For those that follow us on Twitter, you may have seen us mention plans to start a developer spotlight series, where we focus on our favourite indie developers and conduct interviews about the games they are working on.
In this very first edition we would like to shine the spotlight on Hellhunter, a sweet looking game we came across recently that is being worked on by Aussie duo Chai and Skyking.
The indie studio has just launched a Kickstarted for Hellhunter, and I encourage our readers to support indie, and grab the game at a bargain pre-order price as well as other great perks.
Without further ado, here is our interview with Chai and Skyking from Ballistic Interactive:
IGB: Tell us a little about yourself and your team:
We’re Chai & Skyking, a two person indie dev team based in Australia, with 14 years of combined industry experience, best known for working on titles such as the Zerosum Games’ Stardrive franchise, and the Australian QLD heritage projects.
We met back in 2015 on a chance encounter, just collaborating on miscellaneous projects. Before we knew it, we were knee deep working on Hellhunter, as if we’d been best mates all our lives!
Our strengths & (many) weaknesses complement each other, and at the end of the day we’re both avid gamers doing our best to make an amazing game!
Tell us a little about your game:
Hellhunter is a supernatural investigative hunting RPG, where you assume the role of a freelance hunter building your career towards uncovering the ultimate terror.
However with each job, the level is procedurally generated, and the true identity of the supernatural creature is not revealed. It is up to you to explore and investigate it, to determine the tools needed to vanquish the hostile entity, which creates an intense and unique experience for every hunt.
Hellhunter’s story is not yet another fairy tale about saving world.
Four years ago, you were faced with the ultimate decision, kill yourself, or kill your family… Needless to say you are here now. For years you’ve been honing your skills to become a Hellhunter, and now, it’s time to settle the score once and for all…
IGB: What were your inspirations for the project?
We’ve had numerous inspirations, but will list the most influential.
We’re huge fans of the Dark souls series, and how the high challenge makes the reward so much more satisfying.
We also appreciate the more old school vibe of classic adventure games such as Gabriel Knight, where you could interact with everything, and had a more mature and dark subject matter.
For the horror element we have to tip our hat to games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and how it had a deeper psychological approach rather than your usual jump scare.
IGB: What tools and technology are you using?
As we’ve been working commercially with Unity3D for many years now, it was our natural choice for the game engine. Its flexibility allows us to create a more unique game such as Hellhunter.
We’ve also used tools such as Modo, Photoshop and Zbrush for the various haunted environments and diabolical creatures!
IGB: What are the main challenges you have encountered during the process?
As we are both professional Game Developers (and not marketers), we have found the marketing aspect the biggest challenge so far, getting the word out there is not as easy as it seems!
Luckily we’ve been simply overwhelmed with the support so far, people are sharing it left/right and center, we cannot thank you guys enough!
IGB: What is your general production process flow like, from ideas conceptualisation to dev / design, to testing / revision?
(skyking) With Hellhunter we really wanted to make some fresh and innovative gameplay.
First we brainstorm ideas together using mindmaps, and through a process of elimination conceptualize them. Then we prototype and if needed go back to the drawing board and revise.
Once we find it’s a fun and engaging experience, we balance & let others test it while we sit back and watch them suffer!
(chai) Artwise the project pre-production involved numerous pieces of concept art, exploring different styles until we finally reached the art direction you see now in Hellhunter.
For the prototypes we use very primitive models to prevent unnecessary time sinks, and once that’s all cleared, we make the final detailed, textured & cleanly animated art.
IGB: Exposure and PR has been a big topic of recent for indies. Do you have a PR strategy you are using/planning to use? How has it worked for you so far?
We are not experts with PR and marketing (and do no claim to be), however we are doing our best to promote the game to try and reach our target audience.
We have found the support of our community and fellow gamers has been our biggest PR success so far!
IGB: Do you/ did you have a launch strategy? How do you think it went? What would you have changed?
We definitely had a launch strategy for the Kickstarter and so far it’s looking promising, but we wish we had built a community sooner. The toughest work is still ahead of us, every little share & retweet helps to get the word about Hellhunter out there!
IGB: Where can readers find your game / info on your game. If it is still in production, when is it due?
We’re currently running a Kickstarter and the game is planned to release on Q4 of 2017. You can find all the relevant info there including gameplay trailer, and more in depth information below, thanks for reading!
IGB: Thank you Chai and Skyking, we look forward to the games release and wish you deserving success