Developer Interview: Insomnia
We managed to get an interview going with Studio MONO, the team behind the interesting looking Insomnia, which most of you guys have helped Kickstart. In our interview, the developers revealed some interesting information about their game, and what went into making it. The following interview was co-ordinated by me, Harris Iqbal, and the person answering our question is developer Anatoliy Guyduck.
Push-Start: To begin, I’d like you to introduce yourselves to our readers and perhaps explain in your words, what the game is about.
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: Hi! We are Studio MONO, an independent developer, and we working on a project called InSomnia. It’s an atmospheric, Fallout inspired RPG set in a dark retro-futuristic world – with the focus on complex storytelling and a realistic hardcore combat system.
Push-Start: We think your game has a very interesting moodboard, in the sense that you seem to be blending in aesthetics from different eras. You’ve got an Art Deco inspired world here, reminiscent of the 40-50’s but then you’ve got this really futuristic technology powering it all. It looks interesting. What were some of the references involved behind this design, such as movies, books or games? Also, how did you manage to form your team, and get the idea to do this?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: We were inspired by classic games like Fallout 1-2 and Planescape: Torment, however we always had a goal to develop our own unique style based on ideas of futurologists of 20s, incorporating art-deco and noire elements. Sure we were greatly inspired by movies as well: Metropolis, Blade Runner, Akira and many others.
Push-Start: What were the major challenges involved with designing your world?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: One of the most challenging tasks was to develop a system of locations within our space metropolis, which would work with our game’s camera system. As most of the story takes part inside the ship, we had to come up with ways to make the gameplay process comfortable and give opportunity for a player to enjoy the look of locations. We didn’t want any corners, door frames or columns to get in the way while you’re explore or toe to toe in a fight.
Push-Start: In your opinion, what is the main aspect of your game that sets you apart from other similar action RPG titles?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: I would say that RPG element of InSomnia is very strong, along with the story we are telling, we have branched dialogues with the ability to solve most of the conflicts in a peaceful way. And of course we are very proud of the concept and design of our game.
Push-Start: I like the blocky aspect of your space metropolis. It looks dark, and abandoned where you’d expect everyone to fend for themselves. Has it always looked like that, or were there different ideas for it during development?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: This is one of the concepts that didn’t change from the very start back when we just started the studio and had only 2-3 people working on the game. I’ve made a little mock-up of our “Ark”, and it’s still there on my table. We use it as a live demo for a global map during our discussions 🙂
Push-Start: You know, especially with RPGs, customization is a huge aspect of this genre. Some games let you change not only stats but appearances as well. To what extent is your character customizable?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: When the game starts you can pick your appearance: sex, haircut, face, tattoos, hair colour and biography (it adds some corrections to your characters attributes and sets some of the starting equipment you get; this biography will affect some of your dialogues and how people treat you). After that point, you will develop your character even further in a way you want. So you start as a blank sheet then form a distinctive personality, forged by scars of the decisions you take.
Push-Start: How much of the game will be voice acted?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: Currently we plan to voice only the monologues of the main NPCs and main hero’s comments (Typer commenting on things in Prologue is a good example) along with the comments of your possible companions. Full voice acting would be incredibly expensive 🙁
Push-Start: One aspect that caught my attention was one of your gifs on the kickstarter page. It has this brute kick down some stacked boxes which has another character taking cover behind it. I really like how he uses his weight to his advantage. Will we be seeing that much care and thought to the world around you? Are your animations mostly hand animated, or have you managed to use some mo-cap techniques?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: All these animations were hand made, and yes you will be able to perform stunts like this one you saw. Even more so while wearing the Tank Armor (that brutal looking armor from the GIF).
Push-Start: How much of a learning curve will you expect your game to have? Do you think it will only appeal to die hard RPG fans or also general action/rpg gamers?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: First of all we count on the RPG fans. But also perhaps lovers of the more action styled RPGs also will be interested.
Push-Start: I am personally a huge music fan, and so I have to ask what direction do you guys want to take with the music.
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: Mostly it’s ambient and dark ambient + drone with some stylized bits of music from 20-30s. This will echo across the abandoned sectors of the space metropolis you will explore. Sometimes you will be able to hear orchestral music and some eery pieces of piano music.
Push-Start: When can we expect to get this game in our hands? What are your thoughts on Steam’s early access program? Do you see yourself using something similar for this?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: We plan to release the game for early access when it’s at least 50% ready in terms of the main story content. We want this to happen by the end of 2016. Especially if everything goes according to our plans in terms of funding, etc.
Push-Start: If you had one existing game license to choose from, what project would you love your team to take on?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: Now this was an unexpected question. Let me think. Say…I would be really pleased to continue a game such as NoX. I liked it very much when it was out and patiently waited for a second installment but it never happened, unfortunately.
Push-Start: What genres would you love to tackle in the future?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: Oooh, I like so many games. I think I’d like to do an old school styled RPG though, but with some modern twists. Kind of like the Shadowrun universe. 🙂
Push-Start: What are some of the games that you are looking forward to this year and are currently playing?
I really want to play Dark Souls 3, but currently I’m very short on free time – InSomnia’s literally eating all of my time, both free and professionally. I’m also very excited about Tides of Numenera. I’m also a big admirer of Total War so it would be great to play Total War Warhammer at some point.
Push-Start: On an ending note, what advice would you like to give new and budding young indie teams? Furthermore, anything you’d like to share?
Anatoliy Guyduck [Studio Mono]: Nothing in specific, as all indie projects are very different in terms of their size and goals. I think that the only thing that should be common is believing in what you do and don’t give up, no matter what. Don’t be lazy when it comes to learning new things, read everything that is related to the topic you are interested in and talk to other devs. This helps avoiding mistakes and widens the horizon.
Another good piece of advice is to create a community based around your game. Communicate and more importantly, listen to them, fans are often incredibly inspiring and can really help you with development.
To finish off, we would like to thank the developers behind Insomnia for freeing some time for us, and hope that those who’ve backed the Kickstarter will be happy with the final game!