Kickstarter Spotlight: Interview with Legend of Iya’s Creator

About once a week I peruse Kickstarter looking for an awesome RPG or Tabletop game to add to my collection. This week Legend of Iya (LOI) caught my eye. It’s a Metroidvania game with fantastic Legend of Mana-esque visuals. After reading the description, I was amazed that everything was created by one person, Andrew “Darkfalzx” Bado. He’s a real down to Earth guy who’s had the premise of the game in his head for 25 years now. After many rebirths from childhood comic to a potential GameBoy Advance port, LOI is ready to be played by you…with your help.

I had the chance to interview Andrew yesterday about LOI, why Iya is a female, how he has the chance to work with Philter (And how you can make that happen!), and much more.

Check out the Legend of Iya Kickstarter trailer before the interview.

SVENNA
Can you tell me more about yourself and your history as a gamer?

ANDREW
My name is Andrew and I’m originally from Ukraine, though I’ve been living in United States for more than a half of my life. It’s been my dream to make games ever since I saw my first proper arcade machine at the age of 8 or so, which was incidentally when they started appearing in the Eastern Block. I’ve been dreaming videogames ever since.

I’ve been playing games on anything I could get my hands on – from Fairchild Channel F all the way to Last of Us on PS3. In the 8-bit days I’ve played a lot of games on ZX Spectrum computer I got at the age of about 10. There were a lot of flick-screen action and adventure games on it that inspired me to try and make my own games – the wonderful Dizzy series of Platform/Adventure games, FrostByte – an odd action game set in a frozen underworld, and Myth: History in Making – the first time I saw how detailed art can make even a mediocre game memorable.

In the 16-bit days I’ve been a Sega fanboy, but one time while loitering at a local mall my brother and I have come across a SNES display unit set up at Sears running Super Metroid. We have camped there for two days opening-to-closing until we beat that game. This was in the days before they made the display units reset after a few minutes, obviously. So, you see the Metroidvania addiction formed there.

SVENNA
I love the fact that you created LOI’s story when you were a kid. It reminds me of all of the stories I created when I was little, one of which I’m still writing today. When did you come up with the idea of LOI? How has the story aged with you?

ANDREW
The original Legend of Iya didn’t have a whole lot of plot, really – it was more reflective of what I was playing at any given time. So the universe of the game changed quite drastically since its inception. The original LOI games were based on a fantasy world my brother and I have created, which I can probably write a decent-length book on. The plots were silly – free the land, save the people, blow up the artificial moon. The new LOI retains some of that silliness mostly in enemy design, but is much more of its own thing.

Gone are the notions of any actual legend or prophecy – it’s more grounded in reality (to an extent). Iya’s motivation is a lot more personal this time too.

SVENNA
Being a redhead myself, I love seeing characters with reddish hair. Especially female! How did you come up with Iya’s design?

ANDREW
Though I am a huge fan of redheads (to my wife’s great chagrin), Iya didn’t start out as one. The original-original Iya was supposed to have brown hair, but the design went through many iterations in some of which she had purple hair.

Iya’s current design initially came as a product of technical limitation (the sprite was reworked for a GBA version of the game using only 16 colors), and now I just really like her this way.

SVENNA
Why did you make her a twelve-year-old girl?

ANDREW
I really missed a girl after my family moved to another town. You can say she was my very first childhood crush. That was the time I first started trying to make games, so the feeling got channeled into those first games in a silly way an 11-year-old can do those things. That’s been a long time ago.

The current Iya is different from Iya of many years ago though. I’ve always wanted a daughter, but got two sons – so she is sort of my digital daughter.

SVENNA
What’s Iya’s personality like?

ANDREW
That’s a bit difficult to describe, really. If I would use one word – it would be “inquisitive.” While she finds herself lonely and scared early in the game, she just keeps going deeper to find out what’s going on. Some previous versions of the game had her as a bit of a brat – I might want to bring that back too, though in what way I’m unsure.

iya4.0

Screenshot from LOI 4.0

SVENNA
How did she learn how to fight like that?

ANDREW
That is just something she wakes up with after an event early on. Her abilities get augmented in strange and visibly unnatural ways too – you can see the process causes her pain.

monster_lineup

Some of the monsters you’ll see

SVENNA
The enemies look impressive, there’s a wind-up mouse and a cyborg elephant… tell me more about the world and setting of LOI.

ANDREW
To straight-up tell where these things came from would be a bit of a spoiler, especially since the game is supposed to be taking place on Earth, though where or when is a question Iya herself will try to answer. The monsters themselves are sort of like if “what if a 6-year-old kid was entrusted to weaponize the nature?”.

playable_area

A contemporary town view

SVENNA
I’m interested in the narrative of the LOI. What kind of NPCs does Iya interact with? Are there multiple playable characters besides her?

ANDREW
During the game proper Iya isn’t planned to have any direct interaction with NPCs. The storytelling I am currently going for is more along the lines of Super Metroid and Out of This World. It doesn’t mean, however there wouldn’t be NPCs. One character that is definitely in the game is Arc. An older boy it seems, that pops up at various points of the game. Although it’s unclear if he’s a friend or foe.

iya_arc

Iya and Arc

SVENNA
How did you start working with Magnus “Philter” Gangstad?

ANDREW
I was a fan of his music for some time now. I bought every album and single he put out – something I rarely do with music, and actually have an entire playlist consisting of just his music in my car. He would’ve been my #1 choice for the game, but I didn’t even think of approaching him, as he’s sort of a serious musician.

It was really cool I thought – after LOI kickstarter went live I got many offers from musicians to score the game. Funny enough, he was one of them. My wife and I just flipped. At first he sort of offered his existing music for use in the game and promo stuff, but I talked to him and inquired if he’d be up to score the game. He agreed. Though I’d only be able to afford his music if the game gets funded. The demo will use placeholder sound still.

SVENNA
Did you go to school for programming or for art? Self-taught? Either way, you seem to really have a knack for it because you’re doing this all by yourself.

ANDREW
Ha! Thank you.

I’m all self-taught in both art and programming. My mom was very artistic, and I guess I just took after her. I’ve been doodling all my life, and ever since I could do computer art – I did it constantly. The programming – I’m not fantastic at it, I guess, especially as far as “real” programming goes. Give me C++ and I wouldn’t know what to do with it, but basic and GameMaker script? I rock that, sort of.

SVENNA
This may be pushing it but are there any plans for a sequel or another Iya game?

ANDREW
This Iya was all along planned as a one-off. The story will be self-contained and not open for a sequel. However, once I’m done with this game, I plan to go back to the abandoned versions of LOI and make them into separate games.

SVENNA
Are there any other projects you’re working on?

ANDREW
Oh, maaan. I have about a dozen other projects in various stages of completion ranging from nada to 90%. The closest one to be done is sort of a tribute to ZX Spectrum arcade-ish games like Phantis and Game Over. It’s sort of a silly, simple shooter starring this ridiculously oversexed Barbarella-type character in keeping with its pulpy roots. Another project is codenamed PixelJustice and was going to be my experiment to use player guilt as a game mechanic.

pixeljustice

PixelJustice

SVENNA
In one sentence, tell me why people should pledge to your Kickstarter.

ANDREW
I have some very, very cool stuff planned for LOI, and will deliver a fun, pretty, and hopefully memorable game – in this lifetime!

SVENNA
Is there anything else you’d like to say?

ANDREW
I am really bad at this sort of thing. I can’t wait for this Kickstarter to be over either way, so I can get back to just working on the game, but I really hope it gets funded. It’s been incubating too long, and it’s time to just let it go out there and either succeed or fail.

SVENNA
Well, thank you so much Andrew for taking the time to answer questions from us at GGV. I’m excited for your game (I’ve already pledged!) and wish you the best of luck.

Remember, pledging for the Legend of Iya Kickstarter ends on August 11. There are a lot of cool perks for donating like getting your name in the credits, being in the game, and getting your own physical copy, box included, shipped to your house. You can also vote it up on Steam Greenlight, too. Check out Andrew on Twitter for updates on the game.

Svenna is a writer and the Public Relations Director for Girl Gamer Vogue. For more from Svenna, check out her Twitter Twitch and YouTube Channel.

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