I recently spoke with George Kobyakov, founder of indie game dev team The Shpufa. He has released several hit games recently, including a game we've recently sponsored called The Last Samurai, and the popular runner How Dare You. I got a chance to ask him about life as an indie game developer, his latest game Infinity Inc, and his plans for the future.
Bryce: Thank you George for speaking with us! We’re extremely excited to launch your latest game, Infinity Inc, on Dojo.com!
George: thanks for having me! :)
Bryce: My pleasure. Your studio, The Shpufa, has published games with us before (The Last Samurai). Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself and your studio?
George: I'd be glad to. Our studio was founded about 3 years ago, when I made our first game, alone. At that time I was working in a gamedev studio as an artist, but I'd wanted to be an indie for a long time. I knew about some Flash game publishing businesses and I thought it will be a nice start for me. After a month and a half of development I had our first game - Acorn Story. After launching this game I quit my job and started to make Flash games. But now our studio is just 2 people - me, as artist and coder, and my wife(!) as artist.
Bryce: That’s a great origin story! You took the plunge to follow your passion, which is definitely not an easy thing to do for most developers. And your passion for gamedev really shows in the awesome games you and your wife have built.
George: That's true. Sure, there were some hard times for a gamedev, but I'm glad we have overcome these obstacles and continue to do what we like most of all.
Bryce: That’s great that you’ve hit your stride, and I’m sure you will continue to be successful. Speaking of success, you’re launching your latest game, Infinity Inc, on Dojo. I had the pleasure of playing it before most of our readers, and let me just say: it is an amazing and novel game! I believe Infinity Inc has recently been recognized within the indie community as well. Can you tell us about that?
George: Yes, when we finished developing Infinity Inc, we wanted to gather some feedback about the game. There's one great gamedev event in Europe - DevGAMM. This time it was in Hamburg, Germany. They always have great speakers (this year they had speakers from CD Project Red about The Withcher 3, guys from DICE and many awesome indies like Threaks, Vlambeer, etc.). And they have a game contest, so we thought - why don't we participate? We submitted Infinity Inc to the contest in several different categories, and we won the "Excellence in Narrative" award. We were super excited.
Infinity Inc is shown on the big screen at DevGAMM. The game was selected for the "Excellence in Narrative" award.
George: I should note that Infinity Inc was inspired by great sci-fi novels, movies, and games. Players might recognize some influences from Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers) and Issac Asimov novels (I, Robot), and the Half-Life and Portal game series.
Bryce: Sounds like a whirlwind of an event! Submitting your game, then having it selected for an award for its story. The game’s storyline is very cool, has a great sense of a sinister yet sarcastic dystopia, conjuring up memories from I, Robot and Portal. A lot of though has gone into the story and dialogue. But the gameplay is also pretty awesome.
Send in the clones!
Bryce: Could you tell us a bit about the game’s mechanics and plot?
George: The game is a physical 2D platformer with puzzles. You're playing as a simple employee of huge corporation, Infinity Inc. The corporation discovered the clone gun, with which you can clone any object. They have one simple rule - you MUST NEVER clone yourself or other people. But, of course, you did clone yourself and everything went wrong! So, your goal is to make your own clones and then kill them to solve deathly traps along your way. The game has 5 different areas to explore and dozens of lasers and saws to destoy you .
George: Players might ask, "who made all these traps?" Well, finish the game and you'll see! :)
Bryce: Love it! The whole concept is very unique. Are there any easter eggs or funny stories behind the game development that you’d like to share?
George: Like most other developers, we just love to put small easter eggs in our games. And sure, this time we also have a few of them. For example, I challenge players to find an ester egg from the "Lost" TV show. I'll give you a hint - it's HUGE.
Bryce: Your more intrepid fans will surely be looking out for it. Infinity Inc has a lot of style, polish, and personality, and I’m sure everybody will enjoy the game immensely.
Bryce: What’s next for you? Are you going to continue the Infinity Inc story arc, or any other future plans?
George: Currently Infinity Inc is our all-time favorite game that we have made in our 3 years of gamedev. Thus we'd like to extend the story and improve the game to make it even better. We still have a lot we'd like to add to the story, and I believe soon there will be a sequel for this game. Of course, our main goal is to release this game on Steam. In this way we could provide the best gameplay experience for the players. But now, while we're having a little respite from the Infinity Inc story, we're preparing a new game for the web - it's an idle-clicker game called Clicker Squad.
Bryce: Seeing Infinity Inc on Steam would be fantastic. I hope people who read this and get a chance to play the first episode agree!
Bryce: In 140 characters or less*, tell us a bit about the upcoming Clicker Squad!
George: It's a mix of Tap Titans, Tap Heroes, and Clicker Heroes. Evil sprits have taken control of 10 Kings in the kingdom, and your squad must take back the kingdom! Upgrade heroes, use magic, and kill thousands of monsters. :)
A preview The Shpufa's upcoming Clicker Squad
* Yes we know, this is over 140 characters.
Bryce: I’d definitely play that! :D
Bryce: George, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview! It’s been fun talking with you. We’re really excited to launch Infinity Inc with you, and I’m sure others will really enjoy it as well! Best of luck to you with all your future projects.
George: Thank you! It's also a big pleasure for us to launch on Dojo.com for a second time!