Interview with Ben Archer – Co-Founder of Bishop Games (Creators of Light Fall)

Michael sat down with Ben Archer, Co-Founder of Bishop Games whose new game Light Fall releases on April 26th!

Michael: Where did the inspiration for Light Fall come from?

Ben: The two starting points we had for Light Fall was to, first, provide freedom to our players and, second, to create this mysterious world plunged in darkness. Allowing players to summon/control their own platform, in our eyes, was one of the best way to provide unparalleled freedom. This is how the Shadow Core mechanic came about. Then, we wanted the adventure to take place in a mysterious and eerie world. This is how we created the World of Numbra, a land of eternal night. On a personal level, we are all big fans of Super Meat Boy so there is definitely a similar difficulty/tempo to the game.

Michael: What made you opt for a PC and Switch launch only? Did you consider other platforms as well?

Ben: We talked with all the consoles throughout the development of the game. Plans have changed a lot through the years. We started to talk seriously with Nintendo when they announced the Switch, which had a Unity-port option. Before the Switch, it was quite hard to port a game made in Unity to the Wii/Wii U. As discussions progressed, both parties clearly showed their interest in a working relationship. Light Fall was a natural fit for a console like the Switch. This is why we decided to go this way. We’re not ruling out Xbox/PlayStation, but  for right now, we have a time exclusivity with Nintendo.

Michael: Developing a game as an indie company is never easy, what was the biggest hurdle you came across?

Ben: Biggest hurdle is always to get recognition and funding — especially in our case as it was our first project under the Bishop Games banner. For the first two years, we actually had to work other jobs to survive. Then, funding came and we were able to focus full-time on this and hire 2 new people. Our team moved from 3 to 5 people at that point, which greatly helped the production.

Michael: How long did development of Light Fall take? Were there any unexpected delays?

Ben: Ah… we had far too many delays! Overall, the development time of the game was almost 4 years. As I said, we started out mostly part-time for the first 2 years, but became full-time when we got funded. We also kept adding cool ideas to the game: Speedrun Mode, console port, two game difficulty settings, etc. These things obviously contributed to the many delays we’ve faced.

Michael: What’s next?

Ben: We have a new project in line, which we can’t talk about yet. The funding is already there, at least for a prototype. We also plan on doing more Light Fall content if the community really embraces the game. Things like Speedrun level packs, a tournament/competition system on a weekly basis, in-game rewards for said competitions, are all things we will consider.

Personal questions:

Michael: What is your favourite video game?

Ben: I have a lot of different tastes in video games. I love the good old classics such as old Blizzard games (Diablo 2, Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft) and competitively I’ve played a lot of Counter-Strike. For indie games, I enjoy too many to count but in the recent years, Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest and Darkest Dungeon are some of my favorites.

Michael: Favourite place in the world?

Ben: Ah… hard question. I must say that our hometown of Quebec City, Canada is pretty amazing in its own right. We went to Japan last year (Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo) and that was probably the most amazing trip I’ve ever done.

Michael: Have you ever been to New Zealand?

Ben: I have not, but I lived in Australia for a few months when I was 1 years old. Our family moved as my father got a temporary job there. Obviously, I don’t remember anything but sometimes I watch the old VHS tapes… I would love to go back and visit New Zealand at the same time. My brother travelled to New Zealand for 2 months and he had a lot of fun.

Michael: What was the first game or application you ever made?

Ben: Light Fall is the first game I’ve ever made.

 

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