Old School Gamer Magazine chats with Victor Burgos, Creative Director, Burgos Games, who discusses his new game, “Neko, Ghost, Jump!.”
About Neko, Ghost, Jump!:
Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?
Victor Burgos: The game was a gamejam submission originally, https://victorburgos.itch.io/neko-ghost-jump-game-jam, that’s the “before look” in the video we showcased https://youtu.be/2GKZldWT1N8
Old School Gamer Magazine: What is your role in the game?
Burgos: I am the Creative Director, Project Manager, Level Designer, Programmer, Marketing/PR. Basically, the boss whose wearing way too many hats, but this is typical indiedev.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What has development been like?
Burgos: It’s been a rollercoaster! Trying to get people to notice the game has been very tough! A lot of money was put into PR/Marketing, with okay results, but sometimes the free marketing is the best (things like Steam events/festivals). But having to constantly worry that I don’t have enough Steam Wishlists has been a lot of strain and time into trying to increase our community size and getting those wishlist numbers up. When I am not worried about the PR/Marketing side, it’s simply production, production, production! We do weekly sprints, so every week something new is in the game, the team I have grown is terrific and very dependable. Funding was an issue at one point, which was resolved with a Kickstarter that was successful last year https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/burgosgames/neko-ghost-jump and most recently, with an Epic Games MegaGrants award: https://twitter.com/NekoGhostJump/status/1357055398470168579
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?
Burgos: Because I made it (no just kidding!). Real answer: It takes a premise that is rarely used in video games, using not one but two perspectives in the game where you have to utilize both to progress in the game. Sure some games have different camera options (like 3rd person, 1st person), but this is completely different and part of the fun! Also, I’ve made sure to make it with as much cuteness/kawaiiness as possible, for two reasons, 1) so that players of all ages can play it, and 2) so that I can trick players who think it’ll be easy, haha. It’s always fun to see players say… oh, “I thought this wasn’t going to like this game since it will be easy, but it’s actually very challenging and fun!”.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What games influenced this one the most?
Burgos: Honestly, when the game jam happened, it was the theme that got me thinking about 2D and 3D. But a lot of people compare us to Super Paper Mario or Crush 3D, and having done research on both those games during development I can see some similarities, and I’ve enjoyed seeing what I can do just as good or better than those games.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Burgos: Well, honestly, having a successful Kickstarter and receiving an Epic Games MegaGrants is pretty damn awesome! But, last year before COVID hit, I showcased the game at PAX South 2020, DreamHack Anaheim 2020, and PAX East 2020, all within a month! It was a very stressful yet enjoyable experience, I met a lot of wonderful people at those events.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What were the major lessons learned?
Burgos: I’m pretty sure, I’m still learning new lessons every day, especially since it’s not released yet! But, so far, I think communication is key. Getting visibility for the game out to the masses, you need to start as soon as you have something to show, and make them very nice things to look at!
Old School Gamer Magazine: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Burgos: It depends wholely on the genre. Some people hate the “lives” or “difficulty” systems, done so it would increase time played or make it easier for players to get a challenge or give a reason to replay the game. I think they can be useful still. I have 9 lives in the game right now (9 lives…cat…get it?), and I think I do plan on doing a difficulty system as well, but that’s not 100% yet.
Regardless, I think it’s important to create new gameplay mechanics, seeing the same things in every game can make it quite boring to play other games.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
Burgos: I missed a 90% shot on a Cryssalid right in front of me with a Plasma Rifle and then it takes out my Colonel, making every troop with low morale go Berserk in X-COM: UFO Defense (original, but I guess this happens in new XCOM as well, lol). Not a day good. Good thing for saves.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How have your previous experiences in the industry helped this game?
Burgos: I worked on a few projects before this one, but the biggest one was Contagion VR: Outbreak. I was the Lead Programmer on that project, but I also did Marketing/PR and was active with the community. I think the experience helped me with my own marketing and PR efforts with this game. I knew what I needed to do.
Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want this game to ultimately be remembered?
Burgos: Honestly, as long as people can enjoy the game for what it is and think it was a good buy, I’ll be very happy! I’m not out here looking to get any GOTY awards, my scope on the project was narrow on purpose, I wanted to see what I could get done with my own studio in a short amount of time. I now know how much time and what hurdles can come about during development for my next projects.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Burgos: Honestly, it will all depends on the game’s sales. Either I will create more content for the game, work on some smaller games in the same universe, or perhaps just start working on my next idea. I want to create bigger and bolder games, this one was more of an experiment to see if I could do it, what I could do, and how long it would take as I said before. So now, with all the lessons learned, I want to really start thinking about, what can I do to compete with whatever is just below GOTY awards! I want to take baby steps, I don’t want to rush into anything and burn out or waste a lot of time or money. I want to build my community bigger, organically, manageable and then BOOM, have you all heard about “this game by Burgos Games?!”, that’s what I want eventually. With time, dedication and commitment, I can do just that.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add?
Burgos: Nope, I think I’ve covered everything about the game. But, in case it’s relevant. Burgos Games is a Minority- and Military Veteran-owned, Puerto Rican with 12 years in the US Marines.