Do you like catching things and no we don’t mean these hands or what you caught during spring break. Earlier this week, we shared with you our review of Lychee Game Labs’ game Patch Quest.
While Augusto was reviewing Patch Quest, I had the opportunity to interview the game’s creator and developer Liam AKA Lemon. The questions below include questions that we came up with to ask Liam:
For those who have never heard of your game, how would you pitch it?
Patch Quest is all about exploring a dangerous, maze-like island. All of the island’s monsters can be tamed, letting you ride them and use their skills. And all of the island’s plants and minerals have their uses as well. You’ll need to be resourceful to reach the deepest parts of the labyrinth.
What would you say inspired you when developing this game?
The game is a blend of genres that came together gradually over time as I drew from a bunch of different inspirations. The basic gameplay resembles Enter the Gungeon or the Binding of Isaac. But the monster-taming element feels more like Pokemon or Super Mario Odyssey.
The graphics were influenced by the varied and colorful levels of Hohokum. And there’s a tinge of comedy to the world, inspired by One Piece. The game’s long development period let me gradually blend a lot of influences into something pretty unique.
What made you choose the patchwork art style for the game?
The patchwork world is a nod to the randomization found in roguelike games. Every night, the land splits apart and shuffles around, presenting you with fresh challenges.
For the art style, I tried a bunch of different things before settling on a smooth vector style. They’re easy to see when the camera is zoomed out, and they let me easily include loads of bright colours.
Would you recommend people take on projects as solo developers?
I think that if you can find a small team to work with, it’s probably a better way to go. You’ll have more fun bouncing ideas off each other, and you’ll all be able to specialise on your strongest skills. It also spreads the risk across you all! But if you can’t find teammates, it’s certainly possible to create a solo project if you have enough dedication. Just be sure to take in lots of feedback as you go!
Did you ever consider bringing anyone else into to the project to help?
My friend has been making the music for the game, since I have no musical talent. And that’s been a huge help! But when it comes to the other elements of game development, I’ve tried to do it all myself (to keep my costs down, more than anything!)
Was there ever a time when you considered scrapping the project or restarting it?
Actually, I did scrap and restart the project after nearly 3 years of development! I jumped into making this game immediately after leaving university, and it took a long time to develop all the different game development skill sets.
Even after 3 years, I’d only just gotten a strong handle on the basics and my game was pretty crap. So I rebooted development, streamlined my ideas, and drilled down on the game’s most unique element – the monster riding!
If you had to redevelop the game from scratch, would you do anything differently?
I’d probably put an even stronger emphasis on the monster riding, with monsters of more different shapes and sizes – and encourage hopping between them more frequently. However I’ve already redesigned the game from scratch one time, and I’m super happy with how it’s turned out – so I’m not in much hurry to do it all again!
Now that the game has been released on PC and the overall positive reception, when can we expect the game to release on other platforms?
I can’t confirm anything right now, but watch this space :)
Once the game has been released on other platforms, are there any ideas or plans for DLC?
For now I’m planning to add a bunch of additional monsters in free updates, and I’ll be taking in ideas from the community as I design them. Beyond that, I have a couple of ideas for DLC and there’s definitely still places the game could go.
Once people finally started getting their hands on the game and enjoyed it, how did you feel? What emotions were you feeling?
It felt like a huge wave of relief! I spent so much time working on this project that I ended up feeling a lot of doubt and worries about the future. That’s one of the big risks of being a solo developer.
But I made a point of growing a Discord community as early as possible, so I could gather real feedback from real gamers. And this helped guide the development, over time making the game become genuinely fun. But even despite this, the response since launch has been pretty overwhelming!
Is there anyone special you’d like to thank?
In particular, I’d like to thank my parents for supporting me all the way through this journey, even though it didn’t seem to be working well for the first few years. Without their support I wouldn’t have been able to build the skills needed to develop this game. And I’d also like to thank everyone who has played the game and given feedback, because that’s what allowed me to keep pivoting and keep improving the game’s design.
What’s one positive and negative thing you learned from the development process?
I learned its really difficult to make a game people enjoy playing. You need to learn loads of skills, and also need a strong design for you game. But I also learned that there’s loads of people out there who love to try out new things, and give their feedback to help you grow. So if you’re serious about making games, there’s ways you can overcome all the challenges!
If you ever develop another game, do you plan on remaining the sole developer or bringing on additional staff?
I’d love to bring in a few extra people – but employing people in the UK is very expensive! So I’m probably staying solo for at least one more game. But hey, who knows what the future might bring?
Are there any plans for a Patch Quest Sequel?
For now, I’m focused more on post-launch support. I’m a bigger believer in perfecting the game that exists than starting a whole new sequel. But one thing is for sure, I’m going to continue making games!
Have you checked out Patch Quest? If not, you should check it out – it’s available now on PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Microsoft Windows (through Steam).