For our latest interview we sat down with Kinifi Games, creators of the quirky action platformer Imagine Me which tells the story of Robbe, a young boy bereft of memories, who must face his darkest fears to find out who he is. After a rocky start, the game is available on Steam, and we wanted to know what makes Chris Figueroa and his team tick!
GoPlayThat: What inspired Imagine Me?
Kinifi Games: I just wanted to make a game. I had been doing QA work and knew I was capable of something more. Imagine Me came out of learning how to deal with physics in Unity.
GPT: Imagine Me is billed as an adventure platformer. What games would you cite as influences?
Kinifi: The influences for Imagine Me are not any games in particular, but the people that made them. Tommy and Edmund from Team Meat of course were an influence. Derek Yu is also a huge influence.
GPT: The main character, Robbe, has a cool little outfit. Can you explain the significance, or is it something we have to discover in-game?
Kinifi: He is a little boy. So I wanted him to have a one piece suit with ears because little kids wear those when they go to sleep. In game you’ll learn about his life through memories you collect. The animal significance will be discovered in game.
GPT: On the Steam page you mention boss battles. Is Robbe going to be fighting, or using the environment to defeat them?
Kinifi: Of course he will be dropping stuff on shadow creatures heads and having them hurt themselves. He is a smart little kid!
GPT: In terms of gameplay, you promise collectables, hidden secrets etc. Does this mean that Robbe will be gaining extra abilities to find these secrets?
Kinifi: Robbe will gain other abilities but nothing supernatural. The secret areas can be discovered from blocks that look cracked.
GPT: Who in the industry do you most admire?
Kinifi: Josh Tsui has been my biggest help and influence during Imagine Me. Not only do I look up to what he has done for our industry, but he has been the nicest and most helpful person. We always make jokes saying he is my ‘sensei’. I wouldn't be where I am without him. Also the amount of food he tweets about makes me so hungry all the time!
Generically, I respect anyone that makes a completed game. It’s a hard thing to finish a game! The person I look up to the most is Tim Schafer. He does a great job dealing with his company, yet making his community trust him. I only can wish that one day I can work with him.
GPT: Lisen Jernqvist is doing the soundtrack, and in fact you've received a lot of interest for the theme song. What music most inspires you while you are creating?
Kinifi: (Answer from Lisen herself!) A lot of music and things inspire me, and that makes this question very hard to answer properly. I listen to a great variety of music, it's everything from indie to '60s rock and Swedish Pop. A few songs that have been on repeat in my headphones lately are; Youth - Daughter, Little Lies - Fleetwood Mac, Gårdakvarnar Och Skit - Håkan Hellström. Although the biggest inspiration for this song was drawn from the beautiful story of the game.
GPT: You have a distinctly multinational team. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working so far away from one another?
Kinifi: Advantages include working around the clock. I’ll go to sleep and Zac Duff will be working in Australia. Which is awesome! Disadvantages are I wish I could sit down and have a beer with everyone and just have gameplay sessions more often. We usually record our screens and take notes and send them to each other.
GPT: What are the major challenges you face developing simultaneously for PC and Wii U?
Kinifi: The biggest challenge is integrating Steam’s API into Unity. Now that Steamworks.net exists with huge support to back it up, this process has become a lot easier!
GPT: Can you explain the story behind the trailer?
Kinifi: Our Teaser is memories of Robbe’s life and other people’s lives. It’s just showing you simple things and saying “What if it was gone?” It’s a huge message that’s hard to convey, and to be honest, not many people have understood.
GPT: This game has been in development for a long time, having passed a successful Kickstarter in 2011. Your reasons for this delay have been explained on that page. What lessons have you learned throughout this arduous process?
Kinifi: The biggest lesson is being confident in what you do. Not everyone will like your game. The next lesson is to make sure the people playing your game trust you. I know that the people that bought my game on Steam are excited that I update it so often.
GPT: Would you use the crowd-funding route again for future projects?
Kinifi: I’m not sure. I haven’t even thought about doing it again. Kickstarter is much different compared to what it was when I pitched my game.
GPT: What advice would you give to others setting out to make their first game?
Kinifi: First, just finish your game. People will respect you more for finishing your game. Second, is not everyone will like your game. That’s okay! Make sure you are making the people that do like your game happy and everything will be okay.