Tuesday, 15 November 2011

An Interview with Ben Kane (DLC Quest)

Recently I played through a funny, and rather charming Xbox Live Indie game, called "DLC Quest." A satire of games companies increasing reliance on downloadable content, DLC Quest is an enjoyable but brief adventure.

I managed to ask it's creator, Ben Kane of Going Loud Studios a few questions about the game, and much more. 
Q. Welcome to 8-Bit Girl! Could you introduce yourself to my readers?

A: Hi, my name is Ben Kane and I'm the sole member of a little indie game development outfit I call Going Loud Studios. We make games mainly for the Xbox Indie marketplace and have been doing so for a little over a year now. We also like using the "royal we" when referring to ourselves.

Q. Your latest Xbox Live Indie game, DLC Quest is an excellent satire that mocks the industries reliance on downloadable content. What made you choose to create a game centred around this theme? 

A: I think DLC is a concept that gets abused by publishers more and more these days, and everybody sees it. I didn't actually intend to make a game entirely about DLC at first however. Instead, I was planning on adding some mock DLC to one of my existing games as a joke. Development on that game was running long though, so I just wrote down the idea and set it aside. In the months that followed, more and more ridiculous DLC was announced throughout the industry and so I kept writing down more ideas. When it came time to start a new project, I looked at my notes and thought, "Geez, there's enough here to be a game in itself!". 
Q. I loved the retro look, and the game made me chuckle on more than one occasion! What is your favourite aspect of DLC Quest?

A: I love the sheep that wander around the world. I added them just to see if players would attack them or not - and it turns out that's pretty much the first thing everybody tries to do. There's no reason to hurt the sheep but games seem to have taught players to hit things with the sole intent of seeing what happens.

Q. Do you have any intention of expanding DLC Quest into a larger game, or perhaps as a sequel? 

A: DLC Quest is a pretty condensed affair. It's deliberately brief, since I think there's little to gain from overstaying your welcome and having the humour wear thin. In that sense, I don't think it would have the same effect to simply create "more of the same", be it in the form of an update or a sequel. Fortunately, there are a lot of things the industry does that can be mocked and so I think there's still a great opportunity for humor and satire.
Q. Any advice for anyone wishing to bring their indie game onto the Xbox 360 Indie section?

A: I think the best advice would be to get started now and check out the community at the AppHub (
create.msdn.com). There are more than enough tutorials, resources and genuinely helpful people around to get started. Start small and finish a game, then publish it. The barrier for entry has never been lower and it's a fantastic feeling to see your work published on the marketplace.

Q. And finally, what's next for Going Loud Studios? 

A: To be honest, the huge reception of DLC Quest has caught me off guard - it has far exceeded my expectations. So I'm taking my time to listen to feedback and really try to dig into what went right with this release. One great aspect about being an independent developer is that I can shift gears whenever I want. With any luck, you'll be hearing about our next title in the near future!

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