Q&A With Michael N. Briscoe

After being away from Kickstarter for a while I decided to explore the platform again for indie game creators looking for funding on their latest developmental ventures. One such project that stood out was a 3D platformer named Accessible Early. A throwback to the early days of 3D platforming, but boasting a much more stern challenge than many other games of its Kind, Accessible Early is a game conceptually influenced by a range of different world cultures similar to most modern Mario games, but most evidently to me, Mexican culture, most evidenced by it’s character design similar to Grim Fandango. Intrigued, I sent over a few questions to one of the game’s programmers, Michael N. Briscoe, who had some interesting things to say about Accessible Early. Here were his answers:

What were the influences behind your game?

Primary influences have been 3D platformers developed by the Rare of old. Games like Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, as well as Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. The humour in Accessible Early has also been inspired by the writing in Undertale.

What has the developmental process been like?

Extremely laborious. As a solo indie developer, I have to do everything myself. This means working 60 hours a week on average, and working extremely efficiently at that.

How close are we to seeing the finished product?

If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, I estimate the final game to be released in 2020.

What has been the most exciting aspect of development?

How challenging it’s been. I enjoy all the different problems pop up in everything from coding to design. Creating a video game is very stimulating, both mentally and creatively.

In what respects will game differ from other 3D platformers?

Accessible Early will focus on platforming far more than any other 3D platformer, will have more impactful characters and storylines, and be more challenging than anything out there. Most video games these days seem to hold the player’s hand, and platformers are no exception. I’m not creating the Dark Souls of 3D platformers or anything, but I am developing a game that respects the player’s ability to learn and overcome challenges.

 

What has been the most challenging aspect of development?

Marketing. It’s the one thing that you can’t overcome by working hard and creating something of quality. People like to say that quality products float to the top, that if you make something good then it will become popular, but this sadly isn’t true. There’s a reason why the AAA industry pumps absurd amounts of money into marketing campaigns. Trying to get the word out about Accessible Early while on a shoestring indie budget has been more difficult than everything else combined, because it seems that successful marketing requires a lot of money or a lot of luck.

How well has the game been received so far?

Accessible Early has garnered a lot of positive feedback so far. Pretty much every person who’s touched the demo has loved it. In particular people seem to really enjoy the music, which is especially reassuring to me since I’m just an amateur composer!

What games did you play, and how did this impact the development of Accessible Early?

Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, and Yooka-Laylee have impacted general 3D platforming features, Super Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy for platforming design (in particular for designs that offer the player learning experiences; Nintendo is very good at teaching people how to play their games), and Undertale and A Hat in Time have impacted the comical tone of Accessible Early.

What platforms are you looking to bring the game to?

Accessible Early will be available on PC initially, followed by a Mac release and then a push for a Nintendo Switch port.

Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this?

If you’d like to be an independent developer, then you will have to work hard. Harder than you’ve ever had to work before. But if you’re excited about your project, then the work will be fun. And whatever you do, make sure to start marketing immediately. I’ve read that a lot of people start sharing their project too late. So I started early. It was still too late. Share as much as you can, as often as you can. Independent developers can’t rely on ad campaigns or brand recognition to sell their games, so they need to rely on fan communities that grow very, very slowly.

Where about on the Internet can people find you?

The Kickstarter campaign and myself can be found here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1105728559/accessible-early-a-new-3d-platformer-collectathon

For social media I’m more active on Twitter than anywhere else:

https://twitter.com/AccessibleEarly

People can send a message directly through the Accessible Early website:

https://www.accessibleearly.com/

And I welcome people to email me directly at the following address:

info@accessibleearly.com

Do you have anything else to add?

I’d encourage anyone who’d like to make a video game to give it a shot. All of my favourite titles these days have been made by independent developers, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people create in the coming years!

I’d like to thank Michael for taking the time out to answer my questions on Accessible Early, and to wish him the best of luck with the project. I’m certainly looking forward to the release of the game; I hope all my readers are too. For any fans of 3D platforming games, this title looks particularly promising.

Game on,

Scouse Gamer 88

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