nuGame would like to introduce Gareth Noyce, the creator of the upcoming game Lumo. Gareth took the time for an interview about Lumo and even questions regarding his past works and even being a teacher. Enjoy the interview!
UPDATE: The release date for Lumo has changed. There is no official work on when at this time, but you can get more information on Lumo, follow Rising Star Games on Twitter and visit the official Lumo game website at play-lumo.com.
nuGame: First off, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. I know you are probably very busy with the release of Lumo coming up.
Gareth: Not a problem, happy to help!
nuGame: Can you explain to our audience what Lumo is exactly?
Gareth: Lumo is an isometric arcade adventure game, similar in ilk to classics such as Head Over Heels, Monster Max, Solstice and Equinox.
While it’s not a remake of those games, it is a modern re-interpretation of the genre. It’s a type of game that’s been a little bit forgotten about, but it’s also a genre that I grew up playing on machines like the ZX Spectrum. Lumo’s my kinda love letter to those games and the people that made them.
nuGame: What were the inspiration(s) behind Lumo?
Gareth: Head Over Heels was probably the biggest inspiration, as that’s the first game I ever bought back in 1986. It had a pretty big impression on me. The other is probably Equinox, by the Pickford Bros for the SNES. Ste Pickford actively encouraged me to have a go at making an Isometric game over twitter, and the rest as they say, is history.
I’ve been careful not to go back and play the original games, Lumo is more about how I remember them playing, rather than taking direct inspiration from the things in the older games.
nuGame: Many know you because of games like Crackdown, Project Gotham Racing 3, Fable II, and even Too Human. It seems like a majority of these projects were very high profile games. Is creating a smaller title like this a breath of fresh air for you?
Gareth: Yes, in certain senses. By the end of my career in AAA I was entirely focused on managing these really talented teams and big projects, rather than the hands-on aspects of creation. Returning to the coal-face, so to speak, by making my own game, has been great. I’ve learned a lot of skills in areas I’d not worked in before (Art and Animation) and been able to directly inject a lot of my own humour into the game. If something amuses me, then I can make it. I don’t need to pitch it or ask a publisher’s permission!
It takes a while to find your own voice after working in big teams, but with Lumo I think I’ve been able to express myself in ways I’d not previously had the opportunity to do in AAA.
nuGame: Do you think you will ever go back to bigger franchises at any point?
Gareth: Never say never, but no. Absolutely not ;D
nuGame: Some people who work with games in some respect, from designers to even columnists, think that there are too many games out there. Do you agree with this statement? If you do, how do you think Lumo will stand out from the rest?
Gareth: No, I don’t agree with that statement at all. There aren’t too many books. Or films. Or music. Why would there be too many games? Sure, it’s impossible to play ALL the games, but I’m never going to read a library full of books, either. Instead I know where to look to find good books and I can get great recommendations from my friends.
Lumo is going to be released into a busy market, that’s true, but Rising Star Games are a fantastic partner who’ve been working extremely hard to spread the word. I think Lumo is visually intriguing enough to capture people’s eye. And for gamers of a certain age, they’ll instantly see the games that inspired me and what Lumo is trying to do.
nuGame: Are games too expensive from a physical retail store perspective? Do developers have any kind of say when it comes to pricing when working with publishers like Microsoft and if not, is that lack of control the reason we see more independent publishers now than ever before?
Gareth: To be honest, that’s a question for a publisher. I have had a say in the pricing of the game, but physical distribution isn’t something I’ve done directly.
nuGame: Do you have anything in the pipeline after Lumo releases?
Gareth: Yes, absolutely, in fact I keep coming up with new ideas! I doubt I’ll have time to make them all at this rate 😀 Right now I’m entirely focused on Lumo’s release, and polishing it to a shine, but I’ll start on a new project over the summer.
nuGame: I noticed on your Linkedin page that you are teacher as well? Do you find it hard to balance a teaching job and the development of your game? Do your students have any part of your process…you know…for learning reasons. That last part was joke by the way unless they really do.
Gareth: It is a bit of a balancing act so I have limited the amount of teaching that I do, but it’s something that I enjoy and I remember how difficult it was for me to get into the industry. I think it’s important to try and get across the things that I’ve learned and try and help others have a career making games. I want more games! I want to see what these really passionate people are going to make in a few years time…
The students haven’t been involved in Lumo, but I have used Lumo in my lectures to explain design decisions, mechanics and the way I’ve engineered the project. It gives them a bit of an insight into how a slightly larger game is made, so hopefully it was interesting for them 😉
nuGame: I don’t want to take up any more of your time, but I wanted to ask: What is your favorite game that you have played that you had no part of?
Gareth: Anything Nintendo have ever made! What a company. They understand how games can put a smile on your face.
nuGame: Thank you for your time and good luck with your release.
Gareth: Thank you very much! All the best
Lumo will release on April 22nd on the PC, XONE, PS4, and Vita. You can view our Let’s Play in the video at the top of the article.