Touchfight Games Wants You To Go To Bed

Newly formed indie studio Touchfight Games has been hard at work developing its very first game, Go To Bed: Survive The Night. The small studio, composed of only three members which includes renowned freelancer Nathan Meunier (Programmer / Designer / Doer of many other things) and prodigious artistic brothers Leonard (Lead Artist / Designer) and Jon Kenyon (Lead Programmer / Designer), aims to deliver an atmospheric, but fun experience with Go To Bed. I had the chance to interview them, and gain a better picture of exactly what the studio wants to accomplish with Go To Bed.

Though it is only the studio’s first outing, and has yet to be made available to the public as the team is hard at work putting up the finishing touches, the impression I’ve received indicates that Go To Bed will remain consistent with all three members’ previous works – it is quirky, original, and visually splendid. My interview delves into the inspiration behind Go To Bed, and the young studio’s vision for its future.

Alex Gilyadov: Let’s start by talking about your new studio, Touchfight Games. As I understand it, it is only a few months old. How many members are there? Would you call yourself an indie studio?

Nathan: Absolutely! I co-founded Touchfight Games this summer with two local pals, Jon and Leonard Kenyon (yes, they’re brothers), and we’ve been hard at work on multiple future game prototypes as well as our first official game. We’re all musicians, artists, writers, and creative folks. We’re also all a bit weird in our own way. Touchfight Games is 100% indie, and we have a strong DIY ethic as a studio. We make quirky games for quirky people (like us), and we hope folks will dig what we have coming down the pipeline!

GoToBedscreen1Alex Gilyadov: At this point, what is the studio’s vision for the future, its end goal? Or is it all just about releasing the first game for now?

Nathan: Right now, we’re pretty focused on getting our first game launched and out into the world before Halloween-ish, though we also have a variety of oddball game prototypes and other projects we’re working on in the background. Making games is a part-time gig for all of us, though we hope as our first few games are released that they’ll find a welcome audience. We’d like to be able to carve out a bit more time to really hunker down and rock out some more killer projects in the coming year or so.

Ultimately, it’s all about making fun and peculiar games that are a bit outside of the norm. I think our first upcoming game does a good job of showcasing our studio’s vibe, our unusual personalities, and the kind of stuff we hope to create heading forward.

Alex Gilyadov: That first game is Go To Bed: Survive The Night. What exactly is it, what kind of game is it, its premise, etc.?

Nathan: YesssSSSSss. Heh. Go To Bed: Survive The Night is an eerie “bedroom defense” game, where you are tasked with helping a young boy stay alive from dusk ’til dawn as waves of malevolent shadow beings come slithering out from the darkness. Light and darkness play heavily into the game mechanics and power-ups, and you’ll spend a lot of time frantically tapping out (or clicking) unholy beasties before they can get their fangs on the young lad.

We put a lot of thought and attention into the game’s overall vibe and presentation, and it mixes more lighthearted children’s storybook-like elements with a creepier horror feel. It’s a touch demented, not unlike ourselves. The game is fairly simple, though it gets a lot more intense and challenging as we layer on different kinds of monsters and environmental mechanics, as well as just ramping up the speed over time.

Alex Gilyadov: What was the inspiration behind Go To Bed?

Nathan: I’ll kick this over to Len, since he’s the one who came up with the original concept and art for the game.

Leonard: I was in bed watching shadows on my wall and it sort of hit me. Or, perhaps one could say, “it clutched my feet with its cold hands and then shivered up my spine into my brain.”

Nathan: We actually were working on another larger game initially, that’ll we’ll get back to working on soon, but when Len floated me the early concept art and the idea for Go To Bed, I loved it. We decided to dive in and get the prototype roughed out quickly, while our lead programmer Jon was figuring out some in-depth systems for the other game. We eventually decided to switch gears and make Go To Bed the studio’s main focus in hopes of getting the game together and out by Halloween. Jon’s not in this interview because we tied him up and are keeping him in the basement until he finishes optimizing the code. Or maybe forever (Mwuhahaha).

Alex Gilyadov: Why develop on mobile platforms? How exactly will Go To Bed utilize mobile platforms?

Nathan: We’re actually going to launch the game both on PC and iOS, and we’re interested in eventually getting it out on other touch-screen gaming devices. We’ve been developing it on PC and plan to make that core version a bit different and a little beefier, with a tougher-tuned difficulty, a whole additional story mode campaign, and other unique content that sets it apart from the mobile version.

Of course, making a mobile version seemed a no-brainer, because the game is well suited to touch screen devices. We discovered that, as-is, the PC version is a LOT harder on smaller touch screens, so we’ve thoroughly tested it on iOS devices and have dialed back the challenge in that version so it’s not unreasonable. Most folks will find the game gets pretty frantic towards the end, but it’s still beatable. The unlockable bonus content we have planned will definitely ramp up the challenge and offer something more for hardcore players who beat the game and want more punishment.

GoToBedscreen2Alex Gilyadov: The game has a unique art style that immediately stands out. How did its aesthetic and art direction come about?

Leonard: I especially like dark and creepy things — like my mother-in-law. Kidding. I write and illustrate children’s books (or am just getting started with Wernick & Pratt) and most of the things I do have this “spooktoony” vibe. It seemed like a natural progression to want to see some of it come to life. However, I would be a jerk if I didn’t mention Edward Gorey. He’s one of my favorites and greatest inspirations. Though his lines are much more spidery and skillful than mine, and though my pencils and pens can take me to many places, the macabre seems to be where they’re at their most comfortable. So essentially, Go To Bed is just how I draw. Haha.

Alex Gilyadov: Alongside the fantastic art style, the game also boasts a quirky, fun musical score. How did that develop?

Leonard: Ah, that’s right, music! I have a very talented friend in CA and I’d been bugging him to score Go To Bed. I knew immediately what I wanted and I kept emailing him early concept art and trying to describe what I was hearing. “Like Danny Elfman,” I’d say. “Quirky and almost like a bad lullaby, like a kid played it,” I’d say. He didn’t get immediately back to me and being the impatient person I am, especially if I’ve got an idea, I just sat down at the keyboard with the intention of trying to get close to what I was hearing so I could email it to him as an example, but realized I was getting exactly what I wanted. In other words, I got very lucky. Then after I’d done a few tracks, it was easy for the other guys to pick up on and help me finish writing them. Jon and Nate are great musicians.

Nathan: The quirky soundtrack is one of my favorite parts of the game, and it really nails the vibe we were looking for. As a cool bonus, we’ve compiled and extended all of the in-game tunes, and we’ll be releasing that alongside the game as a standalone soundtrack. It’s great for Halloween parties and other spooky gatherings. So yeah, if you dig the game when it comes out, check that out too.

Alex Gilyadov: What do you hope consumers would take out of playing Go To Bed?

Nathan: We hope people enjoy the art style and overall atmosphere we’ve build into this spooky little world. The core story mode itself is short-ish and punchy, but we’ve got content on-deck across all versions to add replay value and additional goodies to keep folks coming back for more. When Go To Bed is at it’s best, it pushes you right up to the edge of losing control and succumbing to the dark onslaught, and those intense “make it or break it moments” when you’re barely able to keep up is where the real magic kicks in. It’s addictive, and we hope folks will enjoy playing it as much as we did making it.

Alex Gilyadov: When does Go To Bed: Survive The Night release, and on what specific platforms? 

Nathan: We’re pushing hard to get the game out before Halloween, since it’s a good fit for the spooky season. Barring any unforeseen snafus, you should be able to get your hands on it very, very soon.

We’re working on getting the PC version Greenlit on Steam so we can get an Early Access version out into the world very soon. Player feedback will be much appreciated as we add bonus modes, fine-tune the gameplay, and add other cool content that’ll be unique to the PC version.

The iOS version should also be out by Halloween if all goes well. That’ll be out for $1 and will have the core story mode from the PC version as well as some unique iOS content and updates. We’ll roll out updates for both versions in the coming months as well.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and our website if you want to stay up-to-date on when the game launches and to learn about other projects we have in the works! Thanks!


I would also like to thank Touchfight Games, and its three members for this interview.

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