If you’re looking for a new and interesting adventure game, Anodyne is for you. It takes inspiration from the dungeon design of The Legend of Zelda and the aesthetic design of Yume Nikki. It’s up on Steam Greenlight right now, and is aimed for a release sometime in Fall of 2012 for Windows and MAC, and perhaps Linux.
IndieDB Page: www.indiedb.com/games/anodyne
Steam Greenlight Page: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92921739
Anodyne Website: http://www.anodynegame.com
1. If Anodyne is successful enough, would you consider porting it to other platforms such as for the Xbox 360, PS3 or for the Nintendo 3DS?
Sean: Probably not those consoles. Creativity-wise, I might be a bit burnt out by working on Anodyne by then. Technical-wise, porting to one of those systems would be a non-trivial affair because I’d have to port over the codebase, unless there was some miraculous way for those platforms to support Adobe AIR or SWFs. Financially, it would cost a bit to get a devkit, and then we’d have to market, etc – it might not even end up paying off. Anyways, I think the majority of people that would like Anodyne are going to have PC/Mac/Linux.
If anything, I’d port it to an iThing or Android, because they have support for Adobe AIR, so I would just have to write a little bit of wrapper code for the touch inputs and I think that’d be it. Maybe a Kickstarter to help with the marketing.
2. What PC digital distribution platforms would you like Anodyne to be available on? Although you do have a Steam Greenlight campaign, can we expect to see this on other platforms such as GamersGate and IndieCity?
Sean: All of them! Our goal is Desura, but we’re going to leave the Greenlight page up for the hell of it. Maybe one day after release, Valve will pick it up. We have access to distribution on a couple of other platforms already, but of course we will be looking for more once the game is closer to release.
3. Would you consider setting up a pre-order system for the game on your website so we can throw money at you before release?
Sean: This is something I’d have to look into. I think it should be pretty easy to set something up via Desura to automate this, I just have to figure it out. So maybe!
4. Do you plan to continue releasing updates/patches for the game after release, with additional areas and features?
Sean: Besides inevitable bugfixes, no. We want the game to stand as a complete thing when finished. Depending on my motivation at that point, I might add something fun in like a boss rush. But those would only come after the initial game is totally finished.
5. You said that the game’s aesthetics were inspired by the Gameboy Colour Legend of Zelda games, does this mean that you guys play (or played) The Legend of Zelda? If so, what’s your favourite LoZ game?
Jon: One of the earliest video games my brother and I had was Link’s Awakening, and that remains one of my favorite games. I also played and greatly enjoyed Oracle of Ages and Minish Cap. I bought an N64 and some games from a classmate in high school and one of those games was Ocarina of Time, but that one was sort of harder to get into for me, especially that late in my life; I think a lot of people’s favorite Zelda ends up being their first. I could see how people could really love it, but I found that the general mechanics and big size of areas to be sort of tedious/slow. Don’t really have newer systems, so haven’t played any DS/Wii Zeldas.
Sean: Yep. I’m split between Link’s Awakening and Zelda I. I didn’t try playing Zelda I seriously until after high school, but I really like the sense of wonder that its technical limitations bring. You really feel like an explorer, although the game gets a bit too extreme at times.. . As for Link’s Awakening, I played it a couple of times throughout life, and there’s something mystical to its premise – the Wind Fish always sitting off to the north, occasional disturbing cut-ins from the bosses…I have a few issues with its design, but that’s part from how old it is, and despite that, I still find it one of my favorites. After those two, I like the Oracles, and then I mildly enjoyed the 3-D ones, progressively less as time went on.
6. Do you guys play any other games? If so, have you taken any inspiration from any of them?
Jon: Yeah, I play lots of other games! Some of my favorites that come to mind when I think about Anodyne’s aesthetic influences are Shadow of the Colossus, Final Fantasy 9, Chrono Trigger, Psychonauts, and the Binding of Isaac.
Sean: Yeah, recently I’ve played The Real Texas, Dustforce, The Sea Will Claim Everything, Braid, They Will Bleed Pixels… For influences, despite the obvious influences from Zeldas, Yume Nikki has been a big one for thinking of the various areas and some of the musical feel. Zelda + Yume Nikki, strangely enough, ended up being a pretty effective way to convey the ideas I had for Anodyne. Others – An Untitled Story, Terranigma, Dustforce, probably a number of others…
7. What kind of story do you have in mind for the overall game? I’ve been hearing mixed information, your Greenlight page says that the story will potentially be disturbing in some places, but the comments seem to suggest that there’s a bit of humor involved as well. Care to explain?
Jon: Well the story is not all written yet; Sean and I have certain goals, but to a certain extent I just have to write whatever comes out of me. So we won’t really fully know the atmosphere until we’re finished. That said, I think the demo only begins to touch on some of the darker themes in the game. It’s important to me to approach disturbing things with care and intent, and in a way that’s true to myself as a person. It’ll be more honest that way, and less cliche. In terms of humor, the beginning of the story especially makes some intentional use of overdone genre tropes and I tried to insert humor in there to keep it from being boring. I also just like working with humor and wordplay in general, and so it will be probably be a big part of the game. But like I said, the other themes will take more shape later in the game.
8. Is this the first game that you two have made? Do you have any plans to start up an Indie Development Studio and perhaps release more after this one is complete?
Sean: I’ve made a few smaller projects, the biggest being My First Platformer, “Inspiration Dave”. It’s really just a silly platformer. It’s pretty average (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/595009) . For starting a studio, there’s a lot of variables in the future that affect something like that happening – it depends on how Anodyne does, among other things. However, working with Jon has been a really pleasant experience so far, and I’d definitely enjoy making another game!
Jon: Yeah, same here… there are a lot of unknowns in the near future, but I think it would be great to work together again at some point. This is the first game we’ve worked together, although I’ve been (mostly unsuccessfully) making games for as long as I can remember, using tools like the OHRRPGCE, ZZT, Gamemaker, and Mead composition notebooks. I’m not an especially good programmer, so it’s been great to work with Sean and not have to deal simultaneously with all aspects of development. One of my most finished recent projects (basically just a tech/graphics demo) is a game called burd, available for Windows on yoyogames http://sandbox.yoyogames.com/games/198304-burd
9. Will there be boss monsters in the dungeons? That’d be really cool :)
Jon: Yes! Sean designed the boss battles and provided me with general ideas about the themes of the bosses, and I worked on giving them some specificity and personality through the graphics and text. The boss battles are some of the highlights of the game in terms of both graphics and gameplay.
10. What sorts of items will we see in Anodyne dungeons? Will the player be able to acquire new weapons or weapon upgrades?
Sean: Just a few. The broom, a few mods to that…and then one other item. It’s a secret! Having few items is intentional, I really disliked how some items felt pointless after a while in Zelda games. Also, the few items also fits in with the themes of the story, and perhaps also lets me be a lazy programmer. Who knows. I try to introduce one or two new ways to use the items in each dungeon, although whether or not that is well received is left to the future…
11. Do you have any funny stories about the development of Anodyne that you’d like to share with the readers?
Sean: A month or so ago, I had told my grandma about Anodyne, and she mentioned she knew a Kittaka from where she taught kindergarten or daycare. Turns out she had Jon’s uncle in her class, and she was also friends with his paternal grandparent’s family. Kind of a strange coincidence!
12. Are you guys working on this as a full time job, or do you plan to do so in the future?
Jon: Nope, I’m currently a student at Carleton College, although I’ll be graduating at the end of the school year. If there’s any point where I can just do creative stuff for a living, that would be incredible. Although I don’t think I would want to only make games. I’m also interested in comics and animation.
Sean: I try to treat it as a full (or more) time job. For the first months of development. I layered it on top of an internship, but the past few months have just been work on the game. I’ll be doing the same thing during the school year, I’m also graduating this year. I’d like to do games for a living (as programmer/designer/musician), but I would need to be financially stable in some way, so we’ll see.
13. What is the stance you’re taking in regards to mods for your game?
Sean: Oh, I’m fine with it. If I add mod support, then that would be after release, but only with a lot of interest. If someone cracked the game and did it themselves, power to them.
14. Is there anything else you’d like for our readers to know, or perhaps any shoutouts?
Jon: Edmund McMillen has been a huge inspiration for me ever since I started playing the Binding of Isaac. Anyone who hasn’t might like to check out his work (as well as his tips on making games – link).
Sean: Mm…ask your eye doctor how much examinations cost before you get fitted for contacts. Seriously. Do it.