perfect it is. There are no instructions, no tutorial, the first time you play it you run into a baddie and die, and learn you have to avoid baddies. You fall down a hole, and learn you have to avoid falling down holes. That's it, so simple, such a beautiful game design. You can put ANYONE in front of that game, a child, your grandma, and they will learn how to play it within minutes. For me as a game designer, that's a kind of magic.
I also have to mention Final Fantasy VII. It was the first JRPG I played and opened my eyes to the depth of storytelling and characterization games can offer. I love books and movies, but playing a game for 100+ hours and actually interactively experiencing the journey along with the characters gives the player a unique connection to that world. I shed a tear when Aeris died. My secret goal in Japanese is to play through that game in its native language.. maybe next year!
Finally I love the entire Zelda series. I've completed every game multiple times. In the games industry it is a games design bible, when we talk about games mechanics it is the shared language that anyone can understand and relate to.
Sorry for being so verbose but this is a subject I could talk about forever!!
F: I played LOADS of RPG games, my game collection is pretty much just filled with just RPGs, and my favourite is Shin Megami Tensei : Persona 3 (both the original and FES). I love games with deep stories and requires thought. and Persona 3 strikes me as just perfect in every way. Its visually pretty, interesting story, and the gameplay is so creative that I spent hundreds of hours indulging myself to complete the game, and it left such a deep impression for me even after I finished it.
The Megami Tensei series is my favourite game series because its always controversial and have this charm that is just different with most of the mainstream RPGs out there.
D: Why choose Futuretro as your studio's name?
F: Both of us love the charm of Retro games, and we want our games to have that retro-ic charm, retro games stays forever in gamer's hearts and ideally thats our aim as well.
We want to be the Retro of the Future. Hence, Futuretro
D: Before establish Futuretro with Ferdi, Andrzej is one of Lionhead Staff. What is your main role in Lionhead? Tell me a little bit about your experience in there!
A: I started at Lionhead as a games tester on Fable 1 and Black & White 2. I then moved into game design for a PC game called The Movies. After that Lionhead was acquired by Microsoft. The next project was an action game for XBox 360 which was sadly cancelled.
I worked as a level designer on Fable 2 and 3, then returned to game design for an ambitious Kinect game called Milo & Kate which was also ultimately cancelled (most gamers may not know it, but games get cancelled all the time, even if they have been in development for years!).
I became a senior game designer and worked on Fable: The Journey which was released last year, as well as a new, as yet unannounced title. I finally left Lionhead last March after nearly 8 years at the company!
D: Work in a big game studio like Lionhead absolutely give you a great experience. What experience do you bring from Lionhead and try to implement in Futuretro?
A: I guess no matter how complex a game you are aiming to create, it's all for nothing if the player doesn't understand how to play or get the most from the game. This is especially true for mobile games and even more so when they are free. You have to teach and hook the player within the first minute or the player has nothing to lose in just giving up and downloading something else. My goal is always to simplify, simplify, then simplify again!
D: After Hungry Oni, what's your future project? Is it still for mobile?
A: Here's my plan:
1) I would love to make another mobile game with Ferdi, this time benefitting from all we have learned during the process of making and releasing Hungry Oni. Even now I'm really excited about the idea, but have to stop myself getting carried away because I think there is still a lot more we can do with Hungry Oni!
2) Having worked for a big studio for a long time I would love to take the experience I've gained and do my own thing. Working in a small team, where everything you do you are doing for yourselves and for the love of the game is a huge motivator and definitely what I'd like to do in the future.
F: Yeah, its really easy to come up with ideas, but the harder part is to actually complete that idea. Currently there are still more things that we can do with Hungry Oni, and we would like continue and see how far we can go with this. I personally like the concept of a 'mascot' and currently we could say Oni is somewhat our Mascot. I want him to be more popular as a character and hopefully push him to even more variety of mediums.
D: In Indonesia, Game Developer is one of the profession that happening today. Do you have any advice, tips or trick for the reader who want to make a game or establish an independent game studio?
A: There are so many ways to get into making games today. Making levels, mods, programming - and tonnes of advice, tutorials and inspiration shared online with communities of like-minded people. My advice is to play with these free tools, just create stuff, enjoy it, and see what happens. When you have a body of work in a portfolio you are much more employable when you apply to a development studio. With tools like Unreal you can even become an expert at the tools you will use at that developer before you've ever worked in the industry!
With regards to starting your own studio, I think the best approach is to just start doing it for fun with the goal of just creating something for yourself and see where it takes you!
F: Tips from me, is probably to go out often, go to various places ,another countries, find random encounters, and if you meet a famous person, just suck to them and turn them into one of your friends. then you will automatically become famous as well hahahahahahahaha.
Anyways, I think one thing I would like to say is to always be honest with what you love doing and be creative. A game is also another way to express yourself, and if you are having fun making it and put a lot of happiness into it, the feeling will reach the person who play it. So whatever you do, remember to always have fun and do it 100% J
D: Thanks for the time. Good luck for Futuretro!
A&F: You’re welcome!
Jika kamu ingin mengenal lebih jauh Futuretro Studios dan mengikuti berita-berita terbaru mereka, kamu bisa mengunjungi website resmi atau Fanpage Facebook mereka.