Weather Factory's Cultist Simulator is a game we really enjoyed, as you can read in our review, and while the unique proposition certainly won't be to everyone's tastes, it seems as if enough people enjoyed what it aimed for to make it a success.
"Really good. It's exceeded all our expectations," says co-founder and writer Alexis Kennedy when asked about Cultist Simulator's popularity in the interview below, which was recorded at Fun & Serious in Bilbao. "I think we're about five times our most optimistic expectations so far, so I commercially it's been great, and critically it's been good."
"It's an unusual game it's not to everybody's taste, but enough people love it."
The game by Weather factory released in May to try and see - as co-founder and producer Lottie Bevan put it - "how you can marry narrative mechanics in a new way". In many other games with cutscenes and a separate core mechanical loop "things tend to stop and start, and we wanted to play around with a card-based interface which could mesh both the story and the mechanics at the same moment in time, so with the single act of combining cards together to create new cards you're also furthering the story and deciding where you want to go and how you want to continue with your cult."
Speaking about how to design a narrative this way, Kennedy adds that "I wanted the player to feel like they were a cultist, peeling away the skin of the world to uncover secrets, so the game initially presents a very limited set of interactions and it challenges you go on and find a wider set of interactions. And that experience -this is the feedback we've got, I guess we succeeded- makes you feel as if you are forcing the world to give up its secrets gradually."
In the interview Bevan also talks about production and limitations, keeping in mind the indie business realities. As for what's up next from Weather Studio, they have two new projects, one smaller and another one bigger than Cultist, but "both insane".
"We're always going to be a narrative-first studio, Alexis is always going to be a very brilliant writer," Bevan laughs.
What would you like to see from this studio in the future?