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Friday, June 23, 2017

The fast five with Lachlan Snell; the Aussie building awesome fanservicey anime games


Interview by Matt S.

Australia has such a vibrant community of game developers! We might not have any large developers of AAA-games any longer, but we have many indie developers, doing many interesting and creative things. The fast five series of interviews is designed to highlight some of Australia's creative talent and what they're getting up to.

This week we have a chat with Lachlan Snell, a developer that works on games very much after our own hearts at DDNet. You may have already played his previous release - Max's Big Bust - a anime-themed visual novel that was a whole lot of fun. There's plenty more where that came from!

Matt S: What are you working on at the moment, and how's it going?
Lachlan S: Right now I'm working on a RPG/Life Sim Hybrid called Alluna and Brie and the Tentacle Menace. It's a direct follow up to my previous visual novel (Max's Big Bust - A Captain Nekorai Tale), and it follows a girl named Brie who is accidentally blessed with the completely useless power to summon tasty grilled cheese sandwiches out of thin air. It's a pretty silly game and features all sorts of ridiculous things like an invading army of monster girls and a fully playable sport where girls turn themselves into mermaids using a device called a Mermalator and then proceed to ruthlessly attack each other with their tails, kind of like a sexy version of footy. The game is set in Australia and you can eat all sorts of Aussie foods like chicken schnittys and lamingtons, and so far development is going really well. We're aiming to have the game finished by Q2 2018, but if everything goes well we should be ready a bit before that. Hopefully.

Matt S: What do you think about the state of the Australian game development industry at the moment?
Lachlan S: I'm an indie developer and I work from home so I'm not really impacted by external factors, but it's really disappointing to see all these bigger companies leave Australia, it's very different to how it was two decades ago. I've met a few indie developers at conventions, but from what I can gather there's not a whole lot of us, and that's really disappointing. People in Australia have a different and interesting world view, and Australia is a great setting for a video game. We need more representation out there! Somehow I don't think this new GST implementation is going to help with that.

A new character just unveiled for Alluna and Brie and the Tentacle Menace

Matt S: What recent game would you recommend to people at the moment, and why?
Lachlan S: I've been pretty busy lately and I've missed a few big releases, but I absolutely adored Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. I've never really loved the 3D Zeldas like Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess, I've always preferred the 2D handheld spinoff series a lot more, but there was just so much content and humour hidden away in Breath of the Wild, like the crazy flower lady and that fantastic side quest where you build a village from scratch. It completely changed my opinion on open world games, definitely pick it up if you haven't yet.

Matt S: What's something you love about the general games industry at the moment, and what's something you wish would change?
Lachlan S: I really like how pretty much all game genres are covered by at least one developer now, if you want a strategy game or a point and click adventure game there's bound to be something new to play, and that's fantastic.

What I really wish would change is this race to the bottom with pricing. It's understandable that indie games should cost less than a AAA retail product, but games have value, and this new expectation of an indie game being dirt cheap is a big reason why there's so much shovelware and non-games on Steam and PSN at the moment.

Matt S: Hatsune Miku; yes/no?
Lachlan S: The Project Diva games are a lot of fun, but I really think Hatsune Miku needs a more concrete back story. Sometimes she's a school student, sometimes she's married to an astronaut who blows up in space and sometimes she's just dancing around in a cat costume. I'd love to see Miku in an anime or story heavy game, because she's a bit of a blank slate. A super cute blank slate with awesome hair.

- Matt S.
Editor-in-Chief
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld


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The fast five with Lachlan Snell; the Aussie building awesome fanservicey anime games
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