At BitSummit, we sat down with Christophe Galati, the creator of Tasukete Tako-San: Save me Mr. Octopus. Long time fans will know this is a game that I’m personally excited for. The premise and the graphics line up exactly with my personal tastes.
Make sure to subscribe to Source Gaming on Twitter, as we will be posting a ton of interviews this week. Who knows, maybe we’ll talk about Travis Touchdown and Smash?
I’m PushDustIn, and I’m with Chris, who made Tasukete Tako-san. Can you briefly introduce yourself?
I’m Chris, I’m a 22 year old French indie game developer. I’m making Tasukete Tako-san, a platform RPG where you play as an octopus.
Your project began as a tribute to the 25th Anniversary of the Game Boy. This is also reflected by its wonderful artstyle, that could come out straight from Game Boy. Why did you choose to follow the Game Boy-path?
I started the game three years ago when it was the Game Boy’s 25th anniversary, so I wanted to pay tribute to all of the games I loved in this era. I’ve been deep into development for three years now.
Which game was the main inspiration behind Tasukete Tako-San: Save me Mr Tako!?
There are many inspirations, it’s like a melting pot of Game Boy games – the main ones are Kirby, Zelda, Seiken Densetsu (Final Fantasy Adventure) and Metroid II. For the story, it was more inspired by Final Fantasy VI and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind from Miyazaki.
What was so fascinating about the Game Boy and its games?
At the same time, they are so simple, but also deep – there are always surprises in Game Boy games, as if there was no restriction on creativity in this era, I think. In a game like Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (For Frog the Bell Tolls), you begin by being transformed into a frog, which you don’t expect when you start – I love this kind of spirit.
Could Tasukete Tako-San: Save me Mr Tako! actually run on a Game Boy or Game Boy Color? Or did you used tech, that is impossible to replicate for a Game Boy-version?
No! (laughs) A lot of people have asked me this question, but it’s not possible, because the game was made with Unity.
Tasukete Tako-San: Save me Mr Tako! is one of the last games for Wii U. How do you feel about that “honour”?
I don’t think the game will be on the Wii U any more! (laughs) I just signed with a publisher, so I don’t know which platforms the games will be releasing on. I don’t think the Wii U will be one of them any more.
How was it to work with Nintendo to release it on their home console?
I spoke a lot with Nintendo of Europe – that is why [Tako-san] started as a Wii U game, as I was on the Wii U developer program, so we spoke a lot. Today here at BitSummit, I met with some people from the Nintendo Switch team, so… maybe!
You’ve been working on this game for several years now.
I’ve been working on the game for three years now, mostly in my free time, but now it’s my full-time job.
Has there been anything in particular in the last year that you’ve been working on?
The game follows a story, so development has been straightforward. As I do graphics and programming myself, I polish everything while I do it, I never work in blocks or anything like that. There are not many new things [in the last year], but the story is progressing and I’m happy to give life to the cutscenes I wrote three years ago now.
Are you interested in doing a physical release?
I hope I’ll be able to, I don’t know if I’ll be able to. As I am young and my game is… before it has a physical edition, it would have to sell well, like on Steam. It would be a dream come true.
You said you’re almost done with Tako-san, right?
Yeah, development is almost done. I wanted 50 levels in [the game] and I’ve already made 47, so it’s near the end, but there’s still a lot of work to do.
Do you have any plans for after Tako-san?
(Laughs) I have many ideas, but I don’t know which one I will follow! Maybe I’ll move to Japan to work, or I don’t know if I’ll reach out to a game company or continue to do the indie thing. As I have a student loan, it will depend if Tako-san’s sales re-pay it, I guess.
I think Tako-san has gotten a lot of attention. What do you think?
I’m pretty surprised at the attention I get. I published the first demo three years ago for the Game Boy’s 25th anniversary and it became a bit viral. The communication started in Japan and Japanese people were the first to talk about it. Even though I am French, France was the last to start talking about it, but now they are speaking about it too! Now I think I have to make a new trailer to reboost the communication, but I’m pretty happy with how it went.
Having a publisher will help you to publicise it a little more.
Yeah, as it’s an American publisher, it will help for [communicating with an American audience] and things like that.
‘Tasukete Tako-san!’ is a Japanese title, and you seem very inspired by Japanese culture and language. Is there a particular reason why you’re drawn to Japan?
I grew up with Japanese games, and I love those games and their universe. I really wanted to pay tribute to them because they made my childhood great, so it’s like a way to re-pay my debt.
Do you have a particular creator that you follow?
I grew up with a lot of Nintendo games, so Shigeru Miyamoto is like a living god now. It’s not all games, I love Japanese animation, like [Miyazaki’s work], and cultural things things like Japanese food too.
You’ve also tried takoyaki since coming here, right?
Yeah, I had the idea to make an octopus character when I ate takoyaki for the first time.
So after you ate an octopus, you decided to honor it.
Yeah, I had like a food orgasm when I ate some for the first time, it was great, and I decided to have an octopus character! Then I learned how to cook takoyaki at home.
Oh really? Did you get the fry pan?
Yeah. I know how to make them!
What does being “indie” mean to you?
Being indie is being free to make what you want. When I started making my game, a lot of people asked me “why are you using a Japanese name when you are French?” and “why have you picked an octopus character?”. As I’m indie, I can – in a company, marketing would go over it and say “no, we’ll put this kind of character”. It’s a kind of freedom in a world where things are less Americanised and less hidden than the regular industry.
Do you have any final comments?
Thank you all for supporting the game for so long. I hope that I will be able to release it this year and that you’ll love it when it’s out.
Like Tako-San on Facebook.
Follow Chris on Twitter for updates on Tako-San.
Make sure to subscribe to Source Gaming on Twitter, as we will be posting a ton of interviews this week. No seriously. A ton.