There are countless video game projects seeking funding on Kickstarter and similar crowdfunding sites every day. Success stories like Shovel Knight, Shenmue 3, and Yooka-Laylee show there are avenues outside of mainstream development studios – even if some games like Mighty Number 9 don’t stack up to their promises. Young and eager developers are just as, if not more likely to take on the challenges of crowdfunding than established names like Keiji Inafune or Koji Igarashi. One example is British indie dev Kelechi Apakama, whose Skyrim-inspired open-world RPG Stormrite launches its Kickstarter campaign today.
Game Rant spoke to Apakama about the various influences that went into Stormrite and how he wants to improve upon their ideas alongside his small, international team. Interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Q: Tell me a little about yourself and your history with game development.
A: I’m from the UK, the closest big city around me is Birmingham. I’ve been doing game development for about four years now. I basically started as a hobby a couple of years before I went to uni with a Python text-based game, trying to make something that looked kind of cool so I could show it to a couple of people. Then it kind of developed from there to making 2D games, into 3D games, making loads of prototypes but not really finishing anything.
Then I finished my first proper game, it was called Pixel Invaders on the Google Play store. Its got about 100 downloads at the moment, not quite off the ground yet. That was just my first released project, after that I made a few more. One that gained a bit of traction on the Google Play store is called Keep It Up! Since then, I transitioned from mobile games into PC games, because I’ve always wanted to make PC games but I never really had the skillset. Once I was confident that I did, I started a couple of prototypes and Stormrite was the most promising one. It just kind of took off from there.
Q: Were you studying game development at university?
A: I’m still in university doing computer science right now. The course kind of helps with game development because it improves your programming skills, but it doesn’t really help that much. Though I’m still very passionate about computer science, so I’m using that as a different avenue as well.
Q: So is your goal right now to become a game developer? Or if that doesn’t work out, what’s your plan?
A: The idea is definitely to become a game developer, and I guess if that doesn’t work out I’ll have the computer science degree to fall back on. Ideally, it is game development.
Q: You said Stormrite was one of many ideas you were prototyping, what else did you mess with?
A: I had a couple. One was a third/first-person shooter that I was kind of interested in, but I didn’t really feel much passion about it so it wasn’t going anywhere. I also started making a football (soccer) game, because that is my one passion in life: Football. I try to mix it with game development, and Keep It Up! was a football game on mobile. So I wanted to make a larger-scale one, but again I didn’t really have the skillset or the team to do it. When I transitioned away from that, Stormrite was the first prototype that went well and got a lot of traction on Reddit.
Q: Where did the initial idea for this open-world RPG come from?
A: Well, my favorite game ever is Skyrim, so it definitely had a lot of weight in my decision to make an open-world RPG. Then it was literally me looking around at the stuff I thought I could make with the skills I had, and an open-world RPG was definitely possible. So I started prototyping the mechanics, and the art kind of on the eve of Stormrite‘s August 3 Kickstarter launch came later with my team further down the line.