This week, I have been reaching out to a vast number of independent video game developers to discover new titles in the works throughout 2020. One such game is Alien Scumbags; A 2D 8-BIT side-scroller survival horror shoot ‘em up developed by Monster Finger Games operating out of Southampton, England. The game offers players a balanced blend of horror and comedy, with it being set on the Nostrami; a ship that has gone dark and is then invaded by a hostile alien race, which the players must combat to survive, whilst on the way, uncovering what happened onboard the derelict spacecraft. I composed an article details my first impressions of the game in its preliminary stages of development:
However, I have also been in contact with the game’s principal designer James Ross, who agreed to answer a few questions ahead of the game’s release, regarding how the game’s development is progressing and what players can expect to see with the finished article. Here’s what James had to say about Alien Scumbags:
What has the developmental process been like?
The development has had its ups and downs, it’s crazy to think how much can happen in 2.5 years spent working on a game. Life can get in the way and it’s tough to push through it. One of the hardest things was creating the lighting system as ending up rebuildings the existing levels from scratch, the way the lighting looks now is so worth it though. I’ve learned a lot on the development journey, one lesson, in particular, is to always keep backing up regularly. I lost around 3 months’ worth of work just before Christmas which hit me hard, but again Alien Scumbags has come back better than before.
How close are we to seeing the finished product?
I aim to have it finished by the end of the year, of course, we still have the game in early access as we like the idea of people who play it having the opportunity to have their say.
Though the influences for the game’s style of play have been outlined on your GameJolt page, where do you draw influence from where the story is concerned?
It’s a tough one as I just came up with the story out of the blue really. I watch a lot of horror films and wanted the story to reflect my love of that film genre. A lot of what created the story is the monsters that I created prior to it being created, I needed to be able to link everything together.
What has been the most exciting aspect of development?
Seeing it grow from being a gamejam title to something that people really love to play. I would say also managing to create the lighting system was super exciting as I really enjoy playing around with the different effects I can create with it.
What has been the most challenging aspect of development?
Staying motivated when something goes wrong, losing all my data, issues in my private life, sometimes it makes you want to throw the towel in and give up, not to mention having anxiety issues too can also give you the feeling that your game is not good enough. I have kept pushing forward though and every step is worth it when I look back.
How important has community feedback been in shaping the game into what it is now?
Extremely important, for example, the game didn’t have an aiming reticule, to begin with, no run, no airboost, and right at the beginning no health bar. A lot of these improvements may not have happened if it wasn’t for the amazing Streamers/YouTubers and other devs that have given their feedback.
What further cultural references are being planned for inclusion in the final game?
The cultural references are things that tend to be added as my mind thinks of them, I can tell you that I have planned for a while to add some other gaming references including Metal Gear Solid, you will have to wait for the next update to see that though.
How well has the game been received so far?
So far people have really enjoyed playing it, throughout its development people have found little bugs and such but the majority of people have really enjoyed it. I make sure to patch out any issues people find on streams asap as I want the game to be as polished as it can be. We have built a small community of great people and hope this continues as we continue with Alien Scumbags.
What platforms are you looking to bring the game to?
PC is the only platform at the moment, however, we would be open to chatting with publishers about bringing it to other platforms if there was interest.
What would be next for Monster Finger Games? Have further ideas for games been considered yet?
Not sure what our next title will be following Alien Scumbags. We had started work on Super Bombardier, but who knows what the future will bring.
Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this?
The best thing to do if you want to make something is to do it, I would also say to try and think about something small initially and work up from that, releasing a game really teaches you a lot of lessons. Above all else enjoy the journey and don’t think too much about the finish line.
Where on the Internet can people find you?
I am most active on Twitter @kkindiegame, you can email us at:
Do you have anything else to add?
I want to thank you for this opportunity, it’s been great and really enjoyed chatting, DM me anytime. I also want to say a massive thank you to every Streamer, YouTuber, Blogger and fan that has supported the development of Alien Scumbags.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank James for agreeing to answer what questions I had and to wish him the best of luck with the game. I certainly had a lot of fun playing Alien Scumbags even this early on in development and if anyone wishes to experience this title for themselves, the game is available to download from the team’s GameJolt page via the link below:
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed composing it and hope you all enjoy playing Alien Scumbags.
Scouse Gamer 88