I’ve been invested a bit more in the indie scene lately as I do like the idea that getting involved with some of these games could help spread awareness about them in a business that is currently being flooded with new titles.
One of the developers that reached out to me was ONI studio, who is currently working on the upcoming game About Savior Hunter, or A.S.H. for short. I had an interview with Denis Listov and asked him some questions about his game.
When did you first start working on A.S.H. ? And how did you decide on what type of game it was going to be?
I started dreaming about the game in 2013. I didn’t think I could make it but I kept dreaming and making notes. In February 2016 I decided to start developing the game. I had no friends to create a team with. I took a loan, sold my car, took all my bank savings and started creating a team. Many people came and went, and only those who want to see the game’s release stayed
As for the genre…I asked myself, what game do I want to play? What do other games lack?
Which existing games (or other media) are you using as inspiration? And how do you hope to make A.S.H. stand out as a great game in its genre?
The first thing on my list of inspirations is Blade of Darkness. That is the best slasher for me because of its battle system and enemies. The Elder Scrolls games are on the second place. I like the world and its atmosphere. I was also inspired by Russian fantasy writer Nick Perumov and by American writer Robert Anthony Salvatore.
What makes my game stand out from similar ones is a battle system with three levels of attack and block: upper, middle and lower. That way the player will enjoy fighting, putting his/her skills to the test, making his/her unique choices: to chop off a head or to chop an enemy in two.
The second feature are the enemies. They are all unique. But not all of them are against you. Some of them, i.e. undead, cursed gnomes, minotaurs, demons might fight each other as they are each others enemies too.
The third feature of the lively world are interesting background events, such as a fight between a devil with dragon, a blast wave from a meteorite that fell on a castle. To know more about the events, the player would have to play next games of the series.
Which platforms will the game release on? and which Release date do you have in mind? (Are you working towards a certain goal?)
The game will be released on PC first. Then, if I have resources, I will release it on portable devices and consoles. I’m thinking at the moment on implementing controls on those platforms. The release date depends on Kickstarter success. I’m planning to start the campaign in February. If all goes well, the game will be ready in half a year.
Other than the planned Kickstarter, how are you funding the project?
For the moment I have spent ALL my personal money. The last investment was when I sold my car to do motion capture and then polish the material. Right now I only have enthusiasts left that work in their free time and believe in the project. If only I had found them earlier.
How much depends on the game doing well? Do you have a selling price in mind and do you know how many copies you’ll need to sell to break even?
The success depends on Kickstarter campaign. I estimate that I need to sell 3.000 copies at $10 each.
How much time do you invest in the game? Do you have enough time left to invest in other things? (family, friends, playing games yourself or another hobby) Is it dangerous for an Indie Dev to get too invested or is 100% commitment an absolute requirement?
I have already spent 2100 hours on the game. I check everything: animations, models, levels, sounds, soundtracks, effects, some features, programming issues. If I spot a problem, I try to solve it in the most effective way. And least but not the last, I talk to the game’s community. And yes, I need to be 100% immersed into the project, but it does not mean I can neglect my family, friends and sports. If not, I can burn out. But still, I think about the project all the time. My relatives are against it, they tell me I should find a second job, but I believe that the game will be popular.
How have you evolved as a game developer yourself? Do you reckon you’ve improved a lot over the years?
I think that only after finishing the project and getting positive reviews I can be called a developer. The project has been rebooted three times. Soon I will make a video with more dynamic battles and some new animations. But one thing I know for sure is that now I have the full picture.
You can see some of the evolution the game went through in this video:
How many other people have worked on the game? Did you have to outsource a lot of tasks
More than 20 people worked on the project. It is very hard to find responsible and interested people. I had to search long for them but I’ve now found four people that are in the team.
What are your marketing plans? Do you have ad campaigns planned or will you attend conventions to show the gale to the world?
I would like to use conventions as a way to help promote the game, but I don’t have money for that. That’s why I will use social networks and different websites where I can post for free:
Could you share with us some of your favourite game titles?
My favourite games are Blade of Darkness, Rune, Gothic II, Fallout 2, The Elder Scrolls, Heroes of Might and Magic, World of Tanks, For Honor. After two years of development I started appreciating the games more as now I see more details in them.
Writer’s Note: Keep an eye on the game and be sure to get it when it releases if you want to support a small indie developer 🙂