Behind Gaming Interview

This interview was originally published at Behind Gaming in July 2020. This is the full, English version, where we work through our post-game-release-disorders.
Enjoy.

First off – congratulations on the successful release of your game, Resolutiion!

Thank you, for picking it up and asking me some nerdy questions about it ;-)

How do you describe Resolutiion?

Ah, let’s start with the obligatory elevator pitch, shall we?

So, Resolutiion is a retro inspired action-adventure, set in a future not too unlike ours: the Infinte Empire is at war with the Tribes, that protect the mysterious Cradles. You’re playing Valor, an old assassin tasked to escort the AI Alibii into enemy territory.

That’s the boring part. The fun part is that nothing is as it seems, as you fall into the rabbit hole: in Resolutiion you will be chased by giant cats and meet God at the bottom of the sea, all on the backdrop of a very dark tale.

Which were your influences behind Resolutiion development process?

We’re kids of the 80s, so obviously we turned to the early Zelda games as often as we needed some inspiration or a clue on how to design a level or mechanic. Since this is our very first video game, we had to learn everything from scratch, mostly by studying the games we enjoyed the most.

Later many modern games added to the pool of inspirations, like Sword & Sorcery, Rain World or Hyper Light Drifter. I think it’s fair to say, that we’re clearly and solely inspired by indie games, striving for unique charm above trends and quick marketing capabilities.

The pixel art at the game looks great with all the tiny pixels blowing away when you kill

someone. How did you decide it? Was it hard to create it?

Well, thank you. When we set out to build a video game five years ago, we had no idea how to do anything. The main idea was Zelda as a Sci-Fi game, and the questions: how would Sword & Sorcery look with plenty of colour …

From there, most things emerged by accident, or trial and error.

The music in Resoluttion is amazing. How did you chose the soundtrack?

It is, and we could not be happier with it. But truth be told, we didn’t chose the soundtrack; the soundtrack chose us, hahaha.

We’re obsessed with music, but had no portfolio, no experience or any budget for a professional artist. Lucky us, Gerrit Wolf, a local composer was looking for a challenge in the field of video game music. We met and decided to work together under one condition: 100% creative freedom and the promise, to finish and ship the whole projet, no matter what.

Based on a few screenshots of each level and a rough outline, Gerrit repeatedly descended into his basement/cave, and emerged three month later with a plethora of synth and beats from another world. And we loved it.

You started Resolutiion development back in 2015. Now, five years later. Are you satisfied

with the game? Was it what you expected at the beginning?

Oh God, yes! Resolutiion is so much more than we ever anticipated it to become, in scale, quality and feedback. Our initial scope was around one fourth of what it eventually became, and art, writing, mechanics and music evolved beyond anything we could imagine, when we set out.

That’s probably the coolest part about any project that seems larger than life: you start at zero, learn something fresh, move some steps. Then you go back to the start and do everything again with everything you learned; and repeat, and repeat, and repeat …

Resolutiion is another manifest of what a tiny group of humans can achieve, through persistence and determination.

Has been over a month since the game was released. How’s been people’s reaction to the game?

Hands down, it’s amazing. We never set out to create a simple, accessible game, but one for the truly determined gamers, who love to peak behind every corner and leave no stone unturned. Players that expect Resolutiion to be just a fast, pretty hack ’n slash will not get a lot from it.

But those who are looking for a deep story in a strange and mesmerizing world have a blast: some fans have already deciphered 98% of the lore, set up wikis and helped each other out with the late game riddles — for us observing this curiosity is pure bliss.

I know you and your brother are the founders of Monolith of Minds. How did you decide to

become indie developers?

So, in 2015 Richi was working on his PhD as a physicist, but got a little bored with the same experiments over and over again. So he surfed the web, found this new game engine called Godot, and explored it’s feature set.

At the same time, I was crafting a few short stories, to improve my writing. Then, through many conversations and even more coffee, these two interests merged into one, taking us on our journey to discover the realm of indie development, spanning half a decade.

What do you think about the indie gaming industry in Germany?

Since we’re so fresh on the scene, I’m not really familiar with a lot of German endeavors. This is certainly an area where we’ll do our homework now, since Resolutiion has been released, and we have a little more time on our hands.

I’m also wondering about the term “indie developer”, which seems to be a catch-all phrase for solo developers up to 30 people studios with decades of experience …

Can you tell me a little bit of Monolith of Minds history? Where did the name come from?

That’s a lovely question: as probably every creator or entrepreneur knows, naming is absurdly hard. We were already struggling with our game’s name for month, and when we had picked it, we realized that we also needed a studio name, asap.

So we had a look at one of the short stories, that influenced Resolutiion’s world, called The Last Website (lastwebsite.io), looking for catchy phrases or inspiring words. There, in chapter three, it says: “I joined the movement that believed survival was tied to the survival of machinekind. My own, best contribution became Alibi: Haven to a monolith of minds.”

Those last words simply sounded like the perfect name for a weird studio with an uncertain future.

Which is your favorite indie game so far from 2020?

While 2018 and -19 have been a blast for indie game fans, 2020 is a bit thin on outstanding gems so far. Still, some recent highlights have been:

The Red Strings Club, which plays very slow but is absurdly intelligent in telling its transhumanist story of androids and emotions.

Valfaris, because laser-swords, exploding bio-robots and Heavy Metal in space are simply a perfect recipe for fun.

Cloudpunk, because everybody wants to race through the 5th Element’s skyscrapers …

Children of Morta, not only due to its not only due to its out-of-this-world pixelart, but also for finally adding some story the the rogue-lite genre.

There you go. Hopefully your readers pick some of these sweet time-wasters up. Thanks for the interview, and all the best with your blog’s future.

Monolith of Minds

Monolith of Minds are Richi and Günther, two angry German brothers, telling stories from the Red Code, one frame, one line of code at a time, one line of copy at a time, since 2015.

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