We remembered to interview the developer behind She Remembered Caterpillars. She Remembered Caterpillars is an upcoming puzzle game on the Nintendo Switch that will leave players scratching their heads.The interview was conducted by Nirbion, PushDustin and MasterofBear.
Note: Some parts of the interview were edited for brevity.
PushDustIn: I’m talking with the developer behind She Remembered Caterpillars on the Switch. Can you please briefly introduce yourself?
Bryan Kwek: My name is Bryan Kwek, I’m the executive producer of She Remembered Caterpillars. It’s a game made by a team called Jumpsuit Entertainment which is based in Pascal, Germany. Do you want me to talk about the game?
Bryan Kwek: So She Remembered Caterpillars is a color manipulation game where you basically solve environmental puzzles. Usually, you are given a handful of colorful critters that you need to move across an environment to the kind of escape pads to solve the level. These critters are color coded so as they can traverse the environment they are either blocked or cross bridges that match their color. That’s the nuts and bolts of the game as a puzzle game. But the game is also beautifully drawn. There are 40 levels of handcrafted, meticulously handcrafted art. We are trying to paint this picture of what we like to call a fungi punk world. Which is basically a dark mysterious world that is filled with mushrooms, with space oddities and we really want to tickle your mind and look at things that you really haven’t seen before.
PushDustIn: Is there any particular inspiration behind the art style?
Bryan Kwek: Yeah! So Daniel Goffin, the artist on the game, I think he was inspired by Moebius, a famous French comic book artist, in regards to the color and line work. Daniel himself was a comic artist for some time. But he was also involved with stuff like designing toys…so he’s had a wide variety of visual influences.
PushDustIn: How many people have worked on the game?
Bryan Kwek: The primary team was three…so there was Daniel, the artist. David, the designer and programmer and the writer, Cassandra….her work and experiences really informed the narrative of the game. There’s a narrative beneath the surface of the game. She Remembered Caterpillars on the outside looks really cute but slightly eerie. That feeling taps into the narrative. Like what you see when you manipulate the critters is actually an abstract portrayal of brain surgery. Actually, [the story] is set in the future where nanomachines can actually manipulate brains cells and there’s a back story of a scientist who is trying to plump her dying father’s memories…and trying to figure certain things about their lives. That’s an illusion to what the title of the game is.
Nirbion: I have a question about your hand-drawn art style. How difficult was it to incorporate such an art style?
Bryan Kwek: When you say difficult, I think it’s down to how much time there needed to be spent on it. And the answer is a lot. I think it was something like 1 and a half weeks per background. So technical complexity…it’s not like making Crisis. I don’t think it’s a hyperbole to say that David slavishly worked on the game in order to put all the art together.
Nirbion: It shows.
PushDustIn: You said there are about 40 levels in the game?
Bryan Kwek: That’s right. At the start, as puzzle games go, you need to gently introduce players to the concepts. This game is easy to learn…but…if you can really say you ‘master’ it as the mental gymnastics required to handle some of these levels. I’d say you have a very powerful mind. Many people have told me that the later levels in the game are diabolic. I’ve hit my head against the wall several times when trying to solve and QA this game.
PushDustIn: What kind of gimmicks are there in the later levels?
Bryan: In the start, players just move the critters [around the level]. Actually, the critters are called gammies, it’s kind of a cute name for them. It does mean something but you will have to play to find out. About a quarter of the way into the game, you can start combining the colors, like red and blue equals purple. Red and yellow make orange, and stuff like that. The color-coded obstacles will start to multiple to increase the complexity, and there’s a color sucker…like it removes color altogether. So you can cross any obstacle. Instead of, ‘I’m red so I can’t cross a blue bridge or something like that’.
PushDustIn: How long will it take players to complete the game?
Bryan Kwek: If you were really, really good at mental gymnastics you could easily finish the game in five hours probably…but there are some puzzles you can spend two to three hours and bang your head against the wall…quit the game for a bit, and then come back the next day and you might solve the puzzle in two minutes. It’s just one of those things that with the benefit of a clear mind things go clearly. But that’s the entire fun of the game.
PushDustIn: What lead you to decide to port on the Switch?
Bryan Kwek: Why does every developer go to the Switch? I personally think the gold rush for the Switch is more or less over, but a lot of people have told us that this game makes a lot of sense for a portable system. So they can come back to it at any time, or play when they are commuting and let themselves sink into the puzzle. It doesn’t require absolute engagement.
PushDustIn: Have you begun working on your next game?
Bryan Kwek: Daniel and David have some ideas. So, She Remembered Caterpillars won an award for the Germany Computer Games Awards for best children game. So with the cash prize, they some ideas for the next game.
PushDustIn: What does being indie means to you?
Bryan Kwek: In 2018, the word indie…the term indie is used to handwave a lot of, in my opinion, bad assumptions about what kind of game a solo developer should make. I think when people say indie, there is a certain kind of spirit that they want to explore…they want to craft some experiences that are against the common mold. It might be niche. If it’s a game made by an indie developer, they have chosen their audience. There is a specific audience they chose. You know Bennett Foddy’s recent game, Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy? Like the whole title of ‘I made this game to hurt a very specific sort of person’ So, with indies, I think they have an image of who their audience is. They try their hardest to [deliver a product] that makes that kind of audience go wild.
PushDustIn: Thank you so much.
Bryan Kwek: Thank you.
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