Old School Gamer Magazine chats with “Good Knight” developer Shuoyang Yu, who lets us know what makes this beautiful game a special one.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?
Shuoyang Yu: Well the game was born out of ” we can do it, we should do it ourselves ” started when a close family member financed us for a couple of months to do a small mobile arcade style game and we got invited into ESGS 2018 in Manila and things picked up from there, lots of positive feedback so we thought we should push to make a full feature game.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What is your role in the game?
Yu: You take the role of a Spanish Knight who fights monsters from the Philippines mythologies and the monsters within him, it is a long journey, a dangerous one and filled with mystery.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What has development been like?
Yu: Difficult, a lot of ambiguity for the history of the lore as well as the game design it self and the approach of almost creating everything in that, financials was the big major factor in the difficulty, as we are doing our best to juggle freelance work keeping the development and thankfully even when 2020 was difficult, DT made it a bit easier for us by helping us financing the game.
Making a new style of game is hard. Imagine making something without reference and something to compare it to. And now imagine replaying that brutal game a lot.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?
Yu: Oh! A lot! the game play, the monsters, the lore, we think Philippines Mythologies are VERY interesting! from the monsters, the stories and history, really a hidden gem in the South East Asian Folklore.
As for the gameplay it is a unique take on the bullet hell genre, something we are not sure if anyone has ever done before, and we are aiming to make Good Knight a gateway to newcomers for this unique, fun, blood pumping, adrenaline rushing genre.
This game is the first of its kind. It’s almost indescribable, it’s technically a minimalistic pure action game, but it’s as intelligent as a puzzle game hidden in a rage game.
It’s like what an action packed game would be if there is no fat all meat. No second filler.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What games influenced this one the most?
Yu: A lot! Touhou games, Castlevania, Splatterhouse, Rhythm games and classic games spirit in general, even from the old MSX era, the days when we sat at the TV all day trying to clear a level, the level of challenge that builds dexterity that by the end of the day you make the game feel easy to the viewer when in really you mastered the game the mechanics and perfected your flow.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Yu: The local gaming community in the Philippines has provided us with infinit wild moments, at ESGS 2018 we had this guy who came in playing our very early prototype that we showcased at the time, he lost and lost a lot, got upset and left, after 15 mins, he came back and wanted more and kept losing but advancing and getting better, gets upset more and leaves and comes back again after 20 mins and start dominating! Seeing this was epic, he was screaming at the top of his lungs dodging all the bullets and patterns, people were crowding behind him to see what was going on! man that was an epic moment!
Being part of 2019’s Global Game Jam at VR Philippines and their support! man that game jam really pushed it and how much VR Philippines was supportive of our team and work, it was overwhelming, we made a game Called Mama Mo, it was a VR experience about what our Mothers mean to us, that game won and award for being most innovative in that event and VR Philippines helped us showcase that game at CyberZone SM mall and Cristopher David of VR Philippines providing us the equipment and the tech to showcase it and Teejay Jamlang providing technical assistance , really wonderful people!
ESGS 2019!!! AH! It was wonderful! The crowd was more wild as we built a fan base at the time and more players were coming and our local gaming cafe Cosmic Gorgon provided a gift (PlayStation One) for the high score winner and BOY! OH BOY! I tell ya the challenge was right, the fire was burning, players were coming back to check on their score and they see it is broken and they go for another play through to break that score to keep their name on top of the list until the king of the hill! Mytiaoga! This dude was a legend, he kept crushing other players’ scores and climbing to the top and improving his play-through until he dominated the score board and went on a two player game BY HIMSELF! hands and feet! The dude just breed differently! He was a monster!
Even during the lockdown of 2020 during Covid we still had a positive experience being part of the emerging media at one of the biggest art events in the Philippines, Gawad Alternatibo! wonderful people! It really brought joy to our hearts being part of such a big event, helping us realize we are not just pushing our game out but also shaping future game developers to see that game development is a valid career path and video games are a form of art.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What were the major lessons learned?
Yu: Planning is important, as well as team work, even with friends work can be different. Work can be difficult without having a solid plan and fully communicating about everything, even talking about personal life, that will help your teammates understand why things are happening the way they are.
Having community support is extremely important, without our community ( the Good Knight Fans ) and the Shmup Community as well as all the ones I mentioned before (ESGS, VR Philippines, the local gaming community) we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Yu: When it comes to making games as Indie, it is important to focus on what the core is, everything else is a fluffy, a kid will have fun if he had a stick and pretends it is a pistol and he does all the sound effects and imagine the laser and his enemies and what is his goal, he is having fun, so if you think about it he is practically playing lazer tag using a stick.
A game doesn’t have to be open world or fancy triple A graphics and high end stuff to be fun, games from 30 years ago are still fun to this day and we still play them and our kids are now playing them, even today seeing my son enjoying Ice Climber, the game is still so good and engaging to this day.
By today’s standards Ice Climber is too simple. It is a Nintendo game made back in 1984 but it is still heck fun and gets you going, builds a sense of space awareness and timing as well as eye to hand coordination for the young kids playing that game.
For starting indie developers make fun games, focus on fun.
Old School Gamer Magazine: The marketplace is crowded. How do you think you stand out?
Yu: Man that was hard even for us!!! being more involved with the community, being positive with other fellow developers and helping each other out making each other visible like a bee hive, like I mentioned before making a fun game is important, that will bring attention and make the best marketing anyone can ever have, the word of mouth, when people have fun they will tell their friends and their friends will tell their friends, streamers will play it and have fun and the viewers want to be part of the fun and it becomes a chain reaction, at least by our point of view and experience, Alex was working very hard staying engaged with the indie development community as well as shmup community and streamers.
We’re confident that the game is super memorable and good. But we’re relying on word of mouth as the game is pretty unique and that’s the struggle. It’s a must experience game
Old School Gamer Magazine: How have your previous experiences in industry helped this game?
Yu: Alex created tons of hobby and professional projects.
Zaid joined Alex helping create assets for their new puzzle game under Alex’s supervision. did a lot of work from 2D to 3D and was heavily involved in the art asset creation pipeline while freelancing in his free time
Ramon Nario is a hobbyist music composer going pro, no prior experience in the industry but man he is doing some moves now! check out his Spotify, amazing stuff! LEAF XCEED Music Division
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want this game to ultimately be remembered?
Yu: That game that introduced me to Shmup games, has a solid music and really fun to play “
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Yu: We are planning to have ports for consoles and possibly mobile after the full release of the game but we have to finish what we have on our plate first.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add?
Yu: Games are much more deeper than just games, it is part of our culture, our upbringing, it brings experience, camaraderie, self expression, stories, part of our lives, and by our experience, it brings family together and have an activity, games are not just play things, Games have been part of our lives since the dawn of time, now? it just evolved to another level. GK is one of a kind. If you don’t try it you’ll be missing out. Even just a few minutes of this game you’ll admit there’s nothing like it. and that’s not an exaggeration.