I was lucky enough to travel to Curve Studios, based in London, to interview them and Jasper Byrne, the man behind indie-hit Lone Survivor.
During this interview, you’ll find out answers to hard-hitting questions revolving around ducks and horses.
Making my way to Curve Studios in London, I got completely lost and managed to make a 10 minute walk (allegedly, if Rob the marketing manager can be believed) into a 40 minute walk in the rain. Fortunately, the interviews went much better than my poor attempt at walking in the right direction.
Firstly I spoke with Jasper, with his brother Nick joining for the latter half of the interview, about Lone Survivor and how it came to be.
Speaking of difficulties that he faced when incorporating a sense of atmosphere and horror in a 2D retro-styled game, Jasper stated that it wasn’t as hard as it could have been as he had experience previously with Soundless Mountain II, his Silent Hill 2 demake.
Showing us a portion of the game on his laptop, it was easy to see that Lone Survivor is heavily inspired by Silent Hill 2, down to many little things that can affect the outcome of your journey. We won’t speak about them here as they are for you to find out, but if you’re familiar with Silent Hill 2 then Jasper is sure that you’ll pick up on many references.
What is most impressive is that Jasper completed the entire game within roughly 30 hours for a competition.
Next we asked Jasper whether or not he would have liked a larger team to work with on Lone Survivor, as he created almost entirely by himself. Jasper feels that although having a big team allows you to do more in general at a faster pace, he enjoyed working on Lone Survivor mostly alone as he felt that he was in control and could take it wherever he liked.
Being a game close to him for personal reasons, he didn’t feel restricted working alone, although Curve Studios helped him on the business side of things in getting it to PS3 and Vita.
Jasper’s father passed away not long before he began working on Lone Survivor, which is dedicated to him, and this helped him to convey a sense of desperation and loneliness found in-game, as well as the overall horror element. In-game, your character will need to fend for himself by fighting off monsters and gathering items and food, something that Jasper found himself relating to after the loss of his father.
Having now created Soundless Mountain II and Lone Survivor, both games with dark tones, Jasper is now working on a game called New Game +. It will be an isometric dungeon-crawling RPG revolving around you picking a class and venturing as deep into the world as you can, but everytime you die, you’re back to square one. It pulls inspiration from Dark Souls, so expect it to be punishing.
You can play as 1-4 characters at one time, all of which can be controlled solely by you or with the help of local people. Be warned though, you’re able to throw your clothes at enemies as weapons so there may be a lot of naked characters in your future.
As horror games are designed to scare the players, we were curious as to whether or not Jasper had ever been scared by his own creation. Although he was familiar with the entire game, due to the amount of content packed into it Jasper had forgotten some things that managed to catch him off-guard at a later date. The game managed to make me pause the game multiple times to gather my bearings, so I can’t even imagine how it must’ve been to work on in the early hours of the morning. Jasper hopefully worked with the light on!
Lastly, we asked both Jasper and Nick a joke question to wrap things up, and the question was ‘Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?’, with the answer surprising us firmly in the 100 duck-sized horses camp. Jasper claimed with 1 giant duck, you’d be able to take it down from the knees as it’s a weak point, and Nick agreed with him. Must be developer intuition!
We’ll be publishing another interview shortly regarding Lone Survivor and porting games over to Vita and PS3, but this one will be with publisher Curve Studios so keep an eye out! In the meantime, give our Lone Survivor review a read.