The Lodgge Podcast Episode 11

Meet Lee Vermeulen and Jesse McGibney, Co-Founders of Alientrap Games.

Published On: 21 December 2022Categories: The Lodgge PodcastTags:

Meet Lee Vermeulen and Jesse McGibney, Co-Founders of Alientrap Games. They join The Lodgge this week to discuss their award winning game Wytchwood, keeping things fresh in game design, working in Ontario, and much more!

Scott  0:00  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the lodge podcast. I’m your host Scott, Milley. And thank you for joining us for episode 11. Joining me today are my uniquely talented guests. Lee Vermeulen and Jesse McGibney. Hello. How are you both doing today? 

Lee 0:14  

Hey, pretty good. Doing good.

Scott  0:15  

So both my wonderful guests today are the cofounders of alien trap, the critically acclaimed indie studio based out of Toronto, Canada. Today, we’re going to be talking about their award winning title, wytchwood keeping things fresh and game development, working in Ontario, and much, much more. So without further ado, let’s get into the conversation.

Scott  0:45  

So let’s get into it guys. What was the catalyst? This is the first question that I’ve been asking everyone, we had a different question for season one. And for season two, this is something that I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, but I kind of want to put a holiday spin on it. So what served as the catalyst for getting you into the games industry? Like what was your was it a game experience wasn’t like a brand or a stew that you really enjoyed? And then I’ll bring the holiday into it right after. Lee Why don’t we start with you?

Lee  1:12  

Um, well, how it started was I had a like a course in university where we game design course, I was doing games before that with our first game. Next CS is that high school project. And that was kind of the modern quake one and then eventually became a game, which should have been the next Nexus. But our first when we actually went I actually thought about entering the game industry is a serious project and that a free thing was after the game development course. And then I had to have projects. So I remembered Jesse, who I hadn’t spoken to in like four years, but we actually went to high school and elementary school.

Jesse  1:46  

Yeah, we go Way back.

Lee  1:48  

Yes. Yeah. We didn’t grow up at the same street. That’s true. Yeah, I remembered his art. And then I hadn’t talked to him for like four years at that point, I think. I don’t think we talked much in high school. Yeah. Yeah. But then I thought, well, I want to do this game, like everyone else in the game course was having these large team of programmers, I just wanted to make something on my own. But I wanted to find a great artists. So I contacted Jesse. And it was timed extremely well, because you had your own, like you were doing a project to it.

Jesse  2:19  

Yeah, so I was in art college at the same time in Ontario. And I was in fourth year as well. So we had our kind of fourth year, big semester projects I was doing, basically mock up art for video games. So kind of like making fake video game. art that you know what, it would have never come to fruition. And then, Lee contacted me and he’s like, Hey, you want to make an actual video game? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we ended up doing that. Making our first game capsized as our school’s respective school projects. Yeah.

Lee 3:00  

And then we have some funding also from the we sold the rights to Nexus, or like the high school project I had, and that gave us some funding to finish capsized. And yeah, then I can remember I think that’s 2009 When we started it, then it was came out in 2011.

Jesse  3:17  

Yeah, that sounds great. Yeah, cuz I graduated in 2009

Scott  3:20  

You guys have been a staple in the in the Toronto industry for for quite some time. Yeah, I was gonna say, we’re, we’re we’re gonna get into a couple of those titles. But one thing I did want to ask is with this time of year, right, hopefully, I’m not sure about you guys. But hopefully people are able to see their families this year for the holidays. Obviously, depending on things go here in Ontario, but what’s your favorite? Do you have like a holiday gaming memory? Like for me it’s playing like crimson skies back in the day on the original Xbox with my cousin’s when they first got it that’s like the one that always comes to mind. But is there one that comes to mind for you? Do you enjoy playing like Mario Party when you get together with a family? Or is there another another favorite game you got for Christmas? Something?

Jesse  4:00  

I mean, I have one that’s that I think really did kind of kick me off into a game art. And that was for one year for Christmas, I got I got the Warcraft, battle chest, like Warcraft two in the expansion in the Warcraft wanted it. And that was something I like specifically asked for and got, which was usually didn’t happen for you know, big expensive video game stuff. But I’ve been playing the demo for that again, I’m a PC gamer demo desk. And you know, playing the heck out of the demo over and over my dad got vaguely interested and he’s like, Oh, this is this is kind of cool looking. So he ended up getting me the full game. But um you know, of course I love to Warcraft and all that but specifically it came with like paper manuals like game manuals. And that had some of the concept art in it being like seven or eight and like that kind of unlock something in my brain. because, you know, before that I was trying to find servers and fish and trucks and stuff like that. But then after that point, I was like, wait, you can like draw stuff for video games like that’s, you know, it kind of put one or two together. And then yeah, kind of from from that point on, I was like, Okay, I want to make games. So yeah, and

Scott  5:20  

look as an art where you guys ended up? Lee? What about you anything for anything of the holidays that comes to mind?

Lee  5:25  

I can’t think of anything as inspirational. But I just said, like, the only thing that came to mind was there was this one Christmas, where I didn’t have a PlayStation. So I went through my cousins, and while my uncles and then they had a PlayStation with Grand Theft Auto three. So I just avoided my entire family for like, a week, and played Grand Theft Auto three. And I remember like, I’d wake up and I was on it. And if anyone tried to like make me go for separately, I would yell at them and try to keep playing Grand Theft Auto three. And so yeah, that’s my probably that’s not at all isn’t related to actually, it’s a terrible Christmas memory, because it’s like, I’m avoiding family. But anyway, yeah. That’s the best I could come up. Oh, that’s

Scott  6:02  

a good answer. That’s for me. Yeah, same kind of thing. We’re talking about Christians guys. Like, it’s just me and the cousins in the basement. Yeah, we’ll be out there in a minute. 

Scott  6:16  

nothing wrong with that. Tomorrow, a lot of us got into the industry. So one of things I do want to ask both of you is again, you were just talking about starting this in kind of 2009? How long have you guys worked together? And what is it that keeps the two of you continuing to collaborate 13 years later, because of course, like you were just discussed about meeting in school and going through things like that, but 13 years at the same studio, you know, going through all these completely different types of projects that we’ll get into in just a moment. But I think that that speaks to being able to keep you know, friendship and business separate and things like that. And I think that there’s a lot of problems with that. For certain studios, right? They come right at the university and their best friends, let’s make a game. But a lot of people don’t think about making a business, right? They think that they want to make a title, but it kind of morphs itself into making a studio supporting other people. So is there any any pieces of advice or anything that you guys have experienced yourself that you will love to share with our audience?

Lee  7:08  

What’s that saying a business based on French? Alright, I gotta do this, again. A friendship based on business is stronger than a business based on friendship. That’s the same, which means that like, don’t start a business based on friendship, you know, we have a friendship based on business and that, like, you know, that the like, like how well things are working and everything like that. So that’s one thing, that’s one thing I would get across is that I wouldn’t start companies with people just because you like, personally, it was definitely like, when I contacted Jesse’s because I had been following his art. Like, we grew up and we were friends as kids. But then also, I had been falling apart for a while. And he always had like, one thing. So I did work with some artists before Jesse or and also since then. And one thing that I noticed early on was just he just had a great idea of like how things fit in a game. Like he would do the sort of individual parts of it. And I had no way I couldn’t imagine where it was going in my head, and then all of a sudden would all come together. And I’m like, Oh, my God, it’s amazing. Like, so I sort of, yeah, that that was just immediately apparent when we started working on capsized, just like understanding how do you actually How can all fit together? And I remember Apotheon specifically, I was like, What is this for the longest time you were doing stuff, you were making these, like, I didn’t understand it until you added the post processing and a bunch of other things. I was like, Okay, now I get it.

Jesse  8:41  

I think a big part of why we work pretty well together is, you know, we have we have pretty separate skill sets, and then a little bit overlap in the middle, which is nice, you know, so we’re not constantly stepping on each other’s toes when it comes to, you know, I think he should program this thing, or I think you should do the art this way or, you know, we’ll give each other suggestions, but we’re, you know, I think it’s a lot of trust there with letting the other person solve. solve things in their own wheelhouse. And then the areas we do come together are, you know, the design discussions or, or things like that, that have a little more overlap, where we can actually have, like, kind of the same amount of input on it. 

Scott  9:27  

I think that speaks to a lack of egos on the team.

Lee  9:30  

Yeah, yeah, it definitely is, like, you know, whatever works best for the project. And then, you know, I you know, you need to be able to defend your idea, I think is it like best ideas win sort of thing, like if you if, if you think your design is the best and you have to defend it or you just let it go because, you know, that’s how it is. I think the only time that we’ve really had disagreements over like direction I think was like there’s this sort of overlap when it comes to the gameplay where we get into like the details of and then because I remember like crypt arc we would argue about that. Whether the grenade should be timed or not, were you like, just we get really tiny things? And then those are those are like days long or like that’s both we made it. Yeah. I don’t remember how we ever resolved this. I think it was kind of like, well, we’ll I like I have to implement it. So I’m like, I find I will do it. And I’ll show you that’s a bad idea. Yeah. And sometimes I’m like, Okay, fine, it was a good idea.

Jesse  10:24  

That’s usually how things work out is like, because I’ve done that, what the times to where it’s like, I have something in my head, and we can’t pursue it, this is gonna work this way. And you’re like, Yeah, that’s probably not a great idea. And then I’ll, I’ll have to get a solution for it. And then in the process of doing that being like, this is actually not a great idea. And then, like you said, there’s kind of a lack of ego of you have to be able to drop things that don’t work. And, you know, there’s the saying of Kill your darlings. Yeah, you know, yeah. For further the current games we’re working on, we just did a big shift to, from from 2d to more 3d elements. And that was like a big scheme, you know, kicking and screaming, events, I really like doing 3d stuff. But, you know, being able to kind of learn and embrace a bit more of the positives that 3d elements can bring. That wasn’t really

Lee  11:17  

that was really funny experience. Because early on of the project, I was trying to make things more 3d. And we had a lot of discussions back and forth. And I was like, Okay, we need to add more 3d elements move the process for 3d. And Jesse was really opposed to that. And then we got further and further and, and then he slowly added more 3d elements. And then at that point, I was like, but I’ve made all these 2d systems I want, I want to get to D. And this will be like, completely reversed. That’s the next argument. But it all got resolved. We ever go. Projects in good place now.

Scott  11:48  

No, now, we’re gonna be talking about induction just a moment. One of things I do want to talk about is obviously, we need to talk about Alientrap as a studio. Right. So like, at least what I’ve been able to see, you’ve worked on at least eight different titles. And one of the things I wanted to bring up is that a lot of indie studios, you’ll see will have a genre, you know, they may try a couple of different genres, a couple of different types, find one that works for them, and other make a direct sequel, or at least stay in that same vein. Alientrap doesn’t seem to do that. Right. Like right now we’re talking we’re talking about crypto Ark and then Gunn had coming out soon, right? Like that being your first direct sequel, I believe. So that’s something I do want to bring up is like, Why? Why is it so important to like Alientrap identity that you kind of continually switched from Greek mythology to sci fi to fantasy, as well as 2d roguelikes. And to all the other genres that you guys have worked on? Is that something that like you think is like integral to alientrap? Or is it hey, let’s just make what we want to make.

Lee  12:46  

I always tell people about that, that I don’t like, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I don’t recommend it doesn’t make a lot of business sense to be honest with you like it, you know, when you’re, you have a success, you as a business, you gotta keep, you know, you add more sequels, you keep the same audience, that sort of thing. That we, we always didn’t do that. I think just because of our own personal, we wanted to do something else. Like after we finished, it’s been every time after we finished a project, we’ve been wanting to do something completely different. And so that’s why it was never, it was honestly never really a sound business decisions. In some ways. It was just kind of like, I am sick of working on this, I want to work on this

Jesse  13:23  

The shorter answer is, you know, these things take so long to make. So after working on the same thing for four or five years, you’re like, I don’t want to

Scott  13:30  

just so burned out. Let’s do something different. Let’s, let’s make 3d rather than 2d or roguelike, actually, and all that kind of stuff, which is like your bet. Yeah,

Jesse  13:38  

that’s definitely mean we have to kind of like reinvent everything at the start of each project. It’s again, you know, makes it take longer, and it’s all over again,

Scott  13:48  

especially for you like as an art director, like I can imagine if you’re working on you know, sci fi stuff for four years. The last thing you want to do is work on slightly different sci fi stuff for the next four years. Yeah, we’re gonna see you guys kind of jump all over the place of interesting

Jesse 14:01  

or like, you know, you know, I’m become very aware of all the issues and problems with our own pipeline and development where it’s like, Oh, I wish I could do things this way because I’ve been I’ve been making things that this tool set for so long. But yeah, like we said, it definitely has some some downsides.

Lee  14:19  

Yeah, I think like the worst example of that is wytchwood gun head where like, you can have two more opposing games have you know what they are like, I can’t I don’t even think I’ve met anyone who would be really enjoyed both of those. You know,

Scott  14:34  

I guess you don’t really have the audience’s even crossing over to so ya know, but

Lee  14:37  

that one like we have other projects that I think wytchwood like portrait players would be really into so that but not gun head. So like i i We’re not going to use this that’s why we don’t have a single company discord and stuff like that, because I just don’t think there’s, like, you know, between mod box gun head in wytchwood what overlap? What’s the Venn diagram like where someone’s in between all those I just dust it besides myself. It just doesn’t exist. So, yeah,

Scott 15:05  

so there seems to be almost, at least from the outside looking in kind of two different identities for for alientrap before Apotheon. And after about right there, like there just seemed to be such great like critical acclaim when it comes to that. That’s the game I actually want to start with. So obviously, being able to do something in ancient Greek mythology is is hot right now. But being able to do something like that, you know, a few years ago, that must have been something really exciting for you, Jesse. And when it comes to that art, it’s just something so distinct. You can actually see it on the background at least camera. Yeah. But I wanted to just kind of ask you just off the bat of like, Where was the inspiration for that vibe? Was it something that you would kind of solely worked on in the background? While you guys were working on, you know, capsize and autocraft and other things? Or was this something that you had, you know, brought up and worked with the team and said, you know, what, this is the next thing that we need to do,

Jesse  15:56  

just how does our process go? I think that the kind of art direction for both Yan sort of came, as we were concepting what the game was going to be we started off you know, we just come up with capsized, and we’re like, alright, let’s let’s do another sidecar sidescroller action game. But this time, you know, maybe a little more open world with, you know, walk around in cities and, you know, talk people and like people and stuff like that. And I think we’re kicking around some ideas of, you know, it started off as like, a more sci fi like a cyberpunk. Or,

Lee  16:33  

well, it was still like Greek. Greek gods still. So it was yeah, the idea was like Zeus with a laser pistol. Yeah, it

Jesse 16:39  

was trying to I was trying to spruce up the Sci Fi well, by being like, what if it’s like, you know,

Lee  16:44  

great idea. It is like, sci fi Greek mythology, it’s like, should still do that.

Jesse  16:50  

Yeah. So there’s a there’s a bunch of concept art I have kicking around somewhere that is, yeah, like, you know, guys in togas with lasers, spears, and stuff like that. And then I think as we were kind of experimenting with some of the art, you know, setting up some of the character puppets and stuff like that, and looking at references, and I was like, why don’t I just do the pottery thing, like, it sounds like an obvious sidescroller style, like everything is already flat and two dimensional and stuff like repeating patterns. And that was a big that was a huge part of it was coming up, again, from completely doing a 180 from the previous game. capsizes was very painterly, all the levels were, you know, there was like, jungle trees and bushes and little spiders and stuff everywhere. But it was, it was very tedious to make the allowance for that. So I wanted something that I could kind of tile out levels nice and quickly with like repeating patterns and things like that. And that worked great with with Greek pottery, because it’s an elegant species. Yeah, little little filigrees, and bricks and doodads and stuff like that. So that fit in really well. And the hardest part was just kind of figuring out how to extrapolate the reference material into, you know, like a playable world, because there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t really exist in 3d pottery, like, they don’t really do that much environment. stuff, like there might be like a wall or like a tree. But they never really see what like a building or a city or how they would handle them some things. And then being able to handle a little bit of depth, like, you know, trees in the background behind the player, or you know, how to how to use color to make things a little more beautiful. Because it’s really just black and red. So, you know, we threw in a couple more greens and blues. 

Scott  18:45  

And those are like, unique, like underappreciated challenges that most people

Jesse 18:47  

don’t see like, yeah, they’re very tiny. 

Scott  18:51  

But do you notice if they’re wrong, right? That’s the thing is like, if you don’t notice, then that that’s a good thing. Right? That just kind of in the background, like Yeah, as I’ve done your job, but like when those things stick out, like those are the things that people immediately attack, right?

Lee 19:03  

Yeah. Apotheon was that it was just the arts have worked so perfectly production wise, like you mentioned, like, we could actually do it. I think, at the end development, it was still Jessie as the only artist on the team. We had another. So like, now, we have someone else helping with level design, but it was still like so you know, making a 10 hour experience. And, like, if we had the idea for Cuphead at that time, you can’t make Cuphead attended to a team of 10 but Apotheon Yeah, we were still able to do it entirely ourselves. So

Scott  19:42  

Wow. It’s rare that they work in tandem. Are you talking about like production? And are like it does seem like you do create a lot of unique assets and things like that for a lot of games. Yeah, this one you were able to kind of like tile out and we I’m sure that really helped you to when it comes to like the actual game design and things too, right that you were able to kind of build things out A little bit

Lee 20:00  

easier. Well, we both like we’re both designers. So it’s definitely like I’m not the main right. I don’t really even think for the early titles that capsized and Apotheon we definitely, I don’t think we either use the title designers, I guess we kind of liked programming was where everything crossover. Yeah. So like anything narrative based or like, world based, that would be more Jessie. And then maybe I’d be a lot of this sort of gameplay details, but not really like the overall.

Jesse  20:28  

Like the larger systems that are, how AI works. And

Lee  20:32  

yeah, things like that. But as designers kind of all over we definitely, we think about production a lot. I think that’s like, just when it comes to art style, or it comes to design, like how are we actually going to get this thing done. So,

Jesse  20:45  

so you want to find those, you want to find those shortcuts that TV production time, but also look good, and ideally look unique, because of the way that you’re doing them. Like with the keycard style,

Scott  20:58  

or things like that actually goes back to like our previous conversation where we’re talking about how is the alientrap and doing this for, you know, 13 years and continues to continues to improve and continues to just do better and better things is that production mindset is actually a lot more rare than you would expect when it comes to indie studios starting off, right making a game that you start to realize all the production demands. And then we try to bring on freelancers, you try to bring on independent artists, being able to explain that to them and be able to get them in those pipelines. Like you guys seem to just kind of have that mindset going into every project that you can slot in people, oh, we need a freelance artists for this, or oh, we need someone for this. That kind of fits into your pipeline rather than Oh, hey, I have all this stuff on my plate. Can you come and do some of this?

Jesse  21:42  

I think a lot of it also comes again, because we’re such a small team. Our fingers are in all of it from the start to the finish. So if we don’t set it up, good at the start, it’s our problem at the end, as well. Good point. Yeah. So it pretty much behooves us to figure this stuff out.

Scott  22:03  

And once I did, I did want to talk about AlienTrap is mod box, just completely separate from anything you guys have done before. Where Where did this come from? Like I don’t even know the first question I want to ask, this just seems just so out of left field, the fact that it was on Magic Leap, right, it’s just like, obviously speaks to just the difference of the other type of titles that you’ve worked on. So where’s this a labor of love? Or where did this come from as an idea for the studio.

Lee  22:28  

Back in 2015, I got the HTC Vive from Valve X, I really wanted to try VR stuff. And then I started, we had a previous title autocraft I started making that in VR. And then at became mod box slowly. But really what happened with Mod boxes that I loved, I realized that, you know, as a programmer, you slowly get into tool development. I don’t know how why that happens. But like if you start out, you’re just trying to get like a game done. And then you start like making tools to make the game and then you dive further and further to Tools and then see when I was making my own language programming language for my box that just slowly happened. I’ve so my box definitely came with just trying to make a thing about game development, like trying to make it like how can I how can I change game development to be like different to just like, sort of like take that like sandbox and keep going further into custom language, new way of doing game networking, and just sort of a tech, like, I went very far down the tech rabbit hole of my box of solving issues. So yeah, that’s how it kind of came about, just out of force, I guess.

Scott  23:36  

Just pure, like passion and obsession with with that, right? Because like that those tools. And at least from my side, like not being a developer is those tools don’t seem very necessarily relevant for like the other type of games that you guys are making. Right? Like, do you think do you do you feel like you’ve learned a lot during the production of Mudbox that you were kind of able to implement into future titles?

Lee  23:56  

Yeah, actually, like so. before in the past, what are their games, my objective was always just to finish them as quick as possible. And then the codebase and technology was always a mess. And then we really have to throw out so many things each game. So with my Xbox, I was trying to do more of a lot like it was actually about the technology rather than anything else. So from that we’re all like the current projects we’re working on are all using sort of things that we’ve learned from my books. So like how to structure everything. So it all it all really tied together in that way. But so I just treat game development differently now than I used to with a cap size and Apotheon. Well, I’m just trying to like get things done, don’t care about things. I’m trying to have things be more of a structure that we’re building on that we can reuse. So you can bring

Scott  24:43  

bring to the next game to the next game. Like all the lessons that you’ve learned, whether it’s a different, different genre or a different type, you can still take a lot of those lessons and you don’t feel like you’re completely starting from scratch every time because you are using a lot of the same technology like you said, yeah, yes, Jesse was was my block something that you really enjoyed working on. wasn’t something that I love with Lee but

Jesse 25:02  

yeah, so I have I have no almost no connection with with modbox. Oh, wow.

Lee  25:07  

So yeah, we were doing multiple projects at that time yeah

Jesse  25:11  

into into two separate teams so we had mod box wytchwood going at the same time

Scott  25:16  

got it which is just like so heavy on on the art, which is actually the next we’re gonna get into is talking about wytchwood because that’s every review I’ve read no one ever talks to you about the game I’ve seen I’ve started playing the game, that’s the first thing that sticks out to you. Right is it’s it’s such a unique art style, which is near impossible, I’d say now in the industry like, there are obviously some ones that we really love, but it’s one that you can see and point to and say I know exactly what this is. So one of the things I didn’t want to talk about with wytchwood is obviously multiple Canadian Game Awards, which is obviously like something that I was very proud of. And I’d love to see that. And the critical acclaim for it. And you see like all the like the raving reviews on Steam, other than the success in the other genres that you guys have worked on with like roguelikes what was it that you decided made? Like that made you decide that you needed to do? wytchwood which for those who don’t know? What would you think is the best way to describe that obviously, like a crafting adventure game?

Jesse 26:13  

Yeah, we’ve we’ve we’ve our elevator pitch was a was a, a crafting adventure game where you play as the witch in the woods. So you’re making potions and spells and solving different fairy tale type quests.

Scott  26:28  

So it was that did that go to the same as kind of the other games were talking about before where it was we kind of came up with a design and then started moving forward when it came to art or was this? How like, how did this labor come as well? Like, I’m just very curious when it comes to a lot of these games kind of where did they come from? Because a lot of times you hear studios that will have like a passion project for somebody that they’ll draw some art or they’ll do some design and then they’ll eventually get to that title? Or was it something that you guys kind of conceptualized and came up with and said, you know, what, we want to make a crafting adventure game, and then you kind of made it work.

Jesse  26:57  

So um, so a lot of it has to do with with my partner who is the other artists on the team. And so she had some of those in to join us for crypto Ark, I think I’m hoping if a lot of the weird like normal map lighting, stuff. So she was kind of doing art and animation. And then we heard her on more full time for wytchwood as both an artist and a writer, designer. So kind of the the conception of wytchwood was a lot of it was her idea as again, because we wanted to do something different. So we’re like, what if we didn’t do like a, you know, a running gun action shooter and did something you know, a little more a little more laid back and more chill a little more, you know, crafting and collecting and narrative focused. And I really like those kinds of games as well. So we kind of said about trying to design a more originally it was gonna be more systemic, so it was gonna be more kind of like, like a Don’t Starve type crafting game where you’re, you’re picking up objects and crafting them into little more emergent. And the arts all kind of came just from looking at, like, like fairy tale source materials. So you know, we were looking at a lot of Disney movies, a lot of like the early you know, like Snow White and things like that, that have like gorgeous hand painted backgrounds and like wash with really nice looking trees and things like that. And then just children’s books and like old, like medieval wood cut illustrations. And just trying to pull out what we could from there. And that was also our first isometric game as well. So yeah, once we’ve done had been inside scrollers so trying to figure out how to make that work in kind of a top down aspect while still keeping the 2d stuff that we like to do and because neither of us are you know, we’re not 3d minded. So keeping things 2d, but still playing in a 3d space was a was a big part of trying to figure stuff out. Yeah, it really kind of came from that one came from the very start of like, Okay, we’re gonna make like a crafting game where you’re a witch. And then the aesthetic really kind of taught that to that of like, alright, it’s gonna be like a fun fairy tale. kind of pop up book aesthetic, almost.

Scott  29:26  

Like we’re working on games where the pandemic was obviously, incredibly difficult, but I feel like doing some of the art for wytchwood must have been almost like therapeutic for you and your partner. Oh, sure. And they’re having this dark dystopian game that you just happen to be working on. When all this started. You kind of had something that was a little more lighthearted and a little more, like full of full of whimsy and wonder.

Jesse 29:43  

Yeah, well, I mean, and we all work from home anyway. So I feel like our our working habits really didn’t change at all when the lockdown happened. I guess that’s true. Was that a without a huge shift?

Scott 29:55  

Lee what about you? I know you’re you’re working on two projects, you know, kind of like side to side like when you were done with Mudbox or when you like your team was done with Mod box and you jumped over with wytchwood what was something that really struck you when you started working on that side? Or was it something that you really enjoy doing unique challenges that you remember? And that you’ve learned going into your next titles?

Lee  30:15  

I mean, one thing I got a customer which was really that, like, how nice the fan base was, so like the Firebase so you know, when you make an action games, like a very like shooter, heavy action game you get you get a fan base is kind of like usually a lot of I don’t know, you get a part of 13 year old boy fanbase, which isn’t really the best sometimes, sort of the emails you get from them and everything. But with Richwood that like the the emails we got, like bug reports for something went horribly wrong there were so nicely emailed, and just so pleasant to get nice. So that’s one thing I realized, well, which one is it? You make a pleasant game? You get very pleasant friendly people. That’s it. They’re into it. Technology wise, we Yeah, I don’t really know. I mean, with wytchwood gun head and mod box I’ll go into once I realized that I it’s very hard to keep three code bases in my head at once. It was very much like they’re very much like that movie, the butterfly effect where Ashton Kutcher keeps getting universes in his head until it explodes. That’s what it felt like three different code bases that you’re working on. So yeah, I realized that multiple projects like they there’s there’s a lot of advantages to having multiple projects as a company I it’s nice to be able to switch between things like gun head was always for the when it first started was always kind of the backburner project. But until then, we had extra, like, time we go back to gun head. But, but then it has its challenges were like, three things are coming together at once. And they’re all like, the ideal is to have one project and pre production one that’s really going on when you’re just releasing, I think. But what happened is, is we’d like okay, all three of these things need to come out right now. And we’re finished all three of these things as soon as possible. And isn’t, that’s not the ideal situation. So yeah, I still think we’re gonna continue to do multiple projects. It’s just like, I think it’d be a little bit smarter about it going forward in terms of we wouldn’t be doing multiple five year projects, I don’t think it’d be like, like, right side by side, right. Like, yeah, that’d be like, the big one, the small experiment, one, that sort of thing. And maybe like, like, something like mod box was good, because it was so different than everything else. But when you release in wytchwood, it is, like just releasing, it is such a huge production, you just need to get like the marketing lined up and the trailers, it’s very different than sort of this strange, experimental VR title sort of thing. Than, you know, a standard giant game release. So I think we just need to, we’re gonna continue to do multiple projects, but just be smarter about it.

Scott  32:56  

I guess that’s, that’s another benefit of like we were discussing before with with alientrap, just being kind of all over the map when it comes to your style is that you do get that relief. If you do two or three titles going on at the same time, you’re not moving to another title. That’s something that’s very similar something that’s in the same vein, at least you get to kind of move your brain but of course, you’re going to three different ones. I feel it could be a little bit overwhelming. But at least gives you that like respite that you could go from something like Mont Blanc Su, wonderful fairytale land like

Lee  33:20  

which was, yeah. And then if you just want to shoot things, gunhead. So Exactly.

Scott  33:25  

Which is actually the the last thing I want to get into was obviously gun head being the sequel to crypt arc. Right. So that was something that you really you guys loved. And same thing, critical acclaim, which is just so fun to to be able to see that and just constantly these nine intends on Steam, and all these great reviews for a lot of these titles. So what was it about crypt arc that made you guys decide, you know, what, we need to do a sequel? Because if you’re saying gun head kind of went alongside everything else, so it feels like you’ve made that decision pretty, pretty early on after cryptoworks release. So I’m just curious kind of how that went? 

Lee 33:56  

Well, it’s funny, because I think it happened like while before crypt Ark was finished, and we started, but actually, it’s funny also, because crypt Ark is not our most successful game. Like it’s probably at least less successful than wytchwoodn’t Apotheon but it’s for some reason, the one we’re making a sequel to like, that doesn’t make any sense. So that’s not how you run a company. You don’t take your least successful property and make a sequel to it.

Scott  34:18  

Perfectly a claim though,

Lee  34:19  

yeah, no. And it’s actually like, it’s still I think cryptarc is probably my favorite of our games. Really, when I look back, like it’s when I go back to the most and like, it’s the best. It’s my it’s my favorite action experience, I’d say. So, how it started with that we were finishing crypto Ark and then 3d artists on the mod box team had time. And so he had the idea like, Well, I kind of want to actually I think he just shared his own experimental like, he just took one of the crypto garden and made a model of it. A 3d model. I think it was like the crypto Ark, main guy. And then we’re like,

Jesse  34:53  

Well, that looks the next the next suit for it. Yeah, yeah.

Lee  34:56  

So it was like, Well, that looks awesome. You should keep doing that. And then he’s I started making them more of this concept like taking cryptarc and putting in 3d. And then we had another project. So you know, and then we suddenly had another game that we were doing.

Jesse  35:09  

It was one of those weird things where was like, Oh, this game, it just it translates entirely into 3d really don’t have to, like, come up with any new game systems or anything. It always been a good feeling.

Lee  35:19  

Yeah, it was most satisfying. Like when it was starting with the most satisfying development. It’s, it’s been like the longest now. But like, when it was starting, it was incredibly sad. Because I always wanted to make an FPS game again, my first game was that nexus and fps, which was in the Quake engine, right? Yeah. So this is a unity, but I wanted to, I had a lot of FPS things I wanted to try out. And so combining that with crypto ark, and it was just so satisfying production wise, it was like we did pre production before hand in that, like in my crypt Ark was because we just took all these ideas of crypto Ark and put them in 3d. And it was such a great chance to do a sequel because it was like so different. It’s not like we didn’t have the same game and some new weapons or something, it was completely different. But it used all the same things that we learned and everything. So it was really great production for a while. And then basically what happened with gun head is that once we got further with going ahead and wytchwood, we were at the point where they were both in the same production state. And we needed to finish which, so we so that’s what the that’s why gun head got pretty delayed. to that. Due to that.

Scott 36:29  

But yeah, was exciting to be able to go back to crypto Ark from a narrative perspective, there’s something good Miyota going again, head because like, again, being a direct sequel, there obviously must be a lot of like, tie ins. So I’m just curious if like from from a narrative perspective, which is something that you enjoyed going back? And was it something obviously, not knowing that you’re gonna be doing a sequel right after? Were there any challenges or any any fun things that you got to you kind of got to take that you’re like, Oh, I didn’t know we were gonna be able to do this, I’m really excited to be able to kind of continue this part of the story or continue that part of the story.

Jesse 36:59  

So So yeah, it’s like, I mean, coming. So the narrative of Godhead is something that still has to be kind of fleshed out somewhere. We have a lot of systems, but how they kind of connect and relate to the previous game.

Lee  37:13  

And it’s still coming together. Yeah. But

Jesse  37:17  

I mean, also, like the, you know, the narrative for crypto Ark is it’s pretty thin as well, it was more about just kind of setting up the atmosphere and the characters and things like that. And then having enough kind of interesting dialogue to string together the different rogue lights and stuff like that. So like, there had kind of been narrative roguelikes before that, but nothing super, you know, there wasn’t like Hades

Scott 37:42  

or anything like that, as always right about saying I was like one was a pre Hades world and one is a post Hades world. Yeah, I feel like that’s the kind of mindset going into things of Will there.

Jesse  37:52  

Yeah, and being like, this much story in roguelike. Yeah, so you know, I’m not super sacred about the the lore narrative. In the end of the day, I suppose it’s much of Space Pirates blowing up skeleton cyborg ships, which I

Scott  38:11  

feel is honestly a big relief for for a lot of people like obviously, we all love our narrative in certain games. And like, I that’s one of the things that draws me to like some of my favorite games of all time. But then being able to go into games like that, where it’s like, you don’t need to sometimes they’ll be like a game almost like kind of bogs it down in a bit. We’re like, Okay, I need to read this. You know, I need to read this part of the menu, or I need to make sure I talk to every single person when I go back or something like that. This one you can kind of just go in and shoot stuff. And just enjoy yourself. So that was really nice for you guys.

Jesse  38:40  

Yeah, yeah, kind of the the more and more projects I do the more are the less beholden I am to a lot of kind of nitty gritty things like for which what it was very satisfying to just kind of let go and have fun with the like, dumb fairy tale aspects of things. And being like, and then please make sense. Because they’re like fairy tales like that, you know, that things just kind of happen in them and they’re fun and goofy and weird. And that’s, that’s more the point of it. Yeah, rather than trying to, you know, admit ticularly see world build

Scott  39:14  

this foreign page document where you can fully appreciate the world. Like, I’m going to, I’m getting back to like the Witcher three, obviously, it’s the next and it’s like, gone through all the Bucks go to the games, but like, this is like such a gigantic task to be able to enjoy this game.

Jesse  39:28  

What is what is this political system that exact and

Scott  39:32  

being able to go into something without that kind of baggage and be able to just kind of go in and enjoy it and there’s nothing too far beneath the surface. And it’s it’s kind of relaxing in a way

Jesse  39:43  

Apotheon was a little bit like that, because obviously we were drawing on pre existing Greek mythology and we actually brought in a mythology. Scholar, scholar. Yeah, it’s amazing to help that a lot with you know, getting things right. And Greek mythology is awesome because it basically also fairy tales. So they’re completely, you know, contradictory and they change themselves all the time, dark. But yeah, that was it was a lot to consider a lot of threads to kind of keep tangled or untangled when you’re writing this narrative, even if it’s only just for you. And the one other person that, you know, I spent way too much time reading Greek mythology. Yeah, definitely having a little looser story is something else for a lot of games.

Scott  40:33  

So with all of this, all these titles that we’ve gone through, obviously, we’ve got head being the next thing that of course you’re working on. Is there anything else that you just as a studio, you know, pie in the sky, a type of game or like a type of genre like that you would love to do next, like whether like don’t think budget limitations or, you know, a small team, but like, what is something that you would kind of point to and be like, You know what, at the end of the day, this is the title I’ve always wanted to make, or this is the genre, I’ve always wanted to be able to, you know, dip our toes into.

Lee  41:01  

We either like holiday get together last night. So we actually brought up that same topic. It’s strange. I was only like, eight hours ago or whatever. It’s really up late.

Jesse  41:09  

I think we’ve learned that same question. Yeah, it’s

Lee  41:11  

the exact same worded questions strangely. Right now we like so gun head is going to be the next release. But we are still working like we’re still a multi project team. But I think we’re going to be a little bit smarter than before, and not announce things too early. we did that with wytchwood we announce gun head too early to but we like for both? wytchwood gun head. What you saw in that first trailer was everything we had. And not only everything we had, but like everything that not even most of that worked. So it’s just get together to make it Yeah. And the trailer. Why we did that, like I it’s really satisfying to get things out. So I think we’re just like, I always I used to just want things to be public, whatever I was working on. I like I you know, we were never really like, Oh, we got to keep it secret. So like, big reveal. We just wanted to get things out there. But now I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think that we can be a little bit smarter about that. So I think with the exception again, had you probably I don’t think we’re going to be announcing anything till after it was released. But we’re kind of still working on other projects. That I’m kind of just saying that because it’s so I don’t want to say let our dream of course, of course. So we have a sort of dream projects that we like, hopefully still doing as the site things but unlimited budget thing i like i i We were just talking about this last night. So I still want to do a GTA like,

Scott  42:31  

we’re going all the way back to the opening question.

Lee  42:33  

Yeah, I yeah, my dream game I keep bringing up with Jesse and we had a discussion about this last night. I don’t want to give too many details. Cuz Oh, no, please, please. I really, I really want to dive into like procedural generation in Grand Theft Auto typesetting, just like a city with a lot of interacting systems. So I think there’s a lot of like, I don’t know how far down it would get the procedural generation. I did some experiments with Modbox with AI and AI dialogue, like aI saw your talk with your with yo, yeah. And then so I want to make it I don’t know, if the I don’t know, I’m struggling to I’m still figuring out if that works well with the game. But I think that could work well with a sort of procedurally generated city. And then if you just sort of embrace like aI right now, when you talk to them like that those chat bots, they can say anything. So like, you know, if you try to make a detective game, for example, with them, they might an AI may confidently give you a wrong clue, you know, when you’re asking the questions, and that really screws up a lot of things. But But I think there’s a potential to make games with that in mind, sort of the right, the right procedurally generated sandbox, and you have to just accept that it doesn’t have this sort of, you can’t force it to have certain mechanics, because it just anyway, that’s the sort of dream game that I hope we dive into at some point.

Scott  43:43  

So there’s might not be the podcast for it, because I’m not an expert in this at all. But you do see a lot of those conversations talking about procedural generation and AI, and will that make things easier for game? devs? Do you think that there’ll be something this is a question to both of you? Do you think there’d be something lost in that I personally do. But again, coming from the two of you have been in game development for over 10 years, having that human touch to things because there’s a lot of mimicry, right, there’s a lot of imitation that you can do with AI, but just having like, the nuances and just that, do you think we’re close to that? Where you it’d be almost indistinguishable from from, you know, a human writer? And do you think that that is kind of where the industry is going? And you think there’ll be it’s a good thing?

Jesse  44:24  

I mean, the whole discussion with AI is, and it’s a whole,

Scott  44:28  

that’s what I mean, I’m like, this is not the podcast. I know, the interest that you guys have in it. So I’m just curious to hear from the

Jesse  44:33  

experts, especially right now. You know, lines are being drawn and yes, and things like that. I I’ve got a couple of different directions on it. You know, there’s obviously the whole ethical part of it right now is that’s one aspect and then there’s, there’s almost like a, like a humanist existential part of it. On the other side of it like as as an artist, and you know, there’s a There’s a certain point where like a tool switches over into automation. And then the, you know, the start losing the creators, like imprint on something. And I think that’s usually the finding where that line is is like, so much of like digital art, even currently is like trying to simulate and get back to like old, like how do I how do I mimic like a pen like a pen brushstroke or paintbrush or stuff like that? So, I don’t know, it’s a, it’s tricky, but yeah. But from a production side of things, like I also get the thing, the idea of like, you know, finishing a project, and being able to have efficient production, because a long wait. Yeah, it’s just a matter of figuring out where, where that distinction between tool and automation is, I think,

Lee 45:55  

the What about you? Yeah, I think that I’m excited about AI, art and the possibilities there. But in the sense of that, I think it will allow for people to, like someone to, like, with a creative vision to make a very large production, I think it’ll allow for, like, I I’m not really a fan right now of the current, a lot of current ways that we’re someone just puts in a prompt and like, I made this, and it’s just like a collection of other people’s things that did like, put together, but I think there’s a way to do it, I think there’s a way to do it, that sort of sort of as a tool that will allow people to, like, you know, maybe maybe in 20 years, we’ll see what the equivalent is of a Marvel movie made by a teenager or like, that is the extreme example. But that idea that like, it’ll allow people to get their creative vision across with a smaller with just because of the better tools

Lee  46:49  

think that’ll happen. Because I I’ve, based on what I’ve seen, I like it looks like it’s going down a path, that it’ll allow you to have more authorship. So like, I don’t think the tools are there right now, right now, it is very much that. Like, it’s not, I don’t think it’s very well suited for gay mark yet in that you just like give a prompt that is just a random thing. But there’s a potential of you direct it in a certain way or you, you give it a reference, you try to give it shape, and you give it that you give it the vision, and then it it helps with this sort of, and then it knows the sort of patterns of what it was, like, I like to that vision, and it helps you along that path. So I’m excited for it in that way. But I Yeah, it’s it’s going to be weird. there’s gonna be a lot of arguments about it and weirdness. And, and I’m very conflicted about it, too. There was a there was a Twitter thread, recently, someone made entire children’s book. And then it was just like, it was the end of it. i My, my take is like, I don’t know, you know? Yeah, I don’t I really don’t have it. Like, I kind of am very, I can see books, ideas of that. And like both have, you know, very, I’m very conflicted. It’s what I would say. That’s

Scott  48:02  

a good answer. Yeah, I know what you’re getting into conversations, just having the two of you in here and AI coming up. I was like, I gotta ask, I gotta know. Cool. So one of the things that I always got to ask everyone on the podcast, especially, we have some amazing professionals that come through here, like the two of you, as you do have a lot of people that are either looking to break into the industry, or are in other facets of the industry, and maybe looking to get more into art or maybe looking, getting more to programming and design and everything that you guys are working on. So I would love to be able to hear just like two quick pieces of advice that you would give to those people. I know you’ve been asked questions like this before, I’m just curious if there’s like you’re to go to and if like you’re looking to break into the industry or you’re looking to make that shift, what are like the two quick hits that you to YouTube usually throw there

Jesse  48:49  

I would say that being a being a generalist is a is a very helpful skill. You know, I feel like a lot of people I’ve talked to you, and even myself when I was a kid I was like I’m gonna be like, I’m gonna be a concept artist, I’m gonna be a character artists are going to be you know, this, this one specific specialty. And especially for indie games, like there. Everybody wears so many hats. And so being able to do a lot of things is very, very helpful even if they’re just like cursory understanding, like you know, I understand so little about like Unity in general, or a lot of the coding tools right like that, but like just being able to look at them and and be involved in the conversation when it comes to design or implementation or the production pipeline. Just having a little bit of understanding is so so helpful. So yeah, that’s that’s the one thing I would I would push is you know, just educate yourself on a lot of different little things like especially with with YouTube tutorials like but a little bit of 3d learn a little bit of audio design and a little bit of, you know, level design XYZ. I like it all Thought useful?

Scott  50:01  

I’ve heard a lot of that from, like, all the producers, like production specialist that we’ve talked to, has been exactly that where it benefits them so much to have a little bit of experience in everything that they’re managing, essentially. Right? So exactly. You may not be the expert in it, but you at least understand that there’s nothing worse than having, you know, a manager go in and say, Hey, why isn’t this done? And they have no idea of the the challenges are or how the pipeline works. So even to have that generalist understanding that for that a lot from from producers. What about yourself?

Lee  50:38  

Yeah, well, I think just from my own sort of how I learned and how I do things is, I tried to, I tried to make everything like a project I like if I’m trying to sort of get into a 3d development trying to get something into VR, I would just do it. And then rather than sort of reading a book of how to do it, and then, you know, being like, Oh, I’ve now studied it, all I can now start is you can just start and then just be horrible at it. And then that was the only way that I’ve ever learned to do anything was just through projects. I feel like so my advice, my advice for being to get into game development is kind of just dive in and then see where that takes you.

Scott  51:16  

Do either of you have any experience in AAA? Or has it always been just indie from the start? And this is just the way you, you like to do business?

Jesse  51:24  

Started started at the school. So yeah, I worked making Facebook games for like, I don’t know, a year and a half. I think that’s an artist. But you know, that was that was obviously not your play. But that’s the only other kind of game studio experience that I

Lee  51:42  

have. Yeah, I would love to see how like valve works with their weird organizational structure. There’s something weird going on with my lights were just randomly flickers. But that so yeah, I would love to understand that. But so far, we’ve just completely been doing whatever works. So like, we’ve never adopted Scrum or any of its other weird software development models, which I think are all kind of terrible. Yeah, but I would love to, it would be good to know that to know not what not to do, I guess. Yeah,

Jesse  52:13  

like, I know, a couple, a couple of friends that work at larger studios. But that’s mostly hearing, you know, horror stories that come with all of that as well. It is

Scott  52:23  

a great way to break into the industry. Like you were saying, Jesse with being a generalist, getting a job at an indie studio, learning what you want to learn, and you know, taking everything in, and then maybe if you wanted to do something else, or you want to go to AAA, you would go in with, with some experience, I think a lot of people want to start off by saying, hey, I want to work at Bethesda or hey, I want to work at Ubisoft. That’s like, unless you’re, I find it harder for something like that. Yeah, maybe I

Jesse  52:46  

don’t like I don’t know. Because I mean, I can’t speak too much of how the actual structures are work, but a lot of them are very specialist. You know, they’ll have departments for specific things, a lot of them, you will get hired to do a very specific thing. It’s like, okay, you’re making crates, you’re the crate guy. Do nothing else. You don’t implement them in game, you don’t have to write texted them, you’re just making crates. And if they need someone else to hire someone else for another specialty, so I actually don’t know how far generally stuff until you start getting higher and higher up, like you said to the production level jobs where they’re kind of talking to a lot of different disciplines.

Lee  53:24  

For developers that join us, it’s very self directed. Like, we, you know, it’s kind of like, there’s always, usually the thing on slack if someone just like, hey, I tried this. And so it’s not like we had a meeting about that. It’s like, we, you know, it just kind of happened. And everyone is very self directed, which works for us. But I don’t, I don’t know if that model scales or if I don’t know if that works for everyone. And we have to find the right sort of developers that can thrive with that. So

Scott  53:53  

that’s, I think that’s all of that’s really great advice. I’m sure our listeners would appreciate that. So the last thing I always want to get into especially this being an Ontario based podcast is working in Ontario. So for those who don’t know, the Lodgge is part of interactive Ontario. And we were lucky enough to be able to host our first IO Connect. Just a couple of weeks ago, we threw a big event at El Mocambo had a wonderful panel including CD Projekt RED Supergiant Games, the day before they announced Hades to find a message Darren after and be like, Hey, man.

Lee  54:28  

They could have been asked it there and I know right,

Scott  54:30  

I would have been so much better. But yes, and obviously with keywords and Ubisoft as well on that panel. But it reminded me of why I love working here in Ontario. So that was the first big major industry event that I was able to be a part of during my time in IO. And I got to see so many faces like the I was able to talk to you for a bit. So many people that I haven’t really had a chance to talk to because I started working at i o during the pandemic. So both of you have worked in Ontario and Toronto for quite some time. What is your favorite part about Being able to work in the video game industry in Ontario as well as Canada at large. It’s something that you still enjoy to this day or is there a dream of, hey, I want to move to Seattle, I want to work, move to Santa Monica and go to a go to a bigger hub when it comes to that top tier development.

Lee  55:15  

Well, we started in Saskatoon like we we would that’s a when we Jessie was in Toronto when we started the company. And then I was in Saskatoon. Yeah, but we but Jesse’s from Saskatoon. So the company was incorporated in Saskatchewan originally. And then we moved in 2013. I want to say if he doesn’t 14 Yeah, but we specifically chose Toronto because of the game development scene. I remember like, I think at that time, leverages indigenous FaceTime, which is coming out. It’s still I still have all these lovers, indigenous FaceTime posters. It’s still my favorite game, I think. And then at the same time, Walker Melee was coming out and it just seemed just seemed like everything. Yeah, Drinkbox. And that’s the guacamole poster over there, actually. And then at the same time, Cappy was doing super time for it. So it just seemed like a great like, it seemed like the game development hub at the time. And then it’s so we specifically came for that reason. And we were embraced warmly by the gaming community in Toronto. And and yeah, I’m really also looking forward to events coming back.

Jesse  56:21  

But yeah, yeah, they’re they’re just starting to get off the ground now. So it was it was nice to see people again after, you know, three years of not seeing other game developers. Yeah, I would say that’s my favorite part of Ontario, government as well. Because even even outside of Toronto, like no Ottawa has a really big, indie communities while they run we’re getting

Scott  56:43  

there. I’m based out of Ottawa. So we’re getting there. Like, that’s, like so many people only think of Ontario, they always think Toronto. And there’s a reason for that there are just so many studios, and there’s so much talent there. But when you look at like the rest of Ontario, there’s some amazing stuff coming out of Niagara.

Jesse  56:59  

We work with some of the guys as well, exactly

Scott  57:01  

in London, like there’s a lot of like other hubs in Ontario as well. And I think a lot of those are becoming more prevalent. I think Toronto will continue to be kind of the core for in person events, if for nothing else, because less people have to travel. Right for those type of things. Obviously, that’s what hybrid I think is always going to be something important, especially now a lot of the people outside of the GTA, were kind of able to attend more events, because everything went online or everything went hybrid. So I think that’s something that we’re going to, especially Iowa is gonna try to keep going, because we want as many as many people to be able to be there as possible. But yeah, is there is there anything before we head out here that was left unsaid? Anything you want to reiterate or anything that you want to let our audience know about alientrap dropping everything you guys do?

scott  57:45  

You can’t say nothing.

Lee  57:49  

We’re looking for developers right now. So we’re looking to hire people. Cuz we have a few projects. Yeah, the next release there. We’ll see. I think the only next thing that we’re like going to be announcing is the public is the release date for gun head. I think that will be the next announcement. Before we announce anything else that we’re doing? Are we still have a bunch of projects that we’re working on? So I were looking for developers to help for that? Or if people want to join alientrap ship? They should I apply? Because we’re looking for developer, Unity developers, but who knows, we could be looking for writers soon, that sort of thing. Where could they go to apply? On our website? We have a form to fill out.

Scott  58:33  

Perfect. We’ll drop that in the description. Jesse, is there anything from you before we head on out of here?

Jesse  58:38  

Yeah, no, not particularly. Like, I’m just happy to, you know, keep making games. You know, looking at the date and be like, yeah, we’ve been doing this for like over a decade, which, which seems kind of nuts you know, and we’ve we’ve never really described to, you know, crunch culture and that kind of stuff. So it’s just I’m really happy to just keep keep making games. It’s, it’s,

Lee  59:02  

you didn’t say your dream game. And now that I remember

Jesse  59:05  

thinking, Yeah, that’s true. I got it. I have like a little a little notebook for like a dumb game ideas that I feel like most of my my dream game would be taking, taking some obvious idea and then and then flipping it around, and seeing if it still works. Most magic Mikey is with us wouldn’t translate into full games, but they’d be fun for me to very

Scott  59:26  

Game Dev hands on, rather than just like, hey, I want to make the next Hades or hey, I want to make the next Witcher it’s like I want to make something that no one else has ever made before ever even thought of.

Jesse  59:35  

What if this but with a twist.

Scott  59:37  

Right. Well, thank you both for taking the time especially so close to the holidays. I really appreciate both of you taking the time to come and talk to us today. And to share your experience with with myself and our wonderful audience. Again, a big thank you to Natalie for being on the ones and twos in the booth. Making sure all this works properly. And again, obviously Thank you don’t take credit for your continued support of everything that we do here at the lodge So we’re gonna be doing a live stream later on this week. Check out our socials for more details on all of that. And we really hope that all of you have a magical safe and truly relaxing holiday season. We will be back with the next episode of the lodge podcast in 2023. Lee Jesse, thank you again. And until we all see you next year. Take care.


Lee Vermeulen & Jesse McGibney

Co-Founders at Alientrap, Lee Vermeulen & Jesse McGibney sit with Scott to discuss the studio's award winning game Wytchwood, keeping things fresh in game design, working in Ontario, and more!

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