|-What specifically inspired you to create Alice in Tokyo Wonderland?
It was an idea my brother created. At the time I needed something to help get my foot in the door as a comic book artist so creating a comic book from this idea was the best way. I’d just learned of Kickstarter so we put it up there and went well over our goal. I started brainstorming ways to reward the backers for going so over the goal and the idea of a quick video game came to mind. Once I started down the path of making Alice in Tokyo Wonderland a video game I fell more and more in love with it.
-How does Alice in Tokyo Wonderland differ from similar games like OneeChanbara and Senran Kagura?
Respect for women would be the largest difference between those games and ours. Comics and games share an unfortunate thread in making their women sexual objects with no clothes and we’re just not interested in heading down that route. Other than that it’s similar to those games in having plenty of hack and slash action. I’d compare it closer to Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, or even Darksiders but any Spectacle Hack n’ Slash with a lot of variations and weapon style switching will do.
-You mention there will be four unique fighting styles; can you elaborate on that? Will there multiple or different weapons to choose from?
Alice main weapon has the ability to adapt to what the situation requires. So the weapon is the Vorpal Blade, of course, and it’s adapted shapes break down into 4 different fighting styles for Alice. A large but quick Katana like blade, a smaller yet more powerful Katana, a super strong behemoth of a Blade, and some dual quick smaller blades. All of these are mapped to the Control pad to allow for you to switch instantly whenever you want. She also has a very large Bow as a ranged weapon, a bunch of magic, and ton of counters.
-Why an Alice in Wonderland and Feudal Japan mashup?
I can’t speak too much as what caused my brother to put those two together but I can speak to how surprising well the mix has gone. Geisha Queen of Hearts, Samurai Mad Hatter, and for sure the Sumo Tweedle Dee and Dum have just been a blast to work on.
-You mention a number of Japanese style Alice characters but how close is the overall game to Alice in Wonderland?
All the characters in the game are the loved characters in the book. All the environments are the familiar whimsical settings from the book as well. Our story kinda does it’s own thing to make sure it still feels new and can still surprise the player but it’ll for sure speak to fans familiar with Alice in Wonderland on a different level then those learning about this story for the first time. Easter eggs like the Red King falling asleep during battle just seems kooky to some but those familiar with the story totally get how appropriate that quirk of his is.
-Are you taking anything from the cult popular games American McGee’s Alice or Alice: Madness Returns?
No. We both drew from the same well but we might as well have picked Peter Pan or some other common license property as we went in different directions. Madness Returns is very dark, gritty, all the steampunk, and for sure all the platforming. Huge difference in platforming as that was 70% of that game and is 0% in ours. We’ve plenty of mini games and things to keep it interesting but platforming just wasn’t a focus for us wherein combat is. We’ve literally over 100 different ways to hurt your enemies in this game.
-Will there be a sequel game to represent the second book Through the Looking Glass?
We’ve got all that in there already. Chess board, Dumpty, all that coolness from the second book is already spicing up this game. It’s an 8 hour game and we really just weren’t interested in doing chapters, episodes, DLC, or some other reason not to just give the players a fully fleshed out and complete experience. We’re just two guys making a game so we don’t have any publishers or bosses setting deadlines so we’ve really no reason not to make a complete game.
-While many Kickstarter games ask for a substantial amount of money you only asked for $1000; why is that?
Being just two guys making our first game lets something as little as $1000 go a long way with us. We learned to do just everything in terms of game design but we certainly know when we’ve hit our limits and sound is for sure one of them. So right now we’re on Kickstarter to hire someone to take care of the Music and sound effects for the game. We could spend a long time learning that but someone out there already knows it and will do a better job than we ever could. It lets us focus on development.
-Is development of the game almost done and what needs to be done still?
Luckily all the hard parts are done. The fighting is in and a lot just needs a polish pass over it. We’re in just that rinse, wash, repeat section of the development so just more enemies, more levels, more particle effects. It’s hard to come up with an exact number or percent but we expect to be done come summer this year.
-You mention there are only two people working on this project and while things look good so far what kind of previous experience do you have in creating games?
Zero. Creating 3d games was something we weren’t aware was possible up until a week before we got started on it. So we just watched and read a ton of tutorials and got to work. The Unreal Engine is really what made this possible. If it hadn’t been so easy to use I fear we would have become discouraged and moved on to something else by now.
-Alice in Wonderland and most variations of it are known for being fairly psychotic and more than a little dark; would you say your version follows this?
We didn’t want to go down the same route most publishers would push their developers to go down. We have the freedom to make a game that isn’t a muscular, Caucasian, stubbly, gritty anti-hero in a multiplayer first person shooter. Dreamworks, Pixar and other animation studios have been proving that there’s a market for something more colorful and fun. So we luckily get to make the version that excites us and not the version a publisher would force us to make in order to maximize profits.
-You very briefly mention the plot of the game; can you elaborate on that? Will there be cut scenes or how does the player receive the story?
Absolutely, there’s just a love we have for those previously mentioned animations studios and we asked ourselves when making the story, “What would this be if it was animated movie?”. So we’ve spent lots of time creating and fleshing out interesting characters and telling a funny entertaining story. So a cut scene when the level begins or ends, before major battles, and anywhere else it lends itself to better the experience.
-You mention there are multiple things to collect in game but what are they for?
Cheshire Cat has a store which you can turn most of those in. She’s got lots of upgrades in magic, different looks for the Vorpal swords, additional health and other general improvements. Just lots of little ways of keeping it entertaining while exploring Tokyo Wonderland.
-The in-game examples provided show a diverse set of vibrant backgrounds and battle fields but how diverse or how many more can we expect?
There’s over 15 different environments and really starts to feel a little more like an RPG rather than a Hack n’ Slash. We knew we wanted Wonderland to be a character all it’s own to encourage the players to explore it. It’s optional though. So if exploring isn’t your thing you can always get back to fighting enemies.
-How many different enemy types can players expect and what kind of Alice/Japan mashups can we expect?
I think 30. Which is like way too many when compared to most hack n’ slashes. The latest DMC had what, like 12? It had lots of reskins of previous enemies. Great game so it’s all in how you use them but we just had so many ideas it ended up well above doubling their enemy count. Oni, Samurais, Ninja, as well as lots from the Wonderland side of things like Dumpty, March Hare, Dormouse, etc.
-Since this project has already been funded what do you hope to achieve out of its completion?
Just sound from the Kickstarter. We really don’t want to drop the ball and pull the players out of the immersion the game puts them in. The game will be complete regardless of the Kickstarter though so it’s just icing on the cake at this point.
-Any plans for future titles already?
For sure, we’ve spent 3 years on this one so we’ve a ton of games we’re looking to make after this. Some small, some big, a few are a lot more adult than this game gets. Who knows maybe one day we’ll even be fortunate enough to revisit Alice in Tokyo Wonderland.