On day two of PAX AUS, we got the chance to have a chat with Sam from Blowfish Studios, about the games they were showcasing at PAX Rising.
The Indie Game Company has a range of games from a variety of genres already under their belt. PAX Rising aims to showcase the small, local, Indie Developers of Australia and what they have to offer. This year, Blowfish Studios had 5 brand new titles in the works that will all be released in the near future. We took some time to chat to Sam over at their booth about what is to come.
GC: Hey everyone I’m here with Sam the producer and QA Manager at Blowfish Studios, hey Sam how are you?
Sam: Great, thank you.
GC: Thank you for joining us, so you’ve got five titles that you’re showcasing today. Do you want to start by telling us a little bit about Storm Boy the game?
Sam: Yeah definitely, so Storm Boy the game is based on Colin Thiele’s 1960s book, there has since been a movie adaption in the 80s and there’s another one coming in 2019. So we were approached by the book publisher to bring it to life in media format that wasn’t a movie. So we did a lot of paper prototyping and just prototyping different things, very ugly just blocks, squares, stuff that’s been thrown just to kind of get a feel for this is how the game would play and really just focusing on retelling the story.
GC: So you mentioned that originally it’s a book and that you did a lot of paper modelling could you tell us a little bit more about what it’s like some taking something that’s text-based and turning it into something visual?
Sam: Yeah it was pretty challenging because a lot of the previous games we’ve done there is more just we’ll set what should be happening and we’ll create a story there’s nothing hard and strict to adhere to. This was we had to tell a story we couldn’t diverge from it and even when we’re getting feedback, people say ‘oh it would be great if you could change the ending’ and we’re like we can’t really do that but we’re all trying to do the best we can. Even then we end up making something going along with it for a long time, wait this doesn’t feel right, this doesn’t feel like it’s going to tell the story in the best way, we just cut stuff and replace it into more of a cutscene rather than a game. Really it was just making sure the story got across more than anything.
GC: So speaking of paper and games, another title that you have is Qinoto which is about origami can you tell us a little bit about that?
Sam: Yeah so Qinoto is one game of had in development for a while, it’s actually made by one of our concept artists, she pitched it and we decided to publish it as well. She does all the artwork for it and it’s basically all about folding and manipulating the paper to create a new image. The way I kind of describe it is, the old mad magazines, the back page you always fold them to make it something new, it’s that in game format.
GC: And how does that work in game format?
Sam: It is interesting. It’s very fun and testing it is a lot of fun because you can make the paper do weird wonderful things. We actually have developers that sit there with bits of paper on their desk going ‘no the paper never really folds this way we can’t do that’ and so it’s quite literally paper prototyping. It’s just a lot of fun it’s the best way I could describe it.
GC: And speaking of fun, will playing Qinoto teach me how to make a decent paper plane?
Sam: It’ll tell you how not to make one so at least you know what not to do. I can’t promise we’ll give you the best back paper had plane maker skills.
GC: Well to quote Dr Phil ‘you can’t fall from the floor’ and that’s that’s pretty much where I am at with my paper planes! Okay so moving on, so another title that you have coming out is JackQuest: Tale of the Sword, can you tell us a little bit about this title?
Sam: Yes so JackQuest was a game that we got publishing from a single developer. It’s just a one-man team making and I believe he’s based out of South America. So he’s great, he’s super helpful and he’s working overnight when we’re asleep so we can’t always do new changes and stuff. The story itself is; you’re playing as Jack and his girlfriend Nara has been kidnapped by an evil demon. You need to find him and its Metroidvania sort of style game so there’s a lot of doubling back, getting your abilities, finding your hearts and stuff like that. It’s challenging, and in the office, we actually had to put god mode in just because we kept dying so if anyone likes a good challenge that would be the game I’d recommend today.
GC: I think I’ll pass on that one and speaking of moving on, the other title that you’re releasing is Subdivision Infinity DX, can you tell us about that?
Sam: Yep so Subdivision Infinity is a dogfighting sort of space game so you get control of a series of different ships. You start out with one, there’s about ten ships in there and a lot of different upgrades, weapons shields, stuff like that. Just playing through the missions and basically warding the evil threat in the universe.
GC: So I know this game has a lot of missions, some are crucial to the game some are secondary, do you have a particular favourite mission in this game?
Sam: Yeah there’s one which I believe it’s called Abandoned Survivors, where you’re searching different escape pods, it’s all super-chill, just trying to find people and then all of a sudden once you do find people, bad guys come just warp in – it’s really hectic but it sets the mood, totally different at the start so it’s just cruisy space in and in the thick of it.
GC: So that’s quite a diverse range of games, do you have one particular type of market that you want to appeal to or do you think gaming is for everyone?
Sam: I think gaming is definitely for everyone. With our games, we do try and target different games to different markets. So stuff likes Storm Boy, we’re targeting a more younger audience that had to read the book for school or older audience who had to read the book for school and like oh my god this is a game now. Subdivision Infinity and Jack Quest are a bit more serious, challenging sort of games. They do start out, well, Subdivision starts out easier, it does get more challenging. Just more targeting casual gamers, the type of people that enjoy all those sorts of genres, Metroidvania and Space themes.
GC: So what consoles will these games be available on?
Sam: So a lot of these are coming to all consoles. Qinoto at the moment we’re just on iOS and Android. Subdivision Infinity is going to come to.. we’re publishing it on PS4, Xbox and Switch. Storm Boy is coming to everything including iOS, Steam, Androids, all consoles. Jack Quest, we’re only doing the PS4, Xbox and Switch and I know I’m forgetting one it’s just been a long day.. Minesweeper Genius!
GC: We didn’t discuss that one! So, Minesweeper Genius, game not unlocked yet..
Sam: So Minesweeper Genius is just a take on Minesweeper.
GC: Oh! I remember Minesweeper!
Sam: I’ll preface this by saying I never played myself as a kid. So I love this game and everyone else is kind of just like ‘oh it’s just Minesweeper, like whatever’ but I love it. It’s more puzzle based and you’ve just got to work your way through a map. So you start on one square, you’ve got to work out where the mines are and just navigate around them to the endpoint. So you can set flags down to go where you don’t walk and stuff like that. It’s challenging, it starts out super easy, gets super hard.
GC: And lastly, if people wanted to purchase these games or stay up-to-date with Blowfish Studios how can they do that?
Sam: Yeah, so the best way to stay up to date with Blowfish Studios is our twitter account @BlowfishStudios. There we kind of publish any release dates we have coming out anytime soon. I can say now Storm Boy is coming out on November 20th, on all consoles, so that would be the one to play immediately. For the rest of them, you’re looking at next year at some point.
GC: All right Sam, thank you very much for your time.
Sam: Thank you.