Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We at Joystiq believe no one deserves to starve, and many indie developers are entitled to a fridge full of tasty, fulfilling media coverage, right here. This week, Chris Zukowski asks the tough questions about free will, terrorism and beards with his artistically charged indie (which was featured in the Xbox Live Indie Games Summer Uprising), City Tuesday.
Do you see yourself as part of a larger indie movement?
What's your game called and what's it about?
I created a small city in which every character except you relives the same five minutes over and over again. The garbage is picked up in the same way, people meet in the park the same, even the purse snatcher grabs the old lady's bag at the same time. You can just sit and watch them all go about their day or follow one guy around as he runs errands.
Then what's the goal?
Well at the same time a bunch of terrorists are placing bombs throughout the city so you have to explore the city to figure out where they are and grab them before they go off.
What's your company's name?
It's just me, Chris. I mean there is Return to Adventure Mountain but that is my old hiking blog that I turned into a site to show off my game.
So you're making a game by yourself?
Well an animator named Michael Hussinger helped with the characters but otherwise it's me. Designing a game isn't bad because I don't have to convince anyone that an idea should be included. So it is a much more personal game that has more of my own fingerprints on it.
Are there any downsides to working alone?
This game might be a bit weird and someone should have told me "no" on some of my decisions. I am worried about that. But we will see.
What inspired you to make City Tuesday?
OK, you know how people (myself anyway) always try and replay high school or dates or any other big moments over and over in their heads, wondering if they could do them better? I was thinking that's similar to how we replay Mario over and over again to get to the end. But we can't do that in real life. So I wanted to make a game with a time mechanic to engage that fantasy that we all have about getting through something in the best possible way. Plus Majora's Mask is the best Zelda.
I wanted to make the game that is a living infographic. You know those cool-looking diagrams that teach you something like figure skating, subway schedules, or the heights of the presidents?
The infographic style came in because with the time mechanic and all the NPCs running around I was giving players so much information at the beginning that they would be a little confused. So I made a really detailed user interface that is a tool because it helps you make sense of all that is going on.
By chance, do any acclaimed French film actors make an appearance?
Well Gérard Depardieu is in there if that is what you mean. It's just a cameo though.
How long did it take to create?
Have you ever grown a beard?
I went a week without shaving once, it was reddish.
Anything you'd do differently?
Include dual wielding.
A game about the rain cycle.
Would you like to be on the Joystiq podcast for an interview?
Well that's probably not going to happen. But if you were on the podcast, would you bring your banjo?
I don't know how to play the banjo.
Never mind then. Sell your game in one sentence.
I promise that you will not play anything like it this year and you can enjoy all of it without having to grind up to level 40, and it will cost less than a Crunchwrap Supreme.
When does it release?
When I am done. But again, follow me on Twitter to know precisely when it goes live.
Chris doesn't believe that people read the bottom part of interviews, so we're not going to put anything about City Tuesday down here. Instead, here's a picture of an octopus:
If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email jess [at] joystiq [dawt] com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Still haven't had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.