The Fall â Developer Interview
In case youâre interested in who will we be talking to, itâs John Warner from Over The Moon Games â the man behind the upcoming adventure/shooter/platformer hybrid, The Fall. In case you donât know anything about the game yet, drop by to read my first impressions here. John and I spoke about the development and the creative process at work behind the scenes, as well as about some of his future plans for the game.
Youâve been working on The Fall for a while now. Initially, it was featuredÂ on Kickstarter. So how was it in the beginning, regarding the development process?
The development process on The Fall has always been quite smooth, actually. It started out of a desireÂ to be creative, with no real goal for monetization. In fact, the game started out with a single character model, that I made because I had some spare time and felt creative. After making it, I comped it into a simple painted scene, and inspiration just kinda grew from there. Itâs been a very pleasant development process, and I plan to continue with a similar process, if The Fall is successful.
What inspired you the most to create the universe of The Fall? I take it youâre a sci-fi fan, yes? So did you gather inspiration from multiple sources, slowly forming what would become the game youâre working on, or did you immediately have a clear vision of what you want?
The main inspiration sources have been Super Metroid, Monkey Island, and Limbo. Also, yes, I am a sci-fi fan (itâs my favourite genre of entertainment). The truth is that Iâve wanted to work on something like this for a very long time, but it wasnât very well formed in my mind. I think that when you surround yourself with really creative, inspiring stuff, you give your mind a lot to draw from unconsciously. A lot of those sources fed into the game as I was developing it.
To expand on the previous question, has The Fall always supposed to beÂ what it currently is, or did you have some other ideas on your mind? If you did, could you tell us something about them?
The mechanics took some iteration. Exploring the world was initially done by stopping, and hitting a key to enter âscan modeâ where the player had a joystick controlledÂ mouse cursor that they could scan the environment with. Obviously, it was a terrible decision, and that became clear during early play testing. The story has become its own thing as well. I had some good ideas; things were sort-of, kind-of working, but bringing on a writer really brought the story to where it is today.
There had to be some negative feedback with the early builds of the game, right? So how did you deal with it?
You get used to negative feedback. I try to honour everyoneâs negative experience, get to the crux of why they had it, and try my best to mitigate for someone having that negative experience again in the future. People who care about you are honest with you, so I never took negative feedback as an attack. Everyone is trying to help. That being said, there is a such thing as people who are not your target audience. In fact, one of my close friends has a negative experience playing the game because he simply doesnât enjoy the type of gameplay that I have, that involves exploring the worldâs lore and finding out what to do from there. That type of negative feedback can basically be deleted; at some point, youâve got to decide that thereâs a thing your game is, and a thing your game is not. However, itâs hard to sometimes make that call, and youâve got to put your ego aside in both cases.
Regarding the gameplay mechanics, thereâs a little bit of everything. Cover systems, puzzle solving, dialoguesâ¦ What made you choose the systems you implemented?
I just enjoy lots of different stuff, thatâs all! I think one of the reasons that The Fall plays the way it does is because I genuinely like shooting stuff, and I like thinking about things, platformers, emotional stuff, you name it. I think itâs all wonderful. However, weâve got an odd idea in the market, I think, that somehow, certain genres donât mix. Youâve got your shooters, and your adventure games â as if people who play shooters are all frat boys, and people who play adventure games are all somehow like the Rick MoranisÂ character in Ghostbusters. Iâm gambling on that premise being false. Weâll see how The Fall does when it launches.
The nature of things that The Fall is exploring is interesting to say the least. During my time with the preview version, it was obvious that the game is about ARID and her growth as a character. Is there a message youâre trying to convey by focusing on a highly advanced AI?
Thanks, Iâm very glad that comes across. Iâm going to try to stay away from making a statementÂ about the gameâs message (at least for the first little while) because I do really believe that it needs to stand by itselfâ¦ but I think that the protagonist being an AI fits more closely with the various themes in the game that relate to character development. Also, I just find AIâsÂ interesting, on a purely base level. In the same way that you can add a vampire to an otherwise crap story and people love it, Iâm that way with certain things as well. Iâm a sucker for Sci-Fi (and alsoÂ Christian hell mythology, but thatâs a whole other story).
The game is going to be released in episodes, so are you planning to mix the story up with a new protagonist or something like that after a while? Or is the entire series going to follow ARIDâs adventures?
We`ve got a very solid idea for how the story evolves, but nothing is set in stone. I`ll stay away from spoiler land and use the old, boring response: Maybe! Maybe not! That being said, ARIDâs story isnât quite finished yet.
How much of the story do you already have planned out? And are we actually going to come in contact with human beings while ARID is in control?
I shouldnât share any details, but weâve got the general story arc planned. Thereâs a lot of room for creativity though, and Iâd like to be able to start the second episode the same way I started the first â by taking some time to relax and draw on some creative ideas. Weâve got lots of room before us to do that, so hopefully, you can expect something interesting.
And last but not least, do you have any other projects preparedÂ for after The Fall is completed?
Nope! The Fall is taking up all of my time. Iâve got a few ideas, but by the time weâre done with The Fall, I imagine my mind will be stuck on to something else.
And there you have it, people. The Fall is setÂ to release on May 31, and very well deserves your attention. You can check it out on Steam right now HERE