This week, we chatted to South Korean indie developer REMIMORY about his latest game, graphic design, and guppy fish.
You can check out our review of REMIMORY’s D.N.Age right here.
REMIMORY is just one person – you! How do you find working alone? Does it affect the creative process? Do you end up drawing on the skills of other people?
Yes, REMIMORY is a game development team consisting of one person at present. In fact, I hope for colleagues or teammates… But it can be very difficult. I’ve created a lot of games with colleagues, but, it did not go well. So, I am now working alone.
I work on the programming and directing. I’m not a graphic designer. So, graphics are usually outsourced. You see each game’s graphic designers in the credits sections on here. But outsourcing has some limitations. So I am learning the graphics. I had a background graphic in Color Symphony 2.
Doing development alone has several advantages and disadvantages. I can try a variety of things without delaying development. There is freedom on all selections. But so much needs to be done, all alone. Development, marketing, taxes, contracts, releases, interviews, exhibitions… A lot of mental and physical training is required. [Laughs] In fact, I endured a very long race to be released on the Wii and the Xbox One. In retrospect, I’ve developed indie games for 11 years, which has been a wonderful experience.
We first discovered your work playing Color Symphony, where the art style is incredibly distinctive. In D.N.Age you go for another distinct, but very different, style. What led you to choose these particular styles? Do you think that art style should reflect the content of a game?
That’s a good question. I basically like several styles. This is determined based on the atmosphere of the game. The Colour Symphony series is dark and moody. So I chose a more realistic style for D.N.Age, with a bright atmosphere and, from initial planning, the anime style. That anime style helps dramatize the cute characters.
The one similarity between the two games is the focus on unusual game mechanics. Would you say this is the most important part of a game’s appeal, for you?
That’s right. This was the starting point when I created both games. I feel happy when I create something new with a game’s mechanics. But I realized, unusual game mechanics alone do not guarantee the fun of the game.
The mechanics of D.N.Age are particularly interesting, with a DNA system being used to craft new monsters. How did you come up with this?
I raised guppies.
Guppies have many different types. But it’s bred by people. It does not exist in nature. I was interested in this. Is this really possible? So I go and study. Finally, I reach genetics. And I felt an interest in genetics. So, I created a game based on DNA.
There’s a video that discusses guppy genetics and you can see the main D.N.Age genetic systems right there.
D.N.Age is a game featuring battles between cute, evolving monsters… it’s difficult not to make a connection with Pokémon. Is this something you were conscious of as you built the game? What other pieces of popular culture would you say you drew inspiration from?
Originally, D.N.Age was an online mobile game. But there were issues with a publisher’s agreement. So it was changed to a stand-alone game, made between 2011 to 2014. In the beginning, I started making it with 3D graphics. But for various reasons the game has changed. Originally, this game was a DNA-focused monster-collecting online game using DNA system. Its inspiration is obtained from the guppy fish.
More generally, we’d love to know how you became a games developer – what path did you take to end up crafting these games?
I’ve been gaming from a very young age. And naturally I wanted to become a game developer. My first console was a Mega Drive (or Genesis), second console was the Sega Saturn. Basically I lived on Sega games. [Laughs]
I like the Sonic games. That hedgehog’s the reason I often make the high-speed platformer game.
How long does it take you to create a game, from start to finish? Are there any parts of the process that you find frustrating?
It varies depending on each game. For instance, Color Symphony took 13 months, Color Symphony 2 took 10 months. D.N.Age, on the other hand, was 3 years in the making.
As I said, I can’t do graphic design, so I was not able to invest in that. I hit the limit of graphics resources during development. It’s difficult to solve this problem, every time. I want to develop without having to worry about graphics resources.
Do you think there’s enough support for indie games developers such as yourself?
Nowadays the situation is fine, because we can self-publish. So we can sell the game. When I first started developing, there was no place for selling. But marketing is very difficult. This support is weak. But, it can’t be helped, I don’t think. I’m studying a lot lately, in order to survive in the games market. [Laughs]
Thanks for your time.
And thank-you for yours.
You can pick up REMIMORY’s D.N.Age on Steam right now.