How do you quantify nostalgia? That warm fuzzy feeling you get when you are experiencing something familiar and comforting. There is a reason why the older you get the more fondly you remember the past. Nostalgia is a very real and tangible feeling. To owners of the “new” Super Nintendo Classic it’s something some are willing to pay double (or more) for.
Enter Epic Loon by Macrales Studio, the game that will give that same feeling without the potential for buyers remorse. But what the heck is Epic Loon and how can such a game wield so much power? We were lucky enough to have a chat with Wax, the Game Manager for Epic Loon to learn a little more about the 2018 Q1 title.
RG: What is your role in Epic Loon and what can you tell us about yourself?
Wax: My name is Wax, and I’m Game Manager for Epic Loon. I manage production for the title and I am essentially the Producer’s right-hand-man, ensuring the spirit of the game is respected by everybody on the team. I created the studio 9 years ago, at the beginning of 2008, just after completing my studies for telecom and multimedia engineering.
RG: What is the backstory behind Epic Loon?
Wax: When we decided to create an indie game in 2015, we had a lot of beer-fueled brainstorming sessions. We had plenty of ideas but none of them convinced everybody. One day our Lead Game Designer, Kris, proposed a game concept based on local multiplayer, physics, and nonsensical gameplay; everybody loved it! In fact, it was an idea he had with one of our other developers while they were playing a loony game on the web called Soccer Physics. They decided to do it during their “free time”, which is a misnomer since there is no such thing as “free time” when you work for a game studio. So really, they did it on company time. Probably stole toilet paper rolls too, who knows? In any event, we decided to prototype this core gameplay to see if there truly was something interesting there. After throwing some boxes and cylinders and stuff on a screen and giving them the gameplay mechanics we had dreamed up, we saw that what we were conceptualizing was indeed fun, even if the meat and potatoes of it all wasn’t there yet.
RG: How was the concept formed and what does the timeline look like from inception to release?
Wax: Lelag, our lead developer, came up with a cool universe based on VHS, aliens, video recorder, and had the whole thing revolve around a neckbearded movie geek named Joe. With that source material of totally unknown origins–just kidding; I see you, internet– I decided to launch the project internally and to look for funding. Lelag was named producer of Macrales Studio, gathering a team of 10 people around Epic Loon.
At the end of 2015, we were supported by the CNC and Pictanovo, two french organizations funding creative projects. We were then able to develop a better prototype.
We then submitted this prototype to a contest called MAGIC IP (organized by Shibuya Productions with a price of 100K€) where there were 50 challengers, 10 pre-selected games, and then 5 selected games for a presentation to a jury where at the end, one winner was announced–holy crap, Epic Loon!
At that point we had a good budget permitting us to create something very cool.
RG: What challenges or advice can you provide to others with a desire to develop a game?
Wax: Developing a game is a really great experience; a big human adventure that is fun but also complicated.
We developed games for 9 years before starting Epic Loon and it’s the first time we have exclusively made a game that we at the studio loved playing. So maybe that’s one of the most important things to remember when building a game; do what you love. Believe me when I say people will know whether or not your heart was in it.
I also advise developers to find a partner for the publishing/distribution side of the business because developing a game and selling it are two very different things.
And finally, you must have a plan B. Creating a successful game is very hard, so think of the worst case scenario. If everything goes according to plan then you’ll only have good surprises!
Want to learn more about Epic Loon? Click Here for part 2 of our interview which will be live 11/8/17.
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