For the last two weeks, I have written a preview article for Cotton Candy Cyanide´s sci-fi/psychological thriller/romantic visual novel “Quantum Suicide” (for Windows, MAC, Linux and PS Vita), and I also played through both the “Quantum Suicide” alpha demo and the Prologue alpha demo. So I figured that it would be a good idea to do an interview with the creative talent behind “Quantum Suicide” to make the Gaming journalism circle complete (preview article, gameplay videos and an interview). Well, done and said! Because Cotton Candy Cyanide took their time to answer every single question that I had for them =)

Robin TGG
Could you perhaps tell us a bit about who and what Cotton Candy Cyanide is all about? Because I sure would love to get to know the creative talent behind “Quantum Suicide” =)

CCCN:
Cotton Candy Cyanide is a game dev studio on the Gold Coast, Australia. We are currently a team of two PhD students that have a passion for gaming and one day decided to give it a crack ourselves. This is our first title, but I am having so much fun making this, that it will definitely not be my last.

cotton candy cyanide

Cotton Candy Cyanide is an all-female Australian indie game studio.

Robin TGG
How exactly did “Quantum Suicide” came about? Was it the kind of game that you have wanted to do for years? Or was it something that just happened over some brainstorming?

CCCN:
I am sure everyone has experienced the emptiness that happens after you just finished a really really good game, and you almost wish you could forget that you had played the game just so you could play it again. I had just finished the second Danganronpa and couldn’t find anything to fill that void. I had already played VLR and 999 and wanted to play something similar. That’s when I realized we shouldn’t just complain about the void, we should try to fix it! And so, CCCN was born and so was our first title, Quantum Suicide.

quantum suicide kickstarter

“Quantum Suicide” kickstarter has collected over $41,000 on Kickstarter so far. And there is still 38 hours left to go on the campaign.


Robin TGG
Since I missed out on your first Kickstarter campaign (sorry, my bad!), I can´t really relate to the criticism that people have forwarded to me after my first “Quantum Suicide” Youtube video. Long story short, “some” of your backers claim that the original “Quantum Suicide” Kickstarter campaign focused heavily on a very creepy atmosphere (Sci-fi horror/thriller vibes). And that the game virtually had nothing to do with any ecchi or dating related content. In other words, there are those who claim that “Quantum Suicide” got transformed into a complete different game in the second Kickstarter campaign. What´s your take on that?

CCCN:
It is definitely and interesting take, and I for one and a huge fan of conspiracy theories, so I am flattered to be a part of one 😛 But to be completely honest, nothing has changed since the first campaign other than a bigger push on social media and that we released the prologue beta. The game is still the same as it was and if I could show you the story boards without spoiling the game, I could prove it! If I was to rank the themes in order of what I believe to be more important, I would say that the Sci-fi Horror is first, closely followed by the romance which helps bring a bigger impact to the sci-fi horror elements when you start building relationships. So unfortunately, the answer is boring but nothing has changed.

quantum suicide a lewd moment

Some of the “Quantum Suicide´s” backers didn´t like that the game had been turned into an ecchi-light novel (they based their thoughts on the first demo and the second Kickstarter campaign).

Robin TGG
I also noticed the following text on “Quantum Suicide´s” Kickstarter page:

“While Quantum Suicide does not contain any adult content, there will be a certain amount of ‘ecchi’ or suggestible content.”

So my question would be the following. Where does Cotton Candy Cyanide stand in terms of “fanservice” and “ecchi” content? And will “Quantum Suicide” be an “ecchi light” kind of visual novel game?

CCCN:
We have played a fair amount of visual novels and dating simulators, and deep down, we quite enjoy a little bit of fan service. We draw the line at fan service for the sake of it! At no stage do we write our characters around fan service, but instead have fan service happen naturally as it would to suit the character is certain situations.  We use it as a device to show intimacy between characters and even to invoke embarrassment and even jealousy. Quantum Suicide will be an ‘ecchi light’ visual novel, but at no stage is the ecchi content intended to be the draw card, rather the cherry on top.

Robin TGG
I would also like to ask another question on the same subject, since you’re all female development studio. Do you think that female game developers can get away easier with “ecchi” and “fanservice” content than males? You know, without getting accused of “sexist game design” or “sexist game characters”? Sure, some would probably just state that “sex sells”, but I thought of another thing the other night. It seems like “some” people automatically presume that games of this kind are just made for straight males. My point would be this, there are plenty of bi-sexual and lesbian Gamers out there. So I bet that they would enjoy content like this as well (like the panty shot moment in your game, for example).

the witcher 3 sexist game design

“Sexist” game design Vs “Feminst” game design.

CCCN:
Now this is an interesting question. I don’t think we can get away with it easier than male developers but I base this only on the reaction we have received from Quantum Suicide. We have received numerous complaints claiming that we are misogynists and that we are holding women back from advancing. This being said though, I am not sure whether they know we are a female development group and so I can’t tell you if that is an impacting factor. Although I can understand their concerns, we have made a very concerned effort to ensure that our use of ecchi and fan service is equal between our representations of both women and men in the game.  We have also included court-able options with differing sexual preferences because we believe it is important to allow gamers of all sexualities to find characters they can relate to. I do believe that a lot of people assume that games with sexualized content must have been made by men, but hopefully as more women enter the industry this will become less common.

Robin TGG
What went wrong with your first Kickstarter campaign? And what did you change in the re-launch campaign of Quantum Suicide on Kickstarter? (since the second try became a success).

CCCN:
The first campaign was a mixture of poor timing and bad luck. We decided to start the campaign to coincide with a local conventions completely forgetting that December means Christmas, and Christmas means the worst time ever for a Kickstarter. Not only was timing against us, but I personally lost internet due to ISP infrastructure issues for almost 2 weeks and so was trying to update from my phone’s internet connection. This being said though, regardless of if being a failure, we gained the best fan base anyone could ever have asked for and that it’s really why we have done well the second time!

quantum suicide characters

Don´t hold your breath though, because drama will sucker punch you in the face when you least expect it.

Robin TGG
Are some of the characters in the game based or inspired by real people? You know, like friends, family and famous people? Personally. I have to say that Shizuka is my favorite character so far, because not only is she a Gamer. She´s also very unpredictable xD

CCCN:
Yes, most of our characters are designed off people we know. It always makes it a little easier to understand a character and their motivation when they are sitting next to you in real life. Beatrix for example is based off my sister-in-law. She is blunt and pretty and she knows it! She always makes jokes that if we hooked up it wouldn’t be cheating on my brother (who she is married to) as that we share a bloodline. My favourite to write is the captain Kimiko. She is so stern and in control, but also quite the softy with a sense of humour if you can break through the captain persona.

Robin TGG
I couldn´t help to notice that “Quantum Suicide” has a really talented crew, for example. Ygor Lisboa aka Danzilla (lead artist), Owen Carson (background art), Luna Chai Li (the maker of the GUI and Quantum Suicide´s logo), Wojciech Wojnowski (the maker of the soundtrack) and a handful of awesome Japanese voice actors. So how did you find and get everyone together?

CCCN:
It was pretty much months and months of sifting through deviant art posts and Lemmasoft forums trying to piece together artists from around the world to make the image in my head come to life. Although we spent the time finding people to work together on the project, the real credit should go to the artists that gave us a chance, a game dev with no previous works and just an idea, to make this project come to life.

persona

“Person” are just one of many games, which has influenced ” Quantum Suicide”.

Robin TGG
Which games, movies, animes, mangas and books have inspired Quantum Suicide? The Persona series are one of them right?

CCCN:
Absolutely. The main influences would have to be VLR, 999, Danganronpa and an anime and live action series called Lair game. As for the romance sections, I am drawing on Hakuoki and the Tokimeki Memorial series. We really enjoyed in Persona 4 golden the use of social links and relationships that could then positively impact directly on your party and their abilities when inside the TV which influence you’ll be able to see when your relationships with the other members impact your playing of the deletion games. So, Quantum Suicide is mixture of all different influences. This is why when people ask what kind of visual novel it is, you get a list that seems awkward together; A Sci-fi psychological thriller puzzle romance, with a sprinkle of horror elements.

Robin TGG
I guess that I´m not overreacting when I´m saying that there has been a huge boom of visual novel games as of lately (especially on Steam). Is there any particular reason behind that you think? And have you always been interested in visual novels? (haven´t visual novels existed since 1986?).

CCCN:
I have always personally been a huge fan of visual novels, text adventure games and point and click adventure games, so it is absolutely wonderful to see these styles of games getting a bit of exposure and more titles on Steam.  I think maybe the recent push in Indie games have made a more accepting market of these style of games and it is really refreshing to see. Not everyone likes the same style of games and so having something for everyone is really important if we want gaming to grow.

quantum suicide the everett

Shoji Amasawa is the mastermind behind Quantum Suicide´s “The Everett” spaceship.

Robin TGG
If I´m not wrong now, Shoji Amasawa designed “The Everett” ship right? The reason why I´m asking that, is because I heard that Everett is inspired by Discovery One (the spaceship from Stanly Kubrick´s “2001: A Space Odyssey”). Is that correct? Because I think that there are some similarities at least.

CCCN:
He absolutely did! And yes he was inspired by “2001: A space Odyssey”. When we went to him, we gave him very little to work with, with us simply requesting a spaceship, that can carry 150 people and that has The Everett written on it somewhere. We must be designer’s worst nightmare. Here is what he said about it:

”The inspiration for this was the works of the great Derek Meddings, the spaceships which appear in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the game series Dead Space.” – Shoji Amasawa

Robin TGG
What did you feel when you find out that “Quantum Suicide” had been fully funded on Kickstarter? And did you expect “Quantum Suicide” to become as successful as it was on Steam Greenlight? And is it correct that the game is set for a late 2017 release to Windows, MAC and Linux? (what about mobile devices?).

CCCN:
When Quantum Suicide hit 30K of funding I cried. I am a happy crier, but don’t let that fool you, it is unattractive as hell! As soon as we reached funding, I put up an update thanking everyone then I got an ice cream from McDonalds to celebrate! Greenlight was amazing and we didn’t expect to get Greenlit in less than a week of putting it up. I know of games that have spent eternity on Greenlight waiting for the magical email that says yes and so I can’t thank all of those who voted for us enough!

The game is set to release mid 2017 on PC, Mac and Linux. At this point, we don’t have concrete plans for mobile devices yet, but we are considering it along with the possibility of a PS Vita release. These releases would be expected in late 2017 to give us time to correctly port over and test correctly before launching.

dota2

MoltenCherry LOVES “DOTA2”.

Robin TGG
I heard something about MoltenCherry (one of the devs behind “Quantum Suicide”) being an HUGE fan of DOTA2. Is this true? If so, has that had any impact on “Quantum Suicide” in terms of influences and such?

CCCN:
I am a HUGE Dota 2 fan. I usually play a few games a day, often with my younger brothers. We live in different states and so playing games together keep us close and in contact. We say that a family that ‘dotes together it totes together’. Terrible yes, but it works for us. As for influences on Quantum Suicide, I would say very little. The only think that happens is that while I am coding and it’s just crashing, I sometimes randomly shout “Kunnnnnkkkka” because TideHunter is my favourite hero and I can’t be angry when thinking about him.

Robin TGG
I´ve been told that “Quantum Suicide” will offer a lot of death and blood. So are you trying to achieve the SSDD (Sierra sudden death syndrome) of visual novels? Meaning, will a lot of people die? And how many different ways to die are there?

CCCN:
A lot of people will die; you, your loved ones, the character that you don’t particularly like, some tragically and some in hilarious ways. We have quite an array of ways to kill people in a closed off space ship. I would say that we have more than 2 handfuls of deaths in planning as well as have a KickStarter tier that allows backers to write their own deaths and have them put into the game as well! So our deaths are not only restricted by our creativity!

sierra sudden death syndrome

Just like in Sierra´s “Space Quest” series, “Quantum Suicide” will offer a lot of death scenes.

Robin TGG
Which video games do you love the most and why?

CCCN:
Impossible mission – Dying in video games usually suck, but not in Impossible Mission. If you fall down a hole, the character makes the best dying yell noise ever. Not to mention that you are on a time frame collecting puzzle pieces! That sounds great to me!

Maniac Mansion – There will always be a soft spot in my heart for point and click adventure games. I just loved the puzzle elements and that feeling of your heart dropping when you accidentally get caught by one of the aliens and put in the dungeon.

BattleField 1942 – Everyday after school I used to come home and play this with my Dad. It was always hilarious, because we would play as only one person, with one of us controlling view and shooting and the other one controlling movement and jumping. Lets just say, we never topped the leader board. My favourite moment would be when we were flying a plane and my dad pressed a button that changed us from pilot to passenger and couldn’t work out how to change back, we crashed into a mountain =)

Virtues last reward – Death, Puzzles and Intriguing story line? Yes please! Must I say more?

Dota 2 – Some people would argue that DOTA is a horrible game filled with toxic people (my room-mate being one of them) however, I love it and it I dream about it! I just want to play another game, perfect my last hitting, build a different item because the spread sheets show that it would be advantages. No game is ever the same as the other, and although losing sucks, winning is all that sweeter when you know the pain of loss! Sometimes you are in a team of idiots, sometimes your someone else’s idiot, but sometimes, you are in a pub match with straight up champions!

Robin TGG
Are there any specific games that you´re looking forward to this year?

dead or alive xtreme 3 fortune 4

Digital booty, sex and naked skin are a big no no nowadays.

CCCN:
Dishonoured 2, Recore, FFVX, Thimbleweed park, Day of the Tentacle remastered, Harvest moon seeds of memories and Pokemon Go.

Robin TGG
Why do you think that people are making such a big deal out of nudity, sex and naked skin in video games? Especially when it comes to women? (male nudity doesn´t seem to matter all that much).

CCCN:
I don’t think the problem is women and nudity (I think, I could be wrong here) I think the problem is objectification. Strong female characters who flaunt skin and their sexuality like Bayonetta are in a whole different league than female characters with no name or substance being used as ‘decorations’. Bayonetta is a character in her own right, yes her hair is magical and she wears it as clothes, but that doesn’t make her less of a character. She is strong, witty and kicks angel butt! She even has her own animated movie! Compare that to female characters that don’t even get given names…This being said, I think it is just as important to look at representations of both male and female characters in video games critically. Both men and women play video games and so skewed representations of either gender shouldn’t become the norm or accepted as average.

quantum suicide a lewd im a space sailor

Cotton Candy Cyanide hopes to create more than “just” visual novels in the future.

Robin TGG
What plans does Cotton Candy Cyanide have for the future? What´s next after “Quantum Suicide”? And will you try releasing other games than “just” visual novel titles?

CCCN:
The dream is that Quantum Suicide will be well received and that after it is done and dusted, we will have a good reputation for writing and storytelling. From here, I would love to continue writing visual novels, but would also love to try my hands at dating simulators and point and click adventure games! Don’t let the dating simulator idea fool you, I am not a ‘slice of life’ kinda girl, so it wouldn’t be a traditional dating simulator =)

tgg author avatar robin ek
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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