The Stray Sheep #22 – GamesCom-Interviews #4 – Answer Knot, Nanotale & Necrobarista

So, today’s Stray Sheep is going to cover the next three interviews. This one features Naraven Games’ Answer Knot, Fishing Cactus’ Nanotale – Typing Chronicles and Route 59’s Necrobarista. After this, there’s going to be two more posts with interviews, featuring the dev/publisher of Tunic and Overland in one postand the devs of Kingdom, Flotsam, and Foundation in another post, so stay tuned for those!

Before we’re going into the actual interviews, I’d like to update you on what’s going to happen after all these interviews are posted: 

In two days, Blaugust is coming to an end which is why I’m going to feature three games in two interview posts from now on. On September 1st, I’ll publish a post about what I’ve learned from all this and that kinda stuff. 

Anyways, let’s get to those interviews. Answer Knot is a “short narration and exploration game about Zach, June, and a strange phenomenon”. You’re playing as Zach and you’re hearing June’s messages on your answering machine. To hear the next message and find out what’s happening outside of the house, you need to complete tasks in your apartment like checking if there’s beer in the fridge or turn on the radio. 

I talked to Julia Jeanneret, the narrative designer of Answer Knot, who, at first, didn’t want to do an interview in person in fear of me putting her on the spot – but I’d never do anything like that, right? 

What was the most exciting or even fun part about working on this project?

“The most fun part? […] I guess the photo-shooting was the most fun. That really was only fun. [When] you play the game, you see all those photos of these two actors, they don’t know each other in real life, […]. There’re the snow and the lake and everything was taken on the same day in Geneva! That was probably the most fun about it all.”

What’s your biggest inspiration for this game, the story and everything?

“The story-line was very heavily inspired by an audio-youtube video called ‘Colds‘” [remind me to link that one] 

“And game-wise it’s more inspired by Gone Home and all those walking-simulators.” 

[Due to it being quite late that day, I didn’t ask that many questions as I also limited myself to about 5-minute-interviews! And a few questions just kind of weren’t audible at all, so…]

Now, we’ll talk about a few fun questions. So, if you were a superhero, what would your superpower and hero name be?

“[…] I gotta think about my name… but I guess my superpower would be being able to make an entire game by my self because I don’t like relying that much on people. I love people, but seriously I’d like to be able to do everything by myself.”

Yeah, I hate people, too. 

“And for my name… I don’t know, I guess I’ll have to think about it a bit longer. […]”

Uhm, since you’re Julia… how about… Solo-ia. Okay, that’s quite bad, let’s proceed. 

If you could meet one video game character from any game in real life, who would it be and what would you do with them? 

“[…] Aw, I feel like I’m going to say something super lame and think later that I should’ve said something better.”

Don’t worry. If it’s super lame, I’ll cut it out later.

“Thank you!” (laughs)

 Just kidding.

“I think I would like to meet Nathan Drake.”

Who?

“Nathan Drake from the Uncharted Series and I would just hang out with him.”

Oh, okay. I haven’t played those.

“You haven’t played the Uncharted Series?”

Well, tbh, I think I own it on Steam but my laptop’s too bad to run it… so… yeah. Will try it out later. [Possible LttP-post here!]

“Yeah, you should. Then you’ll also see what a fun person Nathan is.”

What’s your favourite antagonist?

“I think, it’s GlaDos from Portal.”

Oh, she’s great! And what’s your favourite game right now?

“That’s something you shouldn’t ask.”

How about your ALL-TIME-favourite game then? 😛

“[…] I have several games that are linked to different parts of my life. There’s Skyrim, Life is Strange, God of War, Pokémon, Kingdom Hearts, and I guess it’s a mix of all these different games! But I can’t pick a favourite, that’s too difficult for me. 

It’s like what’s your favourite child?”

(Some other dev in the back): “Not that one.”

“Everyone but this one!”

So, yeah, that’s the interview basically. I had a lot of fun talking to Julia and I really enjoyed Answer Knot, especially since I’m one of those not-answering-people myself and I felt bad for June and stuff… The story took an interesting turn and I didn’t really expect it all that much. The puzzling was great and, well, I guess I can’t really say much about it because of spoilers and all that! It’s actually available on Steam for free right now, so you should definitely check it out, as it doesn’t even take that much time to play! Lovely! 🙂

For the next interview, I’ve talked to the artist of Nanotale – Typing Chronicles, Amandine Flahaut. Nanotale‘s a typing game and there’s lots of exploring and fighting/typing going on there.

What was the most exciting part of working on this game? 

“Uhm… Everything. […] I’m the artist, so I work at the art directions of the game and I created everything, so I created the world and I tried to keep the same art style as in [Epistory] our first game while still changing the world. […] Even coming here [to the GamesCom] and speaking to people about the game, is really exciting for me.”

How satisfied are you with the game at its current stage? Are there any plans for future updates?

“Oh, what you see is a demo. […] We’re improving a lot of things right now and we’re going to add a few more things and big areas like this one since this is only the first area. I want to make things a lot more beautiful but I [also] think that we’re doing great for now. […] The more you want to do now, the less good the result becomes.”

If you were a superhero, what would your power and hero name be?

“Oh, I already am a superhero. I am CUTTER GIRL! I am clumsy and imagine the world being in danger and you telling me to do anything but press that one dangerous button. Well, I’d manage to do just do that. I’ll [trip], something behind me falls and presses the button.”

And that’s your superpower?

“Eh, Yes! Because I can just leave the villains alone and when they escape something bad happens to them, so they’ll just wait there for the police to come.”

If you could meet one character from Nanotale in real life who would it be?

“[…] The green jasper! It’s some kind of a mix between an axolotl, a rabbit and a cat. It’s very cute. It has some kind of kink ears. And I think it would be great to have it in real life as well! Oh, and it smells of MINTS!”

So, Nanotale is coming out soon. Check it out! It’s looking great and for a typing game, some fights felt quite intense, to say the least! I really appreciated the prototype for a holographic monitor that they had set up near the booth. Looking forward to how that one’s going to get developed in the future! 🙂 

Onto the last interview for today! Necrobarista is about a back-alley café in Melbourne where “the dead are granted one last night to mingle with the living”. It’s a visual novel with 3D-animation by Route 59. I’ve interviewed Ngoc Vu, the lead artist for this game.

So, what inspired you to make Necrobarista?

“The director, the 3D-artists and I sat together while we all studied together at Uni. We were all discussing how much we were loving Anime [and] how much we were loving visual novels and [since] we studied Unity during our university years we thought ‘why not just make a 3D-style visual novel?’. And that was the main pillar of the development of Necrobarista.”

So, Necrobarista is about a coffee shop were spirits and humans go to. Is it a rather peaceful game or does it get intense later on, too?

“It does get a little intense later on but I’d say that, for the most part, it’s quite a cosy game. […]”

What was the most exciting part about working on this project?

“The most exciting part was deciding how we are going to produce the facial features for all the characters. That was the part that has undergone the most iterations. I would say especially how we’re creating the eyes […] with all its features like pupils, eyelashes, etc. And pretty much every facial feature has its own engine.”

Are you satisfied with the game at its current stage and are there any plans for future updates, chapters, and that kind of stuff?

“We are very happy with the game. So, the story is finished. The artwork is all locked in. Currently, we’re polishing menus and UI and player experience. As for updates, we are planning to release a DLC which will feature four new side characters and hopefully it will come out a little bit after the release date.”

So, now I’m going to ask those aforementioned “quirky questions” because I’m no professional. (She laughs) If you were a superhero what would your hero name and quirk be? 

“I’m a bit of a sticky bee” (I think that’s what she said but I’m not too sure… hit me up with corrections if it was something else!)

“I’d like to read people’s minds. […] As for a name… Oh, I’m really terrible with coming up with names. Maybe, the Needle.” (Again, not sure if that’s what she said. It was quite loud at the place and… yeah.)

She hates Dr Pepper, so I’ll just leave it at that. Next year I’ll come up with better questions for sure. :[ 

What’s your favourite video-game antagonist? or if that’s too hard, your favourite Anime-antagonist

“[…] There’s so many. I’d say Vegeta [as my favourite anime-antagonist] from Dragon Ball. But he turns into a pretty good guy.”

Spoilers.

“Well, too bad for you, if you haven’t seen Dragon Ball after twenty years. 

Well, yeah, he’s my favourite antagonist.”

Okay, so if you could meet a video-game character. Who would it be and what would you do together?

“[…] I was about to say Tingle from the Zelda-series but maybe not now… with him. […] Maybe rather Dr. [Hershel] Layton?”

That’d be so awesome! I love the Prof. Layton games!

“We’d probably go find coins […] and go fishing for fountain coins. Or he’d give me math-problems and put me back into eight-grade high school.”

So, Necrobarista‘s coming out soon, too, and as I may or may not do a review on that, I didn’t really want to spoil myself too much by already playtesting it there! So, I can’t really say much about it apart from the fact that it looked really cool and that the team behind it seemed really cool 😀 

Anyways, that’s it for today’s post. A bit late again, I know, but I’ve got no schedule, so nobody cares, I guess.

Tomorrow’s post will be about Tunic and Overland. Stay tuned for that one!

Anyways, have a good morning/day/evening/night/whatever and don’t forget:

Sometimes coffee makes you sleepier after drinking it, resulting in you falling alseep even though you wanted to stay up.

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

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