Interview: Talking About Mineko's Night Market's Cat, Characters, and Crafting
Image via Meowza Games

Interview: Talking About Mineko’s Night Market’s Cat, Characters, and Crafting

Mineko’s Night Market is a game we’ve seen appear and reappear over the years. Following its reveal in 2017 and Nintendo Indie Showcase appearances after, we’ve essentially seen it grow. Now ahead of its September 2023 debut, we spoke to Meowza Games Co-founder Brandi Kobayashi about Mineko’s Night Market‘s characters, cats, and crafting.

Recommended Videos

What got you into developing video games?

Brandi Kobayashi: Video games have always been a huge part of both of our lives, so the interest in making them was always there. Brent [Kobayashi] was hired as an artist at Tiny Speck, who made the game Glitch, and later he moved on to an art director position at Spry Fox (Alphabear, Road Not Taken). We had the idea for Mineko’s Night Market while on vacation and immediately started experimenting. Shortly after, Meowza Games was born!

When did you start work on Mineko’s Night Market?
Kobayashi: The earliest we started experimenting was around 2015-2016. For the first few years, it remained a side project while we had other full time commitments. By 2017, we debuted our first demo at Day of the Devs at GDC. Through the years, the project has seen many design iterations before we finally settled on what it ended up becoming.
Mineko’s Night Market first ended up brought up online back in January 2017.

mineko's night market

Image via Meowza Games

How did COVID and other issues as an indie developer affect and influence its development?

Kobayashi: Logistically, COVID didn’t present too many new obstacles, as we had already been accustomed to working from home since around 2012. As was the case for most of our peers, it has been mentally isolating as most of our social interactions came from the game dev community with the various meet-ups/cons and those were more or less shut down during Covid.

How many different characters will players encounter while at the market? How deep are the interactions, and how varied can the relationships get?

Kobayashi: Since the night market is full of activities, players will have several ways to interact with townsfolk: Barter with them as they shop your crafted wares, buy food and treats from various booths run by other townsfolk, and participate in market events such as cat races, plays, parades, and more. If the player has built up friendships with certain townsfolk, they will then barter at higher prices when shopping at the player’s booth.

Cats are obviously a big deal in Mineko’s Night Market. How did you work them into lores and puzzles?

Kobayashi: It’s been a dream of ours to make a game featuring a ton of cats since we both love them, but are highly allergic! We’ve always been fascinated by Tashirojima, the Japanese island filled with cats so when we started conceptualizing ideas for the game, this island was always at the top of our inspirations for setting.

How involved is the crafting system in Mineko’s Night Market? Are there quality of life features to help with creating items you’ve worked with before or a favoriting system?

Kobayashi: Though crafting is a big part of Mineko’s Night Market, we’ve kept the mini games as short micro games and don’t require the player to make hundreds of any individual recipe. Perfect versions of crafted items sell at a higher price at the market and failed versions of any craft can eventually be recycled for spare resources later in the game.

Mineko's Night market

Image via Meowza Games

What was the most challenging feature to implement into Mineko’s Night Market?

Kobayashi: Early in our prototyping phase, we decided to experiment with using 2D assets in a 3D environment. At this stage of development we were tweeting occasional updates on the project and in one instance tweeted a gif showing the 2D/3D environment in engine. Through this, we learned that a number of our industry friends working on games such as Knights & Bikes, Jenny LeClue, and Wild at Heart, were employing similar methods in their pipeline. Through discussions with these folks, we learned of the similar and different ways each of us were ultimately solving the same problems.

Is there any character or concept you wanted to get into Mineko’s Night Market and couldn’t, and what or who is it?

Kobayashi: One of the features we were excited about early on in development was a Cat Racing League. During the first Night Market of the game, the player gets to participate in a cat race (players riding on cats) in the market’s Main Event. When we showcased this feature for the first time at the Day of the Devs demo event, it was well received and we dreamt up the idea of expanding on this feature with various courses around the island and a ranking system to become the ultimate cat race champion. Hopefully [it’s] an idea to revisit in the future!

Mineko’s Night Market will come to the Nintendo Switch and PC on September 26, 2023.

Siliconera is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.