Landflix Odyssey struck us right away: it was inevitable to abuse our status as alleged insiders to exchange four (obviously crazy) chats with Fantastico Studio, talking not only about their parody / tribute to Netflix and TV series.
A couple of weeks ago we received a private message on our Facebook page. And so far nothing strange (and nothing that can raise the buttocks, digitally speaking, to those who are transcribing this interview). The video attached to the message though tickles the player's senses of myself, succeeding in what probably was the intent of the whole: from there to break the balls a bit with those in charge and organize an interview with the authors of Landflix Odyssey, Fantastico Studio, is a moment.
As usual, if we like it we can talk about it on Holygamerz. And we definitely liked Landflix Odyssey.
But what are we talking about? If you missed the official press release, you still don't know that Ladflix Odyssey is essentially a project which, making the verse to some of the TV series most popular in recent years (Netflix's Daredevil, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things and Game of Thrones) aims to create a two-dimensional platformer - in reality, as the guys at Fantastico Studio will tell us, there are hybridized other similar mechanics - which seems extraordinarily cared for in its details. But also the behind the scenes of the project, from Kickstarter campaign online from today to the platform and show choices to pay homage, he is meticulous.
Our advice? Institutionally we shouldn't say this, but who cares: go to Kickstarter and get the money out. Then come back here to read our usual, crazy interview.
The first question is customary: tell us something about Fantastico Studio
The company was formed in July 2017, and we have been working on Landflix Odyssey since September. The studio is in Rome, and has seven people; four of us are the founders, the rest are elements that we have found over time. We knew each other before, we had already worked together on several projects in the field of mobile gaming.
We come to the reason why we are here, namely Landflix Odyssey. I have to tell the truth, the title had impressed me a lot already from the trailer for a rather "stupid" reason: it reminded me of a Simpsons Halloween Special that started from a very similar premise. All this to ask: am I watching too much television or is there actually a certain appeal?
I would say more Last Action Hero - The last Great Hero [of '93, ed] with Schwarzenegger. But yes, the reference is there.
From the trailer they already get some “Geekstyle” quotes, from parody tributes to some TV series up to Back to the Future. Is it reasonable to expect Landflix Odyssey to give us such winks throughout the experience?
Absolutely yes. It will be a product full of references to the world of cinema, with quotes and the like.
How did you choose the TV series to "pay homage"? Have you discarded any a priori?
It took quite a while. We had to study and think at the level of game design on the series, choosing the most suitable ones but still among the best known. It starts with Stranger Things, where the player can switch from the normal world to the Upside Down, Breaking Bad where the player can use methamphetamine to increase their skills and things like that.
Was the idea of choosing a genre like the platform able to give a further push towards the 80s immediately the reference genre? Because?
The platform has always been our point of reference, also because we ourselves are lovers of the genre. We wanted to do something fun for the audience, but also and above all for us. However, we have tried to include as many genres as possible within the platform mechanic: for example, there will be levels run 'n' gun, shoot 'em up and metroidvania. Backtracking will also be present: the player will be able to return to previous levels to use the acquired powers and explore further
This is also a question we ask quite routinely: are you a gamer (as well as a developer)? If so, is there any video game - perhaps indie itself - that influenced you or gave you half inspiration?
Definitely yes. Let's say we are "nintendari", but we play a little bit of everything. Before being programmers and game-designers, we were born with a huge passion for video games, many years to say the least. We started developing for mobile because the access threshold is very low and it is easier to do so, but our target is now completely different and we are very happy about it.
What's the difference between mobile and console development?
Let's say that on mobile it is easier to develop a simple game, it takes little and the economic resources must not be too high. The problem is to have visibility and to earn something, because it is a market saturated with junk and it is really difficult to stand out. On consoles, on the other hand, the budget must be much higher, but it is also easier to monetize and reach the market, despite the times being longer. In addition, on mobile it is difficult to "dare": it is easier to refer to existing mechanics, which you like, rather than trying to innovate and introduce new mechanics to the market. Some of us started developing with the first iPhone, when games were still "games" and not apps to monetize something. Over time, the passion for mobile development has waned.
Mandatory question: why Kickstarter (compared to other portals of the genre, such as Eppela for example), what reasoning is behind the stretch goals (and the budget required to achieve success) of the campaign?
It was mainly a question of project design and necessity. We have studied all the crowdfunding projects to see which ones have done well and which have failed, and statistically we have noticed that on Kickstarter it is easier to succeed.
Let's say that for the rewards it was all done “accounts in hand”, trying to understand how much Kickstarter would take and how much it would go to us. For the rest, we tried not to leave anything to chance and to study the stretch goals that could be of most interest to the backers. We have studied many projects, and we hope we have made the right choices.
Can you give me two examples, one negative and one positive, which helped you in the campaign design phase?
There are actually quite a few. Trine is an example of those that "went well" (but Shovel Knight also comes to mind for example), but it is difficult to think of those that have not been very successful because there are so many. A really important thing, in a Kickstarter campaign, is the presentation of the idea: if the page is not curated, if there is no content or something else, the user notices it and does not trust you. For this reason, we have put a lot of care in the campaign, in the trailer and in the presentation of the entire project, also relying on external studios.
Is Netflix aware of the parody?
Not yet. We thought of contacting Netflix when the Kickstarter campaign will be halfway through and started, perhaps asking for collaborations with official licenses. Hoping that we can start a good collaboration.
It is probably still early to talk about it, but what about your future? Do you have any plans or aspirations, plans that go beyond Landflix Odyssey?
Let's say we've already thought of something special, like a Super Metroidvania or something like that. But we will see after Landflix: if the project goes well, we will certainly know more.
Do you follow Holygamerz and Holygamerz on iTunes? You should! But, getting serious: as developers, how do you live the relationship with critics?
So far we have only had relationships with interesting people and video game lovers, we have done some interviews and it has always been very interesting. We haven't had any negative reviews yet, but we hope to get as much feedback as possible with the release of the official demo, which will be publicly available with the start of the Kickstarter campaign. Our aim is to improve the product as much as possible; the litmus test should be the release of the demo, and then the release of the official game.
Do you have any contacts on social networks to allow our readers to follow you?
We have opened a server on Discord with different channels, to talk live with those who follow us. We have also thought about doing live shows on Twitch showing our work, even in the studio: we have noticed that many players are interested in seeing what happens in the world of development, and we hope that they will also be interested in what we do.