Andrew Shouldice has been sharing a new project of his called Secret Legend on Twitter recently. He’s picked up a little bit of attention based solely on how the game looks after only two weeks of work on it. It’s brightly colored, low-poly, and stars a cute fox with a sword and shield.
Siliconera wanted to find out more about Secret Legend so we reached out to Shouldice to accomplish that. He speaks about how he left his job to work on Secret Legend, his fondness of triangle-seeking adventures, and tells us about his little fox.
You said that you quit your job to make Secret Legend? What made you take the leap?
Andrew Shouldice, developer: Peer pressure, mostly. Actually it was a lot of things. I felt I was in a “now or never” sort of situation at my old job. I had entered Ludum Dare a number of times before and done well. I started wondering what I could pull off if I spent not just a feverish weekend on something, but some feverish months. My friends started asking “so when are you going to ‘go indie’?” Like everyone, I had a swirling cloud of game ideas in my head, and the pressure of it was getting to me (My employer, Silverback Games, took care of me very well for the past six years and are now down a person. Just sayin’).
Had you already planned out what Secret Legend would be, then, or did you come up with it once you had left your previous job?
On the first day of my unemployment, I opened up Unity and made a new project. It’s been three weeks now, and the cloud is still a cloud, but it’s started to condense into something real. I’m excited about it! The response to what I’ve shown has been heart-warmingly positive, too. You’re all wonderful. <3
I keep notebooks; I keep a Tumblr of things I find inspiring; I’ve scrawled “wouldn’t a game with ___ be so cool?” in a bunch of places. I guess those things aren’t really planning, but they’re the concrete version of that cloud analogy I’ve been over-stretching (I’ll stop now).
What’s the basic concept of the game?
Secret Legend is an isometric single-player adventure that holds certain classic triangle-seeking games as important touchstones. I have a special nostalgia for exploring vast, inscrutable worlds that offer precious few helping hands. That exciting vastness is special. The hope: others (many?) possess similar old notions. Journey into mysterious caves. Riddles and wonder! Friends, or ruthless denizens?
Who’s the fox? Do they have a back story at all? Also: why a fox?
You are the fox. The idea is that the ambiguity of the main character will allow more people to identify with the fox. That’s not to say, however, that there isn’t a reason for you to be in this world. There might be some other critters out there who can help you figure things out.
How are you handling the combat? I see you have a sword, shield, and a basic roll already implemented?
Triangle-seeking games have swords and shields. The roll is an example of the player’s agility. Some of my favourite moments in later-day triangle-seeking games have been tense duels where that agility is critically important.
Do you plan on letting players customize the fox at all? Or are you trying to play with as few elements as possible, perhaps?
This is an example of something that I’ve only briefly considered. I’m a programmer by trade, so I’ve had to impose a bunch of aesthetic limitations in order to keep the scope of the art something I can accomplish. But people like hats, right? Maybe there will be a hat.
What platforms are you currently aiming to get Secret Legend out on?
The game uses a modern controller, but I don’t yet know what that controller will be hooked up to in the end. I’m open to suggestions.
Are you hoping it will be able to fund further projects? Or have you not planned that far ahead?
Come say hi to me at GDC! I’m @dicey on Twitter. ❤ ❤ ❤