NetherWorld is an indie, pixel-art game in development that one half of MyGameStory Towers is a kickstarter backer of and proud Netherholic! James was hooked from the moment he watched the first trailer and read about the fun, the different and the down right bizarre vision, Hungry Pixel Studios had for NetherWorld. We talk about the conception of the game, past influences and why I should be talking about sex with old people.
Hi guys! James from MyGameStory here with some questions. I appreciate you taking the time to speak with us.
Hi James! I’m Daniel Barreno, a video game lover, Engineer, currently developer and designer at Hungry Pixel studio and creator of NetherWorld.
I’d like to start by asking, why an Octopus? (or Jellyfish after the recent Civil War at HungryPixels Towers)
Hahaha first of all, just saying that I was a committed jellyfish supporter from the start, so I’m extremely satisfied with the final result. Medoo’s design (NetherWorld’s main character) is probably the most random character creation I’ve done. I drew a bunch of pixels here and there to have a basic dummy to try different mechanics on it, and after animating it… I liked it A LOT. So yeah, that’s how Medoo was born.
Could you tell us a little bit about the background of the game as a whole, why did you decide to make Netherworld?
It all started in 2016. I had just finished Undertale, and it had a deep impact on me. Without a doubt, this is one of the best games I’ve ever played. I’d taken part in the development of an indie game before, so I decided to create an original story with simple game mechanics. At that time NetherWorld was horrible in terms of graphics, but when Erien (Isabel Armentero) joined the project she improved the previous designs and made lots of new ones, multiplying the quality of the game.
Regarding the story and the world, I had already created most of the characters and had some ideas for the game story, but they needed to be integrated in a consistent and thrilling plot with eccentric dialogues. And Albert Serra was the perfect person to do it. So this is how Hungry Pixel is working nonstop to bring you this crazy and dark story, much better now than when I started on my own!
Were there any games or stories that influenced you in the making of Netherworld?
I was deeply influenced by games like “Undertale” as a whole, and also by the story of “To the Moon”. But my references are not only from games: NetherWorld desert was inspired by Sergio Leone’s films (“For a Few Dollars More”, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”…) and the NetherWolian Church and some of its characters, for example, were created listening to the music band Rammstein (specially with their song Morgenstern).
At MyGameStory we’re all about the stories behind games and gamers. Netherworld has such an intruiging premise, can you tell our readers a little bit about the story facing our Hero in the game?
Medoo handles a marriage crisis depression after his wife apparently leaves him with no reason, so he decides to drown his sorrows in alcohol in the town’s bar. But that’s only the beginning: In that bar he’ll meet some… quirky characters that will involve him in a dark and crazy story. All of them will evolve in many ways during this curious journey.
Speaking of gamers, as gamers yourselves, what are your memories of games and any in particular that are special to you or have a personal story behind them?
There are several especial titles I’m particularly grateful for, and I’m sure without them I wouldn’t be here doing this interview: One of them is Metal Gear Solid. I enjoyed all the saga, but the first ones marked me especially. It wasn’t usual to play such a cinematographic game with and amazing quality in both playability and narrative at that time.
So, just how much sex, drugs and odd characters is there in Netherworld? Should I avoid playing this game with my Grandmother?
We see NetherWorld as an opportunity to talk about social taboos without complexes like sex, drugs, alcohol and many others. All in a satirical and funny way, but avoiding trivial or sensationalist points of view, especially regarding to sex. In real life, people fuck. Why our protagonist and other characters shouldn’t do it? We also wanted to explore different ways to understand sex: Maybe just to have fun, to get over your previous relationship, or maybe somebody else forces you to do it. This means a lot in terms of character and story evolution.
Regarding to your grandma: Old people are human beings with physical needs too, so we don’t understand why this issue is constantly censured in our society. In NetherWorld we’re gonna talk about sex with old people. In fact, you’ll be able to do that in the game. So don’t consider playing with your grandma… You MUST play with her!
Your Kickstarter campaign was great, you had over 500 backers and you raised more than double your target. How does it feel to know there is already plenty of excitement about Netherworld?
We’re so grateful for all the support we received from our 505 Kickstarter backers (thank you Netherholics!). Without them, NetherWorld wouldn’t have been possible. We also want to thank all the people who had some words for us through Twitter and Facebook before, during and after the campaign.
Is there a feature or something about Netherworld that you are particularly proud of or excited for people to find out?
We’re putting all our efforts into taking care of even the smallest details in both narrative and graphics. If I had to choose the features I’m most proud of, they’d be the world aesthetic and character development. All we want is to assure the best narrative experience possible, and to make players feel NetherWorld is a real (and strange) land.
There have been some fantastic pixel-art games released in the last few years, do you think this style is here to stay or it’s just popular now?
Oh, I love pixel art! In my opinion, its purpose has changed a lot since its origins: From the unique way to run a game in a console, to be an option for a game style, as well as 3D, illustration, cartoons, etc. And no, a pixel art game doesn’t have to be a retro game: Being an art style means that you can use it in many different ways, improving it, combining it with other styles, innovating with it. Pixel art can be (and I think is) a modern style too!
Finally, what are your top 5 games of all time?
Tough question… I’m gonna say 5, but I could mention 20 games I think they have the same or more quality than these ones: Metal Gear Solid, The Legend of Zelda (any of them), Undertale, Dota 2 and Metroid. Oh, and I also wanted to mention some less-known games like Men of War and Total War.
Thank you very much for your time answering these and we wish you every success with Netherworld.
Thanks James! It’s been a pleasure to answer your questions, and hope we can show you new and cool stuff from NetherWorld soon! 🙂
Speaking of cool stuff, the loading bar is literally a bar.
When the loading bar is literally a BAR 🍺
— NetherWorld (@NetherWorldGame) October 11, 2018
So there we have it! NetherWorld is planned to be released in 2019 on PC and the Nintendo Switch.
Linked underneath is the Kickstarter trailer that I loved, their website, Steam page and Twitter.