Interview with Gone Home developers
Indie gaming is such a great opportunity for people to get together and just make games. No need of big publishers or lots of money to create a game worth playing, a game that doesn't have to meet market desirability criteria or high ROI. The problem is, there are so many Indie developers these days, pumping new games each day, it's hard to get people to pay attention. Well, The Fullbright Company is one of those studios that certainly managed to get into everybody's radar and all thanks to the very well-received adventure game, Gone Home.
Well, I got a chance to sit together with Steve Gaynor, one of the 4 members of the team. We discussed Gone Home, the studio, and even the Mac platform. Keep reading for all the juicy details!
About The Game
Gone Home is an original take, how did you come up with that idea?
For us, the small team was integral to coming up with the idea for the game. The scale of Gone Home - just one house to explore, full of details but with no people in it - was based on the fact that we only had 4 team members (and none of us are character artists!) So really, the game idea was born out of the team as much as our creative desires.
About The Fullbright Company
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? How many are you at The Fullbright Company?
We're four developers working on the game full-time. Three of us share a house in Portland, Oregon, and our fourth (Kate Craig) is up in Vancouver, BC. The three of us who co-founded the company all worked on the BioShock series together, then left large-scale game development to start our own small indie team. Gone Home is our first game as The Fullbright Company.
About indie development
Indie gaming is getting more and more popular with hundreds of games released each year. How did you stand out? How of you make people pay attention to YOUR game?
It's true, promoting the game is one of the hardest parts. Getting the word out and getting people to pay attention is always a challenge. We had some advantages - "from developers who worked on BioShock" doesn't hurt, and we knew a lot of journalists from our time in AAA. But it was definitely a learning experience, figuring out how to do press releases, schedule preview sessions, and so on. But we're glad to have had to learn it, instead of the normal experience from bigger organizations of "that' somebody else's job."
Your advice for a couple of guys dreaming of developing a game?
Get started now! Build stuff, make stuff, FINISH IT, start small, and get it out into the world for people to play and react to. You'll spend a lot of time making things here and there before you get to your magnum opus. So download free tools for making mods and games, and get going!
The Mac platform
What made you decide to develop a version for the Mac?
For us, we used the Unity engine, which exports to Mac natively. So really there wasn't a whole lot of extra work to do to support Mac. We did need to package it for distribution on Mac hardware, and we did some extra work to support gamepad on Mac, but it was mostly a no-brainer to do so.
Where do you see The Fullbright Company in a couple of years?
In a couple years, we hope we'll be in the midst of working on our next game. For now, we're taking some time to support Gone Home on more platforms and with a little more content, and then will be taking a break for a bit. But hopefully, we'll take what we've made with Gone Home, and extend it in smart ways to explore new experiences that don't just feel like a rehash. We shall see!
I would like to thank Steve and the whole team for their time and attention. Gone Home is brilliantly put together and I bet most Indie developers would give a kidney to have such a strong debut! Our official review for Gone Home for Mac is currently underway. You can expect it early next week!
Regarding MacOS support from Indie developers, I can't help wondering why more tools aren't as multi-platform ready as the Unity engine. Basically, The Fullbright Company had the same answer as many others: "We did a Mac (and Linux) version because Unity does it natively"!
If you have any questions that you would like to ask Steve, please share them in the comments and I promise you Steve will get them :).