In the early 90s, I had the luck to play video games. I started with some simple games, but in a moment of my gaming experience, in the late 90s, I stumbled upon turn-based games. I have good memories of turn-based games like Legend of Legaia, Legend of Dragoon, Koudelka or titles of the Final Fantasy saga. Sometimes, games reminiscence of this era comes back, and it’s the case of Light FairyTale saga.
I had the opportunity of playing and finish the two episodes, and I really liked them. Then, I thought if it was possible to contact the dev, and he gladly accepted our interview. Let’s see our interview with neko.works.
1st turn: Thanks for doing this interview; I know that you are busy this season. I played and completed both Light FairyTale episodes, and I loved them. Also, they brought me a reminiscence of the 1990s and 2000s turn-based RPGs era. Make a nostalgic title was one of your goals?
Thanks for playing! Actually, the concept of my studio is to make retro inspired experiences improved thanks to current hardware and tools, focusing on genres that are either underserved or completely abandoned by major studios. My first game – Super Night Riders, was an arcade racer similar to 80s classics but featuring modern graphics. I want the Light Fairytale series to feels like the 90s JRPGs I used to love as a teenager, with an engaging story and world, cool characters and simple yet interesting systems.
2nd turn: When I saw that you just made the game, I was surprised. How did you achieve that? Did you bring some people in to help you with game aspects?
I’m a solo indie developer doing most of the work myself – but I do get help from a few freelances occasionally for assets such as character models, illustrations and music.
3rd turn: How many episodes will get Light FairyTale saga? When will the next episode be released?
I’m planning for 4 episodes total. I’ve already started the work on Episode 3, but it’s a bit too early to give a release date. Thankfully it’s easier to produce new episodes after each new release as the core of the game is the same.
4th turn: Let’s talk about the progression of the story. There are pending things to reveal. Will Haru get new companions? At least, I expect one more and an old friend. Will the battle have the same party size?
I’m planning many more party members, but the playable team will still consist of a leader (depending on the story arc) + a companion (who you choose). I like this organization as it helps focus on your favourite companion – in both battle and story – as you have probably seen in the last 3rd of Episode 2, also this gives a good replay value.
5th turn: I played your games in English, without problems. Currently, there are three languages to choose from. Do you plan to add more in the future?
It’s easier for me to support languages that I understand – for both checking the translation and the integration work. I speak French, English, Japanese and Arabic, though I’ve decided to only support the first 3.
6th turn: The soundtrack is great; it fits perfectly with the game, from the menu track to the boss battles’ theme. How did you compose it?
The soundtrack was fully produced by the freelance Japanese composer Terry Chandler and I agree, he’s done an amazing job! I’m also working with him on my upcoming projects – including the next Super Night Riders.
7th turn: As I told you before, I got nostalgic vibes of classics of the genre. Is there a game, in particular, you were inspired by?
My main inspiration was Final Fantasy 7 – the original PS1 version. I had the chance to play it back in the day just after completing Final Fantasy 6, so it was an impressive and memorable next-gen upgrade for me. I was also inspired by other games such as Breath of Fire 5 and the Tales of series.
8th turn: I know that your games have been well received on PC. How was the launching of Light FairyTale episodes 1 and 2 on consoles?
Both episodes are rated 4.3 and 4.8 / 5 respectively by user reviews on Xbox. They’re also available on PS4, but I don’t have reviews data yet. As a small studio, it is vital to support as many platforms as possible. The Nintendo Switch is next on my list!
9th turn: As a developer, what do you think about turn-based games? How do you see their future? Is there room for improvements and innovation?
As a player, I always preferred turn-based battles in JRPGs as I like taking the time to appreciate the art and prepare my strategies. Though in recent years, the genre is mostly shifting to action-based. Even the Final Fantasy 7 remake was an action game – and honestly I think it’s probably the only way for a production this size to reach its target sales in 2020, sadly.
More so, we have now reached a point in tech where we’re able to produce real-time graphics superior in every way to the pre-rendered backgrounds of the PS1/2 era, and we can do so many things to improve the experience such as seamless battle transitions – without any loading or arena stage. Though, as for most underserved genres, the indie scene is keeping it alive. I do my part!
10th turn: I know that you have another game, Super Night Riders, of the motorcycle-racing genre. Do you have plans for other titles, asides from the new episodes of the Light FairyTale saga? Are you going to try new genres? Are you going to create more turn-based games?
I’m currently working on the next Super Night Riders game which should release around Q2 2022. I’m also in the planning/prototyping stage for a new game called Dark Fairytale – a story-driven shoot ’em up set in a steam-punk world. I like switching styles!
Bonus turn: Which is the latest turn-based game you have played or still playing?
I’ve completed Grandia this year for the first time, and I think it was fantastic!