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Interview: Justin French of Dream Harvest Games

Indie gaming is in a great place. You can argue that indie gaming reached new heights in 2017 as more and more gamers have come to embrace new studios and new games. We continue to see fan favorite Steam games ported to consoles and it is a trend we will continue to see more of. However, one area that can make indie gaming somewhat risky is a lack of credibility.

Logo_Small_previewFear of the unknown can be a real concern for indie game developers. This is not in regard to the actual game creation itself, but rather how games are received by gamers. By and large, the gaming community identifies with AAA titles that are household names. Therefore, when a newly minted studio launches a new game, the reception can be hard to predict. This of course changes based on studio credibility.

Justin French of Dream Harvest Games brings instant credibility to his studio and his latest endeavor – Failure: NeuroSlicers.

Justin is the Founder and CEO of Dream Harvest. His duties include: core system design, UX design, sound design, audio implementation, marketing, and community management. In other words, he is the definition of a true indie game developer and as a result, has to wear many hats to make his vision a reality.

Who is Justin French?

Earth Moments Manufacturer Banner_newJustin started his career in the music industry as an audio engineer and music producer. He worked on studio recording and live sound mixing prior to making the decision to move to Chennai, India to work on a large sample library project called Earth Moments. This experience led to a new job at Side where Justin worked as a sound designer/audio engineer.

It was at Side that Justin had the pleasure of working on a large number of AAA games like The Witcher 2, Fable 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and more.

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From there, Justin began to freelance and do some work for smaller indie studios as a project manager, game producer, sound designer, and audio director. He did all of this while also working in games and tech industry recruitment. While recruiting was not Justin’s passion, it allowed him to learn more about different technical skills and gave him the motivation to start up Dream Harvest.

Justin wanted to get back into bigger, mid to hardcore games for PC and consoles that had a focus on narrative and competitive/co-operative play.

Instant Credibility

When Justin started Dream Harvest, he brought with him years of experience from the music and gaming industry, which gave Dream Harvest something most indie studios don’t have: instant credibility.

Trio_map capture_02Justin’s time at Side (and competitor OMUK) allowed him to work on some amazing games. Warhammer: Space Marine, Vanquish, Kinect Sports, Risen, Sacred 3, Runescape, and Battlefield Bad Company 2 are just a few more that most gamers recognize. Hands on experience and knowledge of the industry makes Justin more prepared than most indie developers. It also means that Justin knows the risk of starting his own studio and what it takes to make a flagship game.

Dream Harvest was Born

Dream Harvest was originally founded in April of 2013. Justin and CTO/Co-Founder, Sven, planned on experimenting with new ideas and genres, trying to blend things together to create new experiences. They brought on an artist and spent two years prototyping ideas, scrapping ideas, and starting all over again. The team all worked full time jobs in addition to brainstorming Dream Harvest’s first project.

Trio_map capture_03This process eventually led to Failure: NeuroSlicers. By this point, the core team was made up of Justin and Sven in addition to Milcho Milchev (Lead Designer and Game Play Programmer) and Leigh Radmore (Designer).

Leigh unfortunately left the team after production began to spend time with his newborn child. Dream Harvest managed to secure some outside funding which allowed them to bring on Loic Bramoulle as the Art Director and production began in earnest.

Currently, the core team consists of these four people, however Brandon “Wayward Strategist” Casteel joined the team as an intern designer. Brandon is well known within the Real-Time-Strategy (RTS) community thanks to his blog Wayward Strategist. Dream Harvest is also working with award winning composer Daniel Elms, who has taken over the music writing tasks for Failure: NeuroSlicers.

Dream Harvest is now currently in the third year of development for Failure: NeuroSlicers and they are looking to redefine the RTS genre as we know it. Their goal is to grow the team to 12-14 people and speed up development.

Failure: NeuroSlicers

TrailerLoop600X400Failure: NeuroSlicers is a RTS game where you play as a “Slicer” or hacker for hire working for different factions. When you start off, you are relatively weak, with only a small selection of abilities to outfit your deck of skills. As you take on more contracts for the Corporations (or factions) you will begin to unlock new abilities.

The abilities are made up of units, buildings, and hacking powers which are referred to as “functions.”

The game tends to play out as a tense struggle over resources and territory, with flanking, surprise attacks, and feints. Unlike most RTS, Failure places a premium on being able to flank your opponent, and tricking your opponent into wasting resources in one area of the map can really pay off elsewhere.

With AI-controlled units, unit placement and the path your units follow into enemy territory have a tremendous amount of weight. We provide plenty of tools for each player to use during combat to tip a battle in your favor and keep your opponent off balance, while keeping your interactions with your army and territory straightforward and understandable to player of all skill levels.

-Justin French, CEO Dream Harvest

A closed alpha will be going live in early 2018. To get access to the alpha, simply support Failure: NeuroSlicers on Brightlocker. However, there are only a limited number of slots remaining. It is also possible to gain free access to the Pre-Alpha by joining the community over on discord where Dream Harvest will be rewarding the most vocal and passionate members with access to the Pre-Alpha in batches. Players can join the discord community by heading to http://discord.failure.game.

There will be more to come on Failure: NeuroSlicers. Check back regularly for part two of our interview with Justin to learn more about the game itself!

Developer: Dream Harvest Games

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Pengle View All

Avid gamer across PC, Xbox, and Switch platforms. Check me out on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

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