“Project Light” caught Siliconera’s attention recently due to having cute character design and turn-based combat – two features we’re always drawn towards.
Unfortunately, Project Light is so early in development still that there aren’t many details about it online to dig up. So, in order to find out more about the game, Siliconera caught up with the game’s solo developer Kamel Benlahrech to ask some questions.
He discusses his dream of making games since a kid, his love of Japanese culture and media, and gives us some insight into what the game is about, and how exactly it is cyberpunk when it doesn’t seem to fit the label.
We also got some exclusive drawings of the main characters in Project Light by Benlahrech. You can see all of that below.
How did you start out in game development? Have you got much experience working on games? If so, what?
Kamel Benlahrech, solo designer: I’ve been dreaming of making games since I was a kid. Started to learn programming very early but, actually, I never thought seriously about making a living as a game developer until very recently. My studies and first jobs have not much to do with video games: I was a web developer.
I launched my indie games studio neko.works back in December 2012. Started by making a few mobile apps, but my first actual game was released only a year ago. It’s called “Night Riders“, a 3D motorbike racing game inspired by the classic “Hang-On” from SEGA – I used to play that game at the arcade when I was a kid.
It seems that you’re also a fan of anime judging by your website and Project Light. Is this right? Do you have any favourite anime / manga / Japanese games?
I absolutely love anime, manga and the modern Japanese culture as a whole! Even started to learn Japanese around 10 years ago in hope to finally being able to play all those J-RPGs that never got translated. I’m not quite fluent yet but I always watch anime, read manga, and play Japanese games in Japanese. My favorite manga is Berserk – not really the same mood as the cute art I’m working on! Recently I’ve been playing games such as Labyrinth no Kanata and Bravely Default on my Japanese New 3DS LL.
We don’t know much about Project Light at the moment. Is it possible, then, for you to explain the game’s plot and introduce the main characters for us?
The game starts with the main character “Haru”. He is a male, by the way! Anyway, he is dreaming of vast green plains and a clear blue sky. It’s scenery we might be used to, but he is not, for the world he lives in is deep underground. After messing up with the empire soldiers that rule this dark society, he will embark on an epic journey and discover the mysteries of the world. Teaming up with many allies, including a mysterious silver-haired girl that is key to his quest.
And how have you divided the varied play within the game – how much is conversation? How much is battling and exploration?
The game is story-driven. My main attention in the early stages of development has been on the exploration of the cities and the story events. My goal is to have lots of secrets and story branches. For the combat, I’m planning for simple-to-understand yet hard-to-master mechanics. There will be no one-hour-long tutorials in sight!
As it’s such a core part of the game it seems worth going into a little more detail. So, how will the battle system in Project Light work?
A bit early to talk about the combat system specifics as they aren’t yet fully designed. It will be a classic, turn-based system. Right now, there are two kinds of combat scenes: The dungeon combat is random and occurs inside the environments with no transition. These are fast-paced and do not disturb the exploration. The other kind of combat is the boss battles, which occur in separate arena-like environments, with a close up view on the characters and dynamic camera angles that make these fights more spectacular.
You describe the game’s world as being cyberpunk but the environments in the screenshots don’t seem very cyberpunk to look at. So what makes the game cyberpunk?
I’ve not showed much of the actual cities of the game. Most of the screens shared so far are from the snowy “deeplands”, the lowest part of this world (a cold, abandoned place where no one is supposed to live). The reason being simply that I’ve started working on that section of the game first. More cyberpunk shots in the upcoming weeks!
How much room is there for player exploration in the environments and story line? And will there be multiple endings?
There will be many secrets in the exploration part, with hidden story events and even hidden playable characters. Some secrets are important enough to influence the game’s ending. The number of endings have not yet been decided. There will be a good re-playability value for fully completing the game.
Are you confident that you’ll be able to bring the game to all the platforms you’ve listed for it so far? Which will you be bringing the game to first?
Unfortunately, it will be too hard for me to release the game on all of those platforms day one. I will have to prioritize depending on the popularity and complexity of those. Nothing have been decided yet but, in the end the game will be released on all.