Unskippable Credits: Insert Disk 22 Interview

Cyberpunk with a side of logical thinking.

Point and Click games are usually acknowledged as a genre that resides in this sort of convoluted bubble of twisted conundrums that have to be solved in a really odd way in order to progress. Monkey Island, Grim Fandango and many others are just some examples of this genre. But the magical thing about indie development is being able to offer different approaches to a genre. Welcome to the first entry of Unskippable Credits, where we interview some of the most interesting developers out there in order to show the world their creations. Today we had the chance to interview Insert Disk 22, the people behind Born Punk, some questions about being an indie developer, as well as the key for a successful Kickstarter project and how they want to approach the Point and Click genre.

Unskippable Credits Insert Disk 22 Interview 3.jpg

TheLootGaming: Could you tell us something about Born Punk?
Insert Disk 22: Born Punk is a classic point and click adventure, a cyberpunk game, and a story about a woman down on her luck trying to earn her way back into the safety of a corporate job in the better parts of town. That’s before she gets infected with and by a rogue AI, that is. From there on, things take a slightly more… dramatic turn than what she hoped for. We’re trying to build a wholesome cyberpunk universe with lots of details around this storyline, and hope to entice gamers with our story and puzzles alike. Perhaps with a little bit more focus on the story, though.
TLG: Tell us something about the people behind your studio, Insert Disk 22.
Insert Disk 22: We’re a bunch of people from all over the world. I’m the founder and the one who came up with the concept of the game, and am currently living in Australia. Then we have Indrek, who is a pixel artist from Estonia; Jean, who is a concept artist from the Czech Republic. We have Kelly supporting me with our lore and correcting my at times horrible grammar mistakes, from the USA. There’s Javier, Guatemalan-born and now living in Hungary, composing a couple of tracks for Born Punk. There’s also ‘Greetings Program’, producing even more tracks – we do want to put a lot of focus on music in our game. Linsay Rousseau, also from the USA, is voicing our main character Eevi, and last but not least, we have another yankee on our roster, and that is Jeff Kurtenacker – an American composer best known from Wildstar and World of Warcraft. Huh. We are actually quite a lot of people by now, I didn’t even realise that.
Unskippable Credits Insert Disk 22 Interview 2

From top left to bottom right: Falko von Falkner, founder of Insert Disk 22; Jeff Kurtenacker, composer; Linsay Rousseau, voice actress (voice of Eevi); Indrek Plavutski, graphic artist and Jean Czerny, concept artist (not featured on the picture but also part of the team: Kelly, lore writer and Javier, composer).

TLG: Why did you think the cyberpunk aesthetic was the best one for Born Punk?
Insert Disk 22: I’m not sure if I would classify it as the BEST, it’s just that I am a huge fan of the cyberpunk genre. Cyberpunk reminds us that giving huge corporations too much power is never good – as we can currently see with social media companies, who are trying to control what we can hear and say – but also, that there is a future with awesome technology ahead of us. Truth be told though, a big aspect for me is also that cyberpunk characters look friggin’ cool, I’m shallow like that.
TLG: Many people believe that being an indie dev is a job that doesn’t have any issues
whatsoever when we know that’s not really true. What would you say it’s the hardest thing about working as an independent developer?
Insert Disk 22: Definitely finances, no doubt. The freedom an indie dev has is paid for by the constant need to think about how to pay for A, how to finance B, and how to afford C. At least in my case. I have little to no talent when it comes to animation or music, so if I created those things myself, the end product would very much be sub-par. Don’t get me wrong, I love working with the people I’m working with, but crunching financial scenarios takes up much more time in my head than I would like it to.
TLG: Kickstarter is the go-to option for many people who want to find financial support for their games and projects. Could you give us some tips you believe are essential for a Kickstarter project to reach its goal?
Insert Disk 22: It’s a bit early for me to give other people advice on this, seeing how our own kickstarter at the time that I’m writing this isn’t even live yet, but I DID get a lot of positive feedback so far. Perhaps I can expand on this based on said feedback: it’s all about putting yourself out there, screaming at the world that your project exists. In a figurative way, of course. You don’t want to annoy people. What you actually can’t do though, is waiting for someone to notice you. The gaming market is very much oversaturated as is; it doesn’t matter if marketing/PR is something you like or not, it’s something you HAVE to do. Actively and pro-actively. It does help that I have made a lot of genuine friends on YouTube over the years, with their own channels. I expect them to be able to give the Born Punk kickstarter a big boost when they start making their videos on the game.
TLG: Point & Click titles are notorious for implementing crazy solutions to simple puzzles, yet your team wants to make Born Punk more logical in terms of answering puzzles. How are you going to do this?
Insert Disk 22: By keeping the puzzles firmly rooted in reality, even if it’s a futuristic reality. As an example, the main puzzle in our kickstarter demo involves Eevi trying to cure her hangover. Her faucet has stopped working, so she can’t get enough water to drown her hangover pills in. It is very clearly raining outside though, so in order to fill up her glass, she will have to fill it with rainwater. Not outlandish, but also not immediately obvious. Her cat is blocking access to the window, but can be persuaded to move away by bribing her with fish. Again, not outlandish, but for some, maybe also not immediately obvious. That’s the way I want to structure puzzles going forward: looking for solution that don’t require 5 convoluted steps, but rather deducing what could work in the real world.
TLG: Finally, where and when we will be able to find Born Punk once it starts development?
Insert Disk 22: Development has already been underway for a couple of months now! We hope to release the game within a 12 to 18 months timeframe. It will be available on Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, and Android. So pretty much on all notable gaming platforms out there.
And there we go. As you saw, Mr. von Falkner and his team sure know what they are working with, and it’s great to see developers confident in their work. Not only we will have with Born Punk a narrative-rich experience, but we will also face different solutions to the same issue, a feature that was some of the things that made me stray away from the old titles of the Point and Click genre. And keep in mind that the Kickstarter is out on February 5th, so be sure to offer some of your golden doubloons to the project if you are interested!
Hope you enjoyed our first entry of Unskippable Credits! Are you a developer looking for a moment to share your work with the world? Do you know someone who has experience as a developer eager to share the struggles and moments of glory in the life of a game blacksmith? Be sure to contact us, and stay tuned on the next Unskippable Credits. And as always, keep on ‘devin’!
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