Siliconera recently caught up with Hidetaka Suehiro, a.k.a. SWERY, to talk about White Owls’ murder RPG with cats and dogs that takes place in the “happiest place on Earth,” Rainy Woods, England. Check out the crowdfunding campaign over at Fig.
Siliconera: What did you think of the new Twin Peaks? Were there any story ideas that jumped out at you?
SWERY: Japan’s only up to Episode 10 so far, so it’s hard for me to talk about it.
…But Episode 8. Yes, Episode 8. That’s all I can say for now.
Naomi, the game’s protagonist, is a character that can’t stop complaining. There are also a lot of townspeople from a handsome nurse to a narcissistic novelist to a cowardly fireman. How did you come up with all of the people in the game and what makes an interesting character?
SWERY: I’ve been making various lists ever since I started working on the game. For example, a Motivation List and Appearance List. I fill them up day by day, and they act as a massive trove of idea notes. Sometimes I refer to them for ideas, and sometimes simply making the list itself gives me ideas. Ideas don’t just pop into my head when I sit and stare off into space as I drink coffee.
Characters in The Good Life transform to dogs and cats at night time. What inspired this idea and what can you see as an learn about the world living life as an animal that you can’t see as a human.
SWERY: There are a lot of things that inspired this. For example, one night when I woke up, went into the kitchen, and saw my cat racing around like crazy. Or when I saw my dog sleeping straight through the afternoon and wondered “I wonder what kind of dreams he’s seeing?” This little everyday things build up, and sometimes appear before me as a single idea. When I’m able to catch one without letting it slip past, I instantly know that it’s something that will interest everyone.
When playing The Good Life, you’ll transform into an animal and be able to go to places you otherwise wouldn’t, find items you otherwise wouldn’t, and see events that you can only access as an animal. These things will also help you gain more money and get closer to uncovering the mysteries of the town.
Deadly Premonition and The Good Life both feature small towns. What is it about small town life that fascinates you?
SWERY: Small rural towns are fun. You get a series of culture shocks, and the landscapes are breathtaking. Also, when writing a murder mystery, they’re perfect location-wise because the death of a single person actually makes a big impact on the entire community in small towns. Of course, lives are precious no matter where you live, but the impact a death makes in the country is much different from that of a death the city.
What inspired The Good Life’s unique art style?
Swery: Thanks to one of our powerful partners, G-rounding, we were able to create a low-poly art/miniature world, which is something I’ve always been interested in. Their power of expression and creativity fit perfectly with my idea, and this is the result.
It sounds like there are many slice of life elements Naomi can do from working part time jobs, to photography to taking care of your camera, and drinking alcohol to possibly becoming dependent on drinking. How do these elements work into the game and what taboo topic are you trying to tackle with The Good Life?
Every element fits into the debt repayment/mystery cycle. Taking photos and talking to people will help you earn money and also give you story hints. If you want to make even more money, you can do part-time jobs and rent land to work on, or answer requests from townspeople. Earning money, paying off your debt, and gathering hints will push the story along.
You’re going to be living a normal life here, so it’ll cost a good deal of money. If you drink, you may be able to go on working without getting much sleep. But if you drink too much, you’ll become an alcoholic. All these cycles will be a part of the gameplay in The Good Life.
What taboo topic am I tackling? That’s a tough one. I’m not necessarily TRYING to tackle taboo topics. I simply want to include things that games haven’t touched on thus far, together with universal themes and other elements. Sometimes this mixture happens to include a few taboos, that’s all.
I just want to depict what exists in nature in a natural way. I think that purposefully trying to ‘exclude’ things from a piece is far more discriminatory.
Anyway, maybe it’s too hard to explain in words alone. That’s why I really want to find a way to make this game and send it out into the world. This is the kind of passion I’m putting into all my daily development work!
Thank you so much for your support!
I love you all!
The Good Life has an estimated delivery for Q3 2019. The crowdfunding campaign ends on October 12, 2017. You can check it out here.