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Posted October 12, 2015 by Andrew Cathie in Feature
 
 

Disparity Games Interview: Part 2


The thrilling conclusion to Andrew’s interview with Jason Stark of Disparity Games is here!

 

Rocket Chainsaw: It’s great seeing a game come out with a female protagonist, when so many publishers and investors seem to be pushing against female main characters in games.

Jason: Yeah, you definitely notice that, I mean there’s been a lot of people that have been very receptive and I feel that we got noticed a bit more because of it. There’s definitely a friction or a pressure, pushing you away from it in many ways. We noticed that we have to keep a very close eye on the Steam community page, because you get crazy threads that appear. Like, tin-foil hat style crazy ones appear and that’s just because we’ve got a female protagonist and the game is kind of nice. It’s something like a tax that you have to pay. If the game was just a shooter, with a guy and a gun and you shot things you just wouldn’t have that. Everything would just be a little bit easier, people would know which box to put your game in and you wouldn’t run into these issues. Because nobody jumps onto a page and talks about how a shooter is the same as everything else and it makes them sick. I mean it hasn’t been too bad, but it’s a bit sad that this is what happens.

I can understand publishers, because they’re obviously very risk averse, going this is a risk and we’ll have to pay this cost, so maybe we just won’t risk and just have a dude with a gun.

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RC: From what I’ve heard in the past, working with family doesn’t always work out well. How did that turn out for you?

Jason: Oh it’s awesome, absolutely awesome. Now that might sound sarcastic, but it’s really not. It was hard figuring it out, it wasn’t like, ‘Day One, this is awesome,’ it was a mess and it took some figuring out. Nicole, in our first year of development, did a talk and it was titled, ‘I Hate Your Face: Working with the ones you love and loving the ones you work with.’ And that was basically the story of us figuring it out. But you know, we did and it was awesome. You know, like Raven, she did the 2D art for our game and for the first couple of days of release we had a feature slot on Steam and it was her artwork. She’s 18 and that’s amazing to do that together.  Even our little kids, who aren’t actively involved with developments, but they help with testing the games. Over the weekend Brisbane had a game jam and we were invited down to be judges and so the little girls got to be judges at a game jam and were handing out prizes. That’s just their life and that’s awesome. It’s just a shame that it’s not practical for everyone in the games industry to do it. I mean when you work in a studio, your family leads a really separate and mysterious lives and they grow up so fast because you see so little of them. I mean, to compare it to this, it’s just as magical as it sounds. It’s as good as it sounds, it’s tough to work out at first because it very different and everyone winds each other up and pushes each others’ buttons. Because no-one pushes each others’ buttons like family, but once you work that out it really is magical. I recommend it.

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RC: What’s next for Disparity Games?

Jason: We have a few ideas kicking around and we’re going to see what organically grows. We’ve been kicking around the idea for a sequel, Ninja Pizza Guy. He’s kind of the opposite situation as Gemma, his home life, his family is terrible, and he does not have a friendly home support base. He actually works for the baddies, he’s one of the bad ninjas, but that is his homebase, that’s his social network: the friends that he works with. It’s almost like the opposite issues. We’ve covered that, dysfunctional families could be coming.

Everyone says that it’s so hard to come up with original ideas in games, but there are so many things that aren’t touched upon. I once had the idea of creating a game where you begin the game hungover. You’re a ninja, but you’re old and a bit fat, and you begin the game drunk and hungover and that’s how the tutorial is played through. We gradually take you through what you’re meant to be doing as you’re sobering up.

We also have some other ideas, which aren’t even ready for me to talk about really, but we’re just going to talk to people and see which ones are received well and take off. I mean it’s all really organic and kind of loosely organised for us. But definitely more games, strange games with things that people don’t normally put in videogames and hopefully they’ll be fun and a little bit funny. I hope that they make people think. No, I don’t really want to make people think, I want to make them feel. All the feels.

I just really want games to be a thing beyond a distraction. Journey is the perfect example. We just want to keep making games like Journey. Journey is almost the perfect example of what we want to be. Probably with a few more words though, because we like words.

RC: That’s great to hear, that’s something that I feel I want in gaming. I want more developers in gaming to be taking a different tack and bringing something different to gaming, instead of doing the same thing over and over.

 

We would like to thank Jason for taking the time to speak to us at Rocket Chainsaw! For further reading on Ninja Pizza Girl and just how the game is helping to bring bullying to light in an interactive medium, please read Andrew’s review.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.


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