Indieview – Colin Horgan – Lucah: Born of a Dream

Darth Stridious had the chance to talk to Colin Horgan who is the creator, lead developer, and director of the amazing Lucah: Born of a Dream. In our second Indieview Darth got to ask questions about Colin’s game development history, and what Nintendo IP he would work on if he had the chance.

Thank you so much to Colin for allowing us to have him here for our second Indieview and thank you to Darth Stridious for taking the time to do this.

Interview By: Darth Stridious

Q.What is your favourite video game?

A. I have a few answers to this, but all for different reasons. Right now, Lucah: Born of a Dream is probably my favorite game, because I’ve been so emotionally invested in it and put so much of myself into it these past couple years. If it wasn’t my favorite game at this point, I’d be disappointed in myself!

For a less-self centered answer, I think Butterfly Soup (https://brianna-lei.itch.io/butterfly-soup) is the best and most real game I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. If you asked me to name my personal favorite game (that I didn’t make), it would be that one.

I should also at least point to Bayonetta for being a major inspiration for myself and Lucah: Born of a Dream, and for inspiring me to get past some things that had been holding me back for a long time.

Q. What was the first game you ever played?

A. My family had a Sega Genesis, so it was probably something on that like Sonic the Hedgehog. I also have distinct memories of really wanting to watch my dad play Doom, but then being too afraid to actually sit there without covering my eyes or muting the computer.

Q. Why did you want to become a game developer?

A. This may be a silly answer, but I had a revelatory experience one summer during high school while playing Persona 3 on a whim. That game broke me out of a lot of anxieties and fears I had about loneliness and friendship that in turn caused me to re-examine what I was doing with my life and what sort of person I was becoming. It changed my life for the better, and I wanted to do the same for someone else. Working in games became my life’s passion ever since.

Q. What were you doing prior to becoming a game developer?

A. I’ve pretty much always been a game developer ever since I graduated high school. I made small video games throughout college, got my degree, and went immediately into commercial game development. While my work has jumped around in focus – I dabbled in educational games, VR, “serious” games, and commercial work – I’ve always been a game developer in one way or another.

Q. What inspired you for the visuals of Lucah?

A. I made a game back in 2014 called ‘Comforting Sounds’ (melessthanthree.itch.io/comforting-sounds) in which I challenged myself to finally create my own art. All of my game work prior had either used other people’s art or very simplistic “programmer” art, comprised only of simple shapes and colors, and I wanted to move beyond that. I started with small pixel art characters, just doing their outlines on a dark background, and I put those in to the game early on to get a feel for how it was working. I only intended these “wireframe” looking characters to be placeholder, but I ended up liking the look enough that I stuck with it. I continued to develop the style for various personal projects, and when I began making Lucah, it seemed like a good place to push the style to its limit.

Q. I can see the souls-like inspriation in  Lucah, what other games inspired it?

A. There are a few other games, I can point to that led to Lucah – the game originally sprung from a top-down arena shooter prototype I was making in the vein of my previous game IAMNOTAMACHINE (melessthanthree.itch.io/iamnotamachine), which was sort of my attempt at an homage/rip-off of a Nuclear Throne-style action-roguelite. I made the switch to focusing on melee combat in order to distinguish Lucah a bit more from its past, as well as to challenge myself with something new. I was also playing a lot of Bayonetta and other Devil May Cry-flavored action games at the time, and I thought integrating aspects of those games would work well for the thematic goals that began to form with Lucah.

In a more abstract and mechanical sense, I take a lot of inspiration from Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, which had a similar corruption & transformation mechanic as the one I eventually landed on for Lucah. The Revert mechanic New Game † introduces is also inspired by that game, as well as the ever-increasing ominous numbers UI in the top-right of the screen. Lastly, the aesthetics of the Shin Megami Tensei games, particularly Shin Megami Tensei IV, inspired much of the more apocalyptic imagery of Lucah, and its influence is especially prevalent during the turn-based Sacrament iv. section of New Game †. 

Q. Do you have plans for a follow up to Lucah, or the next game your making?

A. I do! There’s a combat-centric DLC that I’m about 85% done with that got a bit delayed because of the console release, but I’m hoping to have that out in a few months if all works out. I also have a Christian side-story (side-game?) that I want to make as thanks for our Kickstarter backers, that will be available for everyone to play at some point in the future. Additionally, I have a couple of future projects I’m actively working on currently, but neither of which I’m at liberty to discuss at this time.

Q. If you can work on a Nintendo IP which one would it be?

A. This is probably a boring answer, but it’s The Legend of Zelda. I enjoy the idea of the franchise a lot, but especially when it comes to the 3D games, I usually don’t like their execution too much. I would want to make a very Lucah-like 3D Zelda, focusing more on story and action than they typically do.

I’m not sure if it counts as a Nintendo IP, but if it does my more unusual answer would be Chibi-Robo, since someone I love very much really wishes there was another one and I’d want to make that dream come true for them.

Q. If you can take one Nintendo series and mash it up with a genre what would they be?

A. Going along with my answer above, I’d want to make a character action-flavored Legend of Zelda! I have some ideas as to how to adapt the 3D games to that formula in a way that would fit right at home in the franchise, will still doing something new and unique with it.

Lucah: Born of a Dream is now available for purchase on the Nintendo Switch eShop, so please check it out. Also, check out our review if you haven’t had the chance. https://switchatlantic.com/review/lucah-born-of-a-dream-review-nintendo-switch

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