We had the interview all about Little Nemo, the inspiration behind the game, and how you can support it!
1. What inspires your work?
I think my inspirations come from two buckets: the games that inspire the gameplay design of Little Nemo, and the art and games that inspire me visually. Little Nemo is extremely nostalgic for me, so in making a new Little Nemo game, I wanted to make it very much about nostalgia.
So for the gameplay I was looking to my favorites of the NES and SNES era. Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA) and 3, Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, and Capcom’s Disney Afternoon games (DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers) most directly influence the game’s moment-to-moment gameplay. But games like Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night most influence the world design and layout.
And in the visual style of Little Nemo I was very directly inspired by recent games like The Dragon’s Trap remake by Lizard Cube and Hollow Knight. It made me realize just how good you can make a modern platformer look with hand-animation and careful parallax layering. But that nostalgia comes into play here as well because I was also very influenced by Calvin & Hobbes. It’s probably a little difficult to see it in the game, but it’s really been a primary influence when I was defining the visual style of the game.
2. Tell us about Little Nemo? What can fans expect?
Little Nemo and the Guardians of Slumberland is aiming to be a metroidvania for people that want something a little less like the contemporary melee combat-centric norm, and instead focused more on taking classic platformer gameplay into a large, seamless, open world. And the vibe is much more cute and nostalgic. I like moody games, but it struck me that most metrodvania games are very dark and moody and I wanted something that played like a modern metroidvania, but felt more whimsical like you’re playing Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog.
So in Little Nemo, instead of getting new guns and armor, you’ll get new toys and PJs. Instead of collecting souls, you collect candy.
And to talk a bit about the story: Little Nemo finds himself in Slumberland, which is being taking over by a mysterious _something_ called the Oblivion. It threatens to consume all of Slumberland, so you’ll need to aid the guardians found in each zone (by returning them to their human form) so that together you can push back the Oblivion and rescue King Morpheus in the palace.
3. What are your goals for 2023?
In 2023 I want to ship Little Nemo. It’s going to be a difficult timeline working on both the art and engineering myself, but I think I’ve positioned myself with systems and an art pipeline that will scale nicely to allow me to wrap up next year.
4. What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do?
It’s tough for me to give advice simply because I don’t feel like I’m the best positioned. I haven’t actually shipped a game yet! So take any advice I have with a pound of salt. But I think what’s gotten me this far is making sure I’m always enjoying the work I’m doing. Do what you need to to make the work fun because otherwise why would you be making games? Making games is stupidly difficult, it’s a ton of work, the end product is usually undervalued, you’re competing with huge teams (even in the indie space) that can do the same work in a fraction of the time. It’s scary. So do whatever you need to to enjoy your day-to-day or you’ll quickly burn out.
5. Where and how can people support your work?
You can support DIE SOFT in the making of Little Nemo by backing our Kickstarter [https://kickstarter.com/projects/diesoft/little-nemo…] and by joining our Discord community [https://discord.com/invite/9NymgSJAVp…] and our mailing list [https://getrevue.co/profile/diesoftgames…].
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Tatiana Stec is the Co-Founder and Creative Director at All Ages of Geek. You can follow her on Substack.