Just recently we had the opportunity to do a Q and A interview with Bare Knuckle Development´s Ste Wilson. So Kenay (TGG) asked Wilson questions about everything from game development, video game memories to questions about the video game industry and their upcoming game The Flawless: Art’s Tale (which is a side-scrolling RPG adventure for Windows, MAC, Linux and PS4). With that said, please enjoy!

Kenay TGG
What inspired you to get into the gaming industry?  What was your biggest influence growing up?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
I’ve loved everything to do with games ever since I played my first text-based game on an Amstrad PCW. I love games on all consoles, from all genres, AAA to indie. I’ve avidly followed the progression of the industry through the years and often mark my life events with games that I was playing at the time. My mum is a programmer and taught me the basics when I was about eight. I started writing text-based games on my green-screen Amstrad CPC-464 with my brothers and loved making stories change depending on the route you took through the text. I dreamt of making a game with a world to get lost in, deep characters and an epic plot but at the time didn’t really know how. As I got older I started working as a web-developer for a publishing company and making simple flash games freelance which naturally progressed into making simple mobile games.

I decided I wanted to experience more of the world, so I started teaching and travelling. I took my Playstation 3 to every country I moved to, even China where consoles were banned at the time. Year on year I wrote down ideas for plots, designed characters, wrote music for a game I longed to make. I started to play games like Limbo, Botanicula, Sword and Sworcery and Pixel Junk Monsters, games that were made with obvious passion and creativity but the mechanics and logic behind them seemed achievable for someone like me. Thomas was Alone was so simple and showed the power of narrative but it wasn’t until I played Child of Light that I decided the time was right to finally make the game I’d wanted to make for years. Child of Light is story driven, has a beautifully crafted world, and interesting characters, it is more than just inspirational to me it set a standard of what we want to achieve with our game The Flawless: Art’s Tale.

My dad is an artist and graphic designer and my mum a programmer so I grew up in a very creative environment surrounded by technology and art. In terms of games my biggest influences were games like the Dizzy series on the Amstrad and pretty much every game on the Sega MegaDrive/Genesis. I remember playing Mega-Lo-Mania and loving unlocking tech levels and outwitting the enemy with clever troop development. Toejam and Earl, Earthworm Jim, Streets of Rage, and the Sonic series were all favourites of my brothers and mine. Then came Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation and it changed the way I thought of games forever. The story telling and provocation of emotion reminded me of the text-based games of old and made me realise that this is what I want to do with my life, I want to make something that came make you feel some many emotions and tell such a deep story.

tony and steve

Ste Wilson – programmer, sound, artist, designer. And Tony Leavy – writer, artist, designer, media Bare Knuckle Development.

Kenay TGG
How much easier is it to develop games now compared go 15 years ago? What goes into the process?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
For me it’s a lot easier now. 15 years ago I was making games using ActionScript and Flash. Now there are so many tools to help with game development and Unity3d with C# support is amazing. 15 years ago the internet was still young, many people were still using dial-up connections, and even Facebook didn’t exist. Game development was isolating, after making a prototype you’d get unreliable, biased feedback from a few mates and your mum. Now there’s a huge online community, you can work with people in different continents and loads of people can give you more reliable feedback. I feel like game development is becoming a much more social process.

Kenay TGG
So what’s the inspiration behind the name of your company? How did I that come about and what does it represent?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
We had a lot of ideas for company names but ‘Bare Knuckle Development’ felt right. It comes from the idea that we are never going to give up, we are going to fight for our dreams. Also when you are holding a joypad your knuckles stick out and make a semi fist shape which led to the imagery behind the Bare Knuckle logo. All this is kind of ironic because gaming is a pretty passive activity.

Kenay TGG
Can you weigh in on what you’re making that we should be looking forward to? Can you give us any idea of if there’s a console release coming?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
We are currently working on The Flawless: Art’s Tale, a sidescrolling RPG adventure about a young boy called Art desperately searching for his pet cat, ‘Mr Dirty Paws’ in a brutal and greyscale world of cats. The game is in early development but is really starting to take shape. The story is epic with loads of twists and turns and the player’s decisions will affect the outcome. We want the player to have emotional experiences, highs and low, throughout the game. We are working on making the gameplay both challenging, fun, and original.

The game will feature two types of baddy, machine baddies which Art shoots with his huge array of ammo types requiring quick reactions and a good aim, and living baddies which require strategy to fight in turn based battles a la Final Fantasy. These two baddy types allow for some very interesting gameplay, for example in a boss battle you may have to shoot away the bosses robotic armour to release the living being and fight it in a turn based battle. We intend to release the game on PS4, as well as PC, Linux, and Mac, whether this will be simultaneous or after the PC launch depends on a number of factors.

the flawless arts tale poster

The Flawless: Art’s Tale is a side-scrolling RPG shooter for Windows, Linux, MAC and PS4

Kenay TGG
Do you think games are inclusive of all beliefs and accepting of both sides of the spectrum? Do you think games are only for boys?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
I think games are extremely diverse and there is something for everyone. There needs to be more development in technology to allow gaming to become more inclusive and give better access to people with disabilities. In regards to games being only for boys I don’t think this is true at all, Bare Knuckle Development if 50% male, 50% female and Tony is a bigger gamer than most of the men I know.

Kenay TGG
If you got to work with a person from the history of gaming who would it be? What would you most want to learn from them as a game developer?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
In terms of the AAA industry making games is team effort. We’d love to work with people from Ico Team or From Software as they create original, iconic games filled with atmosphere and creativity. It would amazing to learn about the process of making these massive games. When it comes to indie games, studios can often be a single person. We’ve met so many cool people making some really cool indie games over the past few months. If the opportunity came up to work with any of these people or companies it would be awesome. Big Cow Studios creator of The Last Time, Nikola Kostic creator of Albert & Otto, and Killmonday Games creators of Fran Bow are all inspirations to us.

the flawless arts tale poster early art

“The Flawless Arts Tale” looks like a mix of “Paper Mario” and “Limbo”.

Kenay TGG
What can we come to expect from your studio? As far as output, team work, and narrative?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
Our game The Flawless: Art’s Tale, is still in early development with a likely release in 2017. Up until then we’ll be putting out regular blog posts about the game and the development process. Posting images, animated GIFs, tunes, and videos showing you some of our content. Keeping those interested up to date with the game’s progress on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. We really want to take our time with this game, it has been a lifelong dream and we want it to be perfect, the best it can possibly be. We’ll also be posting on our blog about other indie games we are excited about and think deserve your attention, and writing Retro Roots articles about games that have inspired us.

Kenay TGG
What’s your opinion on the subject of your competition are you worried?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
We don’t see any game or developer as competition and we are certainly not worried about this. We love games, we want to play games as much as we want to make games. Games are pretty much our life and we see other developers and gamers as a community that we are part of. Without other games both indie and AAA we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing, they are a huge inspiration and we want to help them get their amazing creations out there too. When we see other indie developers doing well with great games its encouraging and gives us confidence in what we are doing. There is absolutely no sense of rivalry, competition, or jealousy we are so happy for them and feel proud to be part of this creative community.

game diversity

There is plenty of diversity to be found in games nowadays (male as females).

Kenay TGG
Do you think games are diverse? If so have you ever felt that they exclude certain feelings in their context?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
Video games are a massively diverse art form, I think I have experienced every emotion at some point of my life as a gamer. From the sadness of Journey and ‘To the Moon’, to having my heart ripped out in ‘Final Fantasy VII’ and ‘The Last of Us’, to the emotional rollercoaster of ‘Heavy Rain’ and Catherine games have the potential to make you feel so many emotions. Because games include so many forms of media; story, music, graphics, interactivity, there is so much scope for an emotional experience. We really want to exploit this in the games that we make.

Kenay TGG
What would you say to someone looking into becoming a game developer who doesn’t know where to start? What’s your best advice for them?

Ste Wilson Bare Knuckle Development
I am not sure I am in a position to give advice at the moment but I will try. I think it is important for people wanting to build a game to firstly analyse their skillset honestly. Can you programme? Can you use graphics software? Can you draw? Are you good at writing? These kind of questions will help you figure out where your strengths lie and which areas you either, need to learn more in, or find someone to collaborate with. Research the different tools available for games development, Unity is a good option for those who can programme, the Unity add-on Adventure Creator is great if you can’t. Once you’ve figured this out don’t procrastinate too much just start making you game. Find online communities to support you and share your experiences with. All the time keep working on the game, there will be doubters and trolls but don’t give up, making games is far from easy but it is hugely rewarding.

tgg author avatar kenya peterson
Kenay Peterson
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheDark_Mage

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