The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Guns of Icarus

Being a giant, beloved video game site has its downsides. For example, we sometimes neglect to give independent developers our coverage love (or loverage, if you will) as we get caught up in AAA, AAAA or the rare quintuple-A titles. To remedy that, we're giving indies the chance to create their own loverage and sell you, the fans, on their studios and products. This week we talk with Howard Tsao, Founder of MuseGames, about his steampunk airship title Guns of Icarus.

How did you or your company get started?

We started exploring the virtual world and 3D chat spaces for a different company, and we became an early adopter of the Unity engine. Along the way, we saw avatars wearing less and less, and decided that we didn't have it in ourselves to push the boundary further in that direction. So we took what we learned with Unity to start making 3D games for the web and other platforms, which is what we are really passionate about.

Why did you want to make games?

It really is just passion and the belief that we can add something new to the world of gaming, whether that something is game play, visuals, etc.

Why be independent rather than try to work for someone else?

Being independent gives us the creative freedom to explore and take risks. We are also a small team, and being independent gives us some reprieve from the burden of big bureaucracies and allows us to move at a faster pace, or at least a pace we are happy with.

What's your game called, and what's it about?

Guns of Icarus is a game that takes place in an apocalyptic steampunk future. It is a unique combination of first person shooter and time management in a richly detailed setting. You play as a privateer ferrying goods across treacherous airspace. Protect your airship and yourself from an onslaught of pirates, and safely reach your destination to reap the rewards.

Do you feel like you're making the game you always wanted to play?

Definitely. All of our fundamental design decisions are based on the elements of gaming we really enjoy, and I don't think we could work any other way. Interesting co-op is one of those elements that is important to us as players, and made a big impact on the way we designed Guns of Icarus. This also means we're often our own harshest critic, so we're really excited about each new title, and the opportunity it affords us to get closer to our perfect game, if there is such a thing.

How long did it take you to create?

Guns of Icarus took us about 4.5 months to create and about another month to test and fix things.

What are you proudest of about your game?

We're always proudest of the players who absolutely love what we make, and especially the ones who demand even more from us. Guns of Icarus definitely wouldn't be where it is without their feedback and support.

What one thing would you tell someone to convince them to get your game?

Steampunk airship, pirates, big guns.

What's next?
Our latest game, Creavures, is currently out on Steam and Mac App Store. It is a family friendly puzzle platformer set in a magical bioluminescent forest. You play as tiny, cute creatures called Creavures. Each Creavure has a unique ability, and you have to use them in tandem to solve puzzles, advance through the game, and ultimately return the forest to light. We are also working on a sequel to Guns of Icarus, which will add robust PvP, PvE, crewing, and economy to the original. It will also be much bigger in scope.

Want to check out Guns of Icarus for yourself? You can find it right here.

If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email justin aat joystiq dawt com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Still haven't had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.