"No one really knows when the remnants of the past began to stir, when they decided to reclaim a world that had moved on long ago.
For many years they had encroached on our lands, slowly driving us back as their corruption spread. Their strength was overwhelming and even I and the other guardians were helpless to stop them, though many of us died trying. At the front of the assault were their skeletal machines, abominations of hollow souls and metal….of which they had a seemingly endless supply. You see, this is a battle of attrition, and it is a battle we are losing.
Though rumors abound, what is known for certain is at the heart of the corruption are the Eternal. Men? Machines? Perversions of life.
It was there amongst the Eternal that one day a mysterious woman escaped. She too was an abomination, but I could feel she was somehow different and in frantic desperation. So I reached out and called to her, offering her refuge in our forest.
It was once she arrived that I realized why she had seemed so different. Somehow inside her grew new life, and she couldn't stand her child being twisted into the monsters which attacked us.
We worked quickly gathering pieces of the fallen machines to house her child’s life, and in the end were successful. She gave birth. Though her child was flawed and weak, he was alive … and that is where our story begins".
Your project has a long and difficult story and was funded on Kickstarter only on third attempt. What, in your opinion, was the reason for the failure of the first two attempts? And what makes you go on and try again, despite the fact that many novice developers lose their hearts after the first failure?
Well, the first time I went to kickstarter, I had pretty unreasonable goals… no one knew me (I was coming from nowhere)… and just had a handful of concepts for an idea I wanted to do. So, it wasn't a big shock looking back why I failed.
After that, the attempts just weren't far enough along in the build to really show much to anyone. It was still a lot of talk and looking for help to make it a reality. Finding more team members (my first attempt I was alone), getting more concepts and game models done, or just sorting out some story / design.
Eventually I had enough to show and prove to people I could actually do what I was saying I could do.
What makes me keep going and not give up is just confidence in myself. I KNOW have a story to tell, and a world being made, and a game being created. I KNOW I can make something special. So, for me, giving up makes no sense. The issue is more about how I'll get to the end of the road, not IF I'll get there.
Also, failure isn't really the end of doing something creative (or anything in life). Failure is just practice… it teaches us what we did wrong… and our next attempt is even better.
I don't think anyone has ever done anything great without failing. We don't give up trying to walk because we may fall down when we first start. Eventually we get there, it just takes a bit of drive and trust in ourselves.
According to latest studies, the interest in crowdfunding is running down. Kickstarter is flooded by the pot-boilers and cloned projects, so players and journalists is getting pretty tired of searching for some diamonds in the mud. Journalists in particular is paying much less attention to the new projects now. Have you encountered this problem with news blackout during your Kickstarter campaign?
Yup, I was noticing the drop-off of interest / trust in kickstarter when we went there also. Journalists would do "group articles" on a lot larger number of kickstarters… and people seemed more used to seeing it as a place to get the game a bit cheaper or wanting bigger rewards to match major kickstarters they had seen (which wasn't really how it was early on in KS).
But, even with that, I think kickstarter is pretty important to seeing a new wave of games made by people without the resources to make them the traditional way though. For example, thanks to everyone who spread the word and backed us we were able to push ahead with Bloom. Had kickstarter and gamers not been there to help us… it would have just been one less game getting made.
I really feel like journalists, developers, and gamers are all working together for the same common goal… to make even better games and push the medium forward. Something like kickstarter brings those groups together to make something happen that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
So, overall, I hope journalists and gamers don't get too bored with sites like Kickstarter. Thanks to them stepping in early, new stuff is getting made and they are making a difference.
In one of your updates on the Kickstarter you mentioned that the subject of pregnancy is not represented in the best way in game industry. To tell the truth, I don't remember this topic to appear in a lot of games. So, what specific games and tropes do you mean? What exactly you don't like and don't approve?
Not just pregnancy, but motherhood in general. It often has a strange relationship in games… either very shallow or a side event (such in Fable), or way over the top and into a strange area (like the Binding of Isaac) or even into the torturous (the much more common story line of your family being murdered to drive the plot). And even then, that is still under the context of it being pretty rare to find a game that addresses motherhood.
Basically, there is a lot to explore in the relationship between a child and their parent. It is such a universal and powerful experience, I'm shocked it isn't addressed more often. Too often games rely on romantic love and ignore completely any other type of love.
Could you tell us more about the role system? How and in what ways will we be able to develop our character? What skills and characteristics will our hero have? And, by the way, about our hero — is it a boy or a girl? Or maybe players will be able to choose?
Well, the way the character develops (what skills they unlock or how personally strong they become) is based more on the choices taken through the game. So, for example, choosing to kill enemies instead of taking non violent options will make the character grow stronger.
The skills the main character has are largely centered around manipulating energy. This can be applied directly to energy type "attacks", but also to growing seeds (which have a range of effects). And, of course, there is "the bridge" which gives a bit of insight into deeper aspects of the world (for example, seeing the moods of creatures or allies or seeing the detection cones / ranges of enemies to better plan your approach).
The gender of the main character is actually genderless (since they are technically a robot, at least in body). My hope is that this will leave it open for the player to project themselves onto the character (especially with one of the themes being so much about growing up and finding out what type of person you are).
So, no traditional experience system? And what is "seeds"?
Yea, no real traditional experience system. It is more based on what you do or what choices you make (and those things effect those types of attributes).
Seeds are like plant seeds. Basically they can do a wide range of things, from growing a wall to block you… or letting you get over gaps… or even helping to hide you.
But players tend to save before important choices and load if they don't like consequences. How are you going to deal with this?
I actually don't see that as a problem that needs to be dealt with :) If players want to save and try out different paths, that is more than ok. I want people to play in a way they enjoy most.
Сan we expect variety of plot lines/endings?
Actually, we are working on something else for that :) We are still looking into the possibilities, but basically the goal is to make the game a bit more re-playable.
Bloom: Memories has a very interesting, unique graphics. Have you had any specific sources of inspiration for it?
The art style of Bloom has actually evolved a lot during development (with some areas being completely redone a couple times). One of our inspirations is definitely the original Legend of Zelda, which you can see in how the maps are set up in a grid pattern or attempts to simplify the forest. Then, I also took some inspiration from old Sierra point and click adventure games (such as Kings Quest) where more effort was put into making each part of the world a bit more unique. I would also guess Hayao Miyazaki has influenced some of the world, but I doubt we could really live up to that haha.
If all goes well, will you continue to expand the universe of Bloom: Memories in next games or are you planning to switch to something entirely new?If things go well, I would love to expand the universe of Bloom. There are a few things I'm not going to be able to explore as much as I would want with this first game… so hopefully I get a chance in the next one.