Will You Snail? Well, will you? Developer Jonas Tyroller will, and has been for well over two and a half years now. The solo developer, also a fairly large YouTuber, recently took some time away from developing the platformer to talk to us. You can read everything he had to say about Will You Snail? indie development and gaming in general below.
RPG) For me, one of the things I’m most looking forward to with Will You Snail? is hearing some of the quirky one-liners from Squid. Where did you draw inspiration for the character, especially his attitude?
Jonas) “Squid basically has the character of an online troll so I took a lot of inspiration from internet trolls. He has bigger motivations, but wiping out mankind is also just a giant prank in his eyes. Besides that, a lot of inspiration admittedly also comes from my favourite AI antagonists like Glados from Portal as well my awesome playtester team.”
RPG) What lesser-known feature from Will You Snail? are you most excited to see player’s reaction to?
Jonas) “I’m probably most curious to hear theories and thoughts about my mess of a storyline. In short, I’d describe the story as Simulation theory, space, black holes, artificial intelligence and never really knowing what’s true and what’s not. I’ve never really done any storytelling in my games before so I’m really scared it’ll be a complete mess. But at the same time, it’s also one of the things that excites me the most. Besides that, there are some (slightly hacky) ways to create your own color schemes and language mods for the game, so I’m also very curious to see what the community will create with those. We already have some people from the community translating the game to Code and Memish for example.”
RPG) We know Will You Snail? is coming to Steam, but do you have any plans to release it on other platforms or other PC storefronts?
Jonas) “I’d obviously love to get it to more platforms as I think the game would be absolutely fantastic on consoles like the Switch, but it’s something I likely can’t pull off alone, so we’ll have to see if there is a good publisher or porting studio willing to take the project on. At the moment there is absolutely no guarantee for that, but the better the game does on Steam in terms of wishlists and sales, the likelier it gets. In short: I’d like to make it happen but there are no concrete plans yet.”
“The game is coming to Steam first to make sure all of the launch traffic goes to only one storefront. That’s better for fueling the Steam algorithm and therefore getting more visibility on Steam. Might expand to more storefronts after that, we’ll see.”
RPG) If there was one thing that you could go back and tell yourself before you started working on Will You Snail, what would it be?
Jonas) “Spend some time on pre-production, you idiot. Make some gameplay prototypes, write the story, think about the feelings you want to evoke and define some design goals BEFORE you get started. Not WHILE making the game.” Clearly a mistake that cost me a lot of time and eventually probably also led to a couple of dumb design decisions that I can’t really fix anymore. In hindsight, I think a less linear level structure would have been great for example but back then I didn’t realize that because I didn’t spend any time thinking about it.”
RPG) Following on from that, there are a lot of videos on your YouTube channel offering advice to would-be game developers. If you could only choose one thing to say to someone looking at indie game development as a career, what would it be?
Jonas) “Don’t do it for the money.”
RPG) Given the success of your YouTube channel, which do you see as your main job? Do you consider yourself a YouTuber or a game developer first?
Jonas) “I consider myself a game developer first. YouTube is just the marketing part of my game dev job. That focus might very well shift in the future, but at the moment that’s how I see it.”
RPG) You’ve worked with a development team when you worked on Islanders, and you’re making Will You Snail? alone. What are the major differences, both advantages, and disadvantages, to working alone vs in a team?
Jonas) “I think making games in a team is just straight up better if you have a good team. Everything happens faster and better at the same time because everybody can focus on their strengths. Sure, you’ll have to split the revenue, but for a great team, I’d take that trade-off any day of the week. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in a team as well, of course, too many discussions, bad time management, arguments, etc. so as I pointed out before it really depends on the team if it’s worth it. Working alone is better than having a lazy team filled with arguments and pointless discussions. Things like personal preference should obviously play a role as well. It’s an interesting experience to make an entire game alone and some people simply prefer this way of working. I personally am fine with either one, but simply see more potential for success when working in a team.”
RPG) If you were to predict the future of gaming, where do you see the industry in 10 years’ time? What are the hot new technologies and how has gaming changed?
Jonas) “Obviously I can’t predict the future. All I can do is make some educated guesses.
– I think we’ll keep seeing new and unpredictable hype waves a la Fortnite, Fall Guys and Among Us and almost all of them will be multiplayer games.
– It will become easier and easier to make games and more and more people will start making them so marketing and standing out will become increasingly more important.
– I think machine learning tools will slowly find their way into the industry and step by step replace a lot of the work we have to do manually now. That could definitely make for bigger and better games or maybe even for drastically cheaper ones. I’m unsure how fast this will happen but I’m pretty positive that a time horizon of 10 years is enough to see some amazing changes like AI voice actors, AI-powered localization, procedurally generated animations, and probably much more.”
RPG) I’ve followed your YouTube and the development of Will You Snail? for a while now. And you’ve been saying it’ll release soon… for a while now. In fact, it was supposed to be finished in 4 weeks back in October 2019 And then in November 2020 there were just two major tasks left. Now the game has a release date of “2021”. How close are you to finishing and releasing the game? What are some of the main features left to implement or update?
Jonas) “Haha. Yeah, in game development it’s very easy to underestimate the time something will take to finish. I guess in theory I could have released the game back in October 2019. It was done and playable but was just lacking a ton of polish and storytelling I wanted to have in the game. The polishing part is mostly done now, the story part still needs quite a lot of work if I want to do it the way I imagine. One of the problems here was definitely my poor planning and the lack of a proper pre-production phase early on. The fact that I spend a ton of time on my YouTube videos probably doesn’t help either. I am currently shooting for October 2021, but there is no official release date yet.”
RPG) What are your post-Will You Snail? launch plans? Do you already have your next project in mind? Will your focus be on updating Will You Snail? for the foreseeable future?
Jonas) “That depends on how well the game does. I’d definitely keep supporting and updating the game at least for a while after it comes out. After that, I’d love to take a little break, work on some smaller projects and eventually team up with the rest of the Grizzly Games gang again or perhaps even with some other game dev YouTubers for my next big game.”
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