Solo indie developer Dr. Kucho, who is also an EDM artist, is enjoying the fruits of his labor after spending nearly a decade getting his newly released passion project, Moons of Darsalon.
The game follows a lot of design principles and style to that of classic titles of the past with its Lemmings-based gameplay. It turns out is no surprise the game has classic mechanics, considering Kucho’s opinion on modern gaming and the ecosystem it’s cultivated.
“The modern gaming ecosystem is killing true video games,” he stated rather plainly in an interview with PreMortem Games. “Players don’t want a video game, they want a simulation of a video game. Something that seems to offer a challenge, but is actually a perfectly balanced system so that no one ever feels frustrated. For me, these are not games, they are guided tours!”
To sum up, Kucho’s thoughts mainly focus on the modern gaming ecosystem rather than just modern games. However because of said ecosystem, as he describes it, more games have been coming out avoiding challenging the player therefore creating players who can’t handle tougher games leading into a feedback loop.
He also went into more detail on what he meant when asked about his perspective on what he’s learned throughout the process of developing Moons of Darsalon as a solo dev:
The modern gaming ecosystem is killing true video games. To me, a video game should offer a challenge, something that you would want to replay to see how your skills are improving. Actually the fun of playing video games is right there. But the modern gaming ecosystem is creating a very large group of players who see these aspects as negative. If they fall off a cliff, they want a checkpoint at the top of the cliff; if an enemy shoots a bullet and they do absolutely nothing to avoid the bullet, they complain about the difficulty; If they have to repeat a level because they died due to playing without any caution or care, they exclaim “Do I have to repeat everything now!?”.
Basically, these players don’t want a video game, they want a simulation of a video game, something that SEEMS to offer a challenge, but is actually a perfectly balanced system so that no one ever feels frustrated while at the same time no one takes any risks and there is no penalty for playing poorly. For me, these are not games, they are GUIDED TOURS, it’s something similar to the ‘Ego tour’ offered by the company Memory Call in the movie Total Recall, it seems like an adventure but it always goes well, therefore, it’s not an adventure.
The review system on Steam, and the fear that developers have of negative reviews, is favoring the increasing number of games of this type, and the increasing number of games of this type is melting away the little courage that gamers of today may still have. And the worst part is that they are completely convinced. I don’t know when they became video game experts (watching movies does not make you James Cameron), but since the rest of the games they play are extremely accommodating, when the game penalizes them, they don’t think they did something wrong , THE GAME IS WRONG!, and it’s not up for debate, it’s wrong, end of story.”
It’s highly recommended one check out the full interview, especially if they’re interested or are working on their own project to get some insight from one who has gone through the process.
You can also check out his latest game, Moons of Darsalonwhich is available now on PC (via Steam).