In our most recent interview we spoke with Sean Hogan of Analgesic Productions, the company behind the acclaimed RPG Anodyne. Sean offered some advice to those attempting to ford their way across Steam Greenlight. He discussed the development process including his uniquely successful marketing. Finally, it was revealed that should there be enough interest, he may add mod support to Anodyne.
In Anodyne, you explore and fight your way through nature, urban and abstract themed areas in the human Young’s subconscious, evoked by a 16-bit-era visual style and a moody, dream-like soundtrack.
The player moves between rooms 160×160 pixels in size, an intended constraint that we used to create the monster-filled dungeons you will navigate and the set of nature-based (and sometimes stranger) places you will explore.
Indie Game HQ: First off congratulations on getting Greenlit. How does it feel to have finally made it through?
Sean: A big relief! It was always a worry, whether or not our launch and subsequent events would be enough to get us through Greenlight…and now that weight is off our shoulders, I just need to do a good job with releasing the game on Steam now.
Indie Game HQ: What advice can you offer to other developers currently trying to get through Greenlight?
Sean: Have a lot of faith in your game, contact as many people as you can but be honest about it, and be prepared to do a lot to get your game noticed and played, even if it seems sort of extreme initially (like The Pirate Bay thing).
Indie Game HQ: Prior to working on Anodyne, what have you both worked on?
Sean: I worked on a bunch of really small and crappy flash games, before that I had done a little bit of Cave Story and The Underside modding. Jon has been doing stuff with Game Maker and other tools for his whole life, but I believe this is the first large project he’s finished.
Indie Game HQ: Looking back, what major challenges did you face while developing Anodyne? What were the best and worst moments during development?
Sean: Probably just motivation. In the middle to late summer, it seemed like we were just working eternally on this and finishing all of the content we had planned, but somehow by setting enough milestones, the motivation remained! The best moments were probably releasing the demo and people liking the game, finishing the game (initially), and all of the positive reception and people playing the game after release. But development was filled with a lot of nice moments, like seeing an area come together with the gameplay, music and visuals, which kept us motivated.
Indie Game HQ: From your initial vision for Anodyne, has the game differed at all, or is it exactly what you had hoped to create?
Sean: It has differed. Anodyne was originally planned to be a lot more surreal, with little to no written plot but similar gameplay. This proved too hard to pull off, but I think the game is much better off as it is now.
Indie Game HQ: Upon completion of Anodyne, what do you want the user to remember the most about the game?
Sean: The world of Anodyne. I hope the strange juxtaposition of areas sticks in their mind a bit, and that if they think back to the game, they will make connections with the experiences in the areas, Young’s character, and the overlying written plot of the game.
Indie Game HQ: The Pirate Bay torrent has certainly drawn immense attention for your game. Were you surprised by this coverage at all?
Sean: I was surprised we managed to get the opportunity to do it, but the coverage from the promo was not super surprising, since few game developers have done it before, and it was such a worldwide promotion!
Indie Game HQ: So what lies ahead for you guys? Any chance we see Anodyne receive new content?
Sean: Jon and I are in early planning for our next game, I’m still swamped with Anodyne stuff but am trying to flesh out my ideas, as is Jon as his schoolwork recedes. Anodyne will not receive any new content as I think the game world is fine as is, but I might possibly add some janky mod support for custom levels if people really, really want it!
Indie Game HQ: Thanks for your time. Is there anything you would like to add for our readers?
Sean: Nope, that’s it! Check out the demo if you haven’t, or pick it up now or later on Steam!
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