(BLOGGERS PICK) Cinders Game Review and Developer Interview 3


Mr. Tom Grochowiak

What inspired you guys to start this project?

We wanted to make a visual novel (the name of this genre of games) since quite a while. We’ve played a lot of indie developed ones and loved them, but most gave a bit of an amateurish vibe and didn’t really offer much choice in shaping the storyline. We started to wonder if it would be possible to release a VN that would be more up to modern indie game standards, and with all the choices left to the player. Gracjana (the artist) came up with the Cinderella retold concept. I added the feminist angle. When we launched our indie studio, this was a natural choice for our first project.

Were there any roadblocks or challenges upon production? if so what were they?

Oh yes! Cinders was meant to be done in around half a year. Took a year and a half. Turns out big shocker that writing a script the size of two average novels takes plenty of time. Who would have thought? We’ve had problems finding a writer who would be able to dedicate that much effort towards a single project. The significant delay made us have to stretch really thin (we lived on our savings) to survive and eventually launch the game.

Were any of the characters revamped attitude inspired by anyone in real life?

Yup. The character personalities and their issues especially in the Cinders family are based on the people I know in real life. I’m not telling who’s who, though. I want to keep my friends :).

Did you guys use to work for another game company?

I worked for CD Projekt RED on The Witcher for a while. Then I moved to Codeminion a small independent company making pretty cool casual games. That’s where I’ve met Gracjana and we quickly became good friends. The company changed its focus after a few years and our whole development team was laid off. Instead of looking for another job, we decided to give indie a try.

Visually, it seems like you guys were aiming for the traditional story book like art, having said that, how was the experience of putting everything you guys planned into art?

It was lots of fun! We knew what we wanted, so things just fell into place one by one. Gracjana is an amazing and very efficient artist. We also have that level of rapport, where what she draws looks exactly like what I had in mind, without us even talking about it too much.

What did you guys hope to bring to the gamers with Cinders?

We’ve had several goals. We wanted to make a game that’s personal as opposed to epic. Focused on problems one can relate to instead of being another story of saving the world from alien threat (we love classic games, but some alternative is always nice to have). It was also important for us to create a mood that the players can sink into really feel like they are inside a fairytale. And, above all, we wanted to make a game where you actually shape the story and the protagonist’s personality with your choices.

Did you guys have any concerns while making this? What I mean is, were you guys worried how well people would accept this kind of game where most gamers look for games with the best graphics, great action, gore, etc.

Not really. Visual novels are a pretty established genre, and we knew were targeting a niche. Besides, gamers are not stupid. Almost everyone loves awesome graphics and the exhilarating joy of fast-paced action. But it doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate something different every now and then :).If anything, we were afraid how the visual novel community is going to react to the game’s art style, as its not anime, which is usually the case in the genre. The game also touches some serious issues and we were worried if we can pull it off without sounding overly preachy or simply pretentious.