I had the extreme pleasure of talking to David Klouda, community manager for Czech developers, Soulbound Games, about confidence in their work, the threat of being left to starve to death, and Soulbound’s new game, Renoir.
B – First off, if we could get your name and what your role on the game Renoir is.
D – My name is David Klouda and I’m the community manager for Soulbound games. But don’t worry, everything I tell you was graciously approved by our developers.
B – If you could describe Renoir in twenty words or less, how would you do it?
D – Renoir is a story-driven noir puzzle-platformer. Hey, I did it within the word limit, woohoo!
B – Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the story of Renoir? Who will players be taking control of and what is going on in this world?
D – Players will take control of private investigator James Renoir in a highly corrupted city. In his skin you’ll have to investigate a very dark case. We can’t tell you much at this point, because James is a very closed off man. But I assure you that this will be his last case. And no TV-cop-I-am-retiring-but-suddenly-I-do-not bullshit. This will be James’s last case.
B – The first thing that sticks out about the game is its striking black-and-white/noir art style. Where did the idea for this visual style come from? Are there any movies, books, games, etc. that have influenced the look of Renoir?
D – We love this style. It is much more interesting than colorful themes especially for this kind of story. Black and white perfectly catches our hero’s dark life, world, and thoughts. We have many inspirations, for example we all love the Max Payne series. I personally enjoy books about extraordinary detectives, driven by some dark consequences.
Noir style and everything that comes with it makes characters much more interesting for our game. We couldn’t follow a regular cop or successful private investigator full of positive energy. It’s just not for us at this moment of our young creative lives.
B – How has development been so far? It seems the game has already attracted some positive feedback and national exposure. Is it daunting being a young developer with so much buzz or is it doing a lot to fuel creativity and build excitement to put out your game?
D – We are very pleased with the amazing responses and are definitely driven by them to work as hard as possible. But also we are extremely careful not to get sucked into some God complex thing, because that’s what kills so many projects, not just games. We are extremely humbled by the feedback from all over the world and we are dedicated to creating a great game that players will enjoy thoroughly.
B – It really feels like we are in a time of an “indie game renaissance.” With narrative heavy games such as those created by Telltale garnering such high accolades and games such as Fez and Journey receiving almost unanimously high scores (Metacritic has both scoring above 90%), what do you hope for Renoir? Do you believe it will be received well and what would be your ultimate goal for the game post-release?
D – Blake, the minute we stop believing in our game, we can pack our bags and go home. We definitely believe that Renoir will be great and we are working very hard on that. Simultaneously we see so many good indie games coming out which is what makes us work even harder and think about every single aspect of our game. Mediocre is not our goal.
Besides, I was told that in the case our game isn’t successful, I will be fired immediately and left in the wild to starve to death. And trust me, Blake, no other company will hire a community manager who already starved to death.
B – The Soulbound Games website says that the team believes that the best way to create a game is to develop games that you all would love to play. Can you elaborate on what this means and how Renoir is an example of the kind of games Soulbound would want to play?
D – It’s really simple. You know that feeling, when you try a new game and you are instantly hooked? We want to put this in our game. We want players to start the game and be interested right from the start by its storytelling, puzzles, and noir theme. We love these kind of games and we want to make our mark in this particular market.
B – The website also says that you all have switched from making mobile games to developing PC games. Can you talk about this switch and what it has been like working on a new platform?
D – It’s really thrilling! We are learning a lot of stuff on the fly, but thanks to the top notch technologies we are using (like Unreal Engine 4), it’s a lot easier.
B – Can you say anything about when we might get to play Renoir? Or is too early to tell at this point?
D – It is really early to ask this question. Following months will be more generous to your question.
B – In closing, is there anything else you would like to say about Renoir or Soulbound Games?
D – We are preparing a Kickstarter campaign which will be really crucial for us. You will learn more info about Renoir when we start this campaign. We are really looking forward to showing you more information about our game, including gameplay.
I invite everybody who is interested in our noir style platformer to visit our website.. We will soon release a special Kickstarter support section there, where you can help us and even win some Renoir-related gifts.
B – Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. It is an honor to be able to speak to you about Renoir and I cannot wait to get my hands on the game. Best of luck with everything and I hope you all have a more than successful release!
D – Thank you very much Blake for having me here. I enjoyed answering your questions almost as much as I enjoy eating. And if you know me, you’d see it as a BIG compliment. Thanks again and take care.